Selling Collectibles

The collectibles market is booming and if you have some that you’ve been contemplating selling, now might be a good time to do it. The big question, of course, is what method to use to sell your items – there are so many possibilities these days. A lot depends on what you have to sell. The term “collectible” covers many fields, from music and movie memorabilia to toys and beyond, and each is quite specialised.

Selling On eBay

eBay is a great forum for collectibles of lesser value, although you will find some rare items on there from time to time (often they’ll be part of a charity auction). In music terms, think of a rare CD or vinyl LP, or memorabilia like 70s pop star lunchboxes or games (those from the 1960s are much more valuable), for instance.

You’ll find a good number of vintage toys for sale on eBay – old Subbuteo and Scalextric are prime examples, and often bring handsome prices. As with anything, it’s finding the audience that’s interested in acquiring these. A good rule of thumb is that if it’s likely to sell for £150 or less, eBay is a good market. It’s too small to interest the major auction houses, and you’ll find an interested, active audience that’s willing to pay.

Specialised Auction Houses

There are a number of auction houses that have sprung up dealing solely with collectibles. They generally concentrate on a single field (music, movies, etc.), and hold auctions regularly, either in-person or online.

These can be excellent for the next level of collectible – an item that will go for, say, £150 to £500 – £700. The people who buy at these auctions are the more serious collectors who are truly looking for items that pertain to their collections, and have money to spend. Although you’ll pay a commission to the auction house, these can be very fruitful, as you’ll usually realise a much better profit than you would on eBay.

It’s a sign of how massive the collectibles market has become that houses like this exist – and that they can hold sales often. They do also deal in high-end merchandise, so if you have something especially valuable it might be worth considering them.

Major Auction Houses

The biggest of the auction houses haven’t been slow to realise the value of collectibles, and do hold specialised auctions periodically. They’re worth approaching if you have a particularly valuable item – Beatles items are always in huge demand, but excellent collectible material (with a provenance where appropriate – in terms of clothing, for instance) in any field will sell for high amounts. They’re ideal for very rare items – a guitar that was owned by a major star is the ideal example, or a dress worn by Marilyn Monroe (the perennial queen of movie collectibles). In general terms, if an item is likely to go for £800 or more, this will be the place to sell it, although items have gone for up to half a million pounds and even more.

Always do your research thoroughly before selling any collectible. The more information you can provide, the better the price you’re likely to get for it. Additionally, the more you know, the better you’ll be able to judge its value and see which are the best markets for selling your item. Don’t be afraid to set a reserve; don’t let your item go for less than it’s worth.

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