Read these 7 Collectible Auction Tips tips to make your life smarter, better, faster and wiser. Each tip is approved by our Editors and created by expert writers so great we call them Gurus. LifeTips is the place to go when you need to know about Auction tips and hundreds of other topics.
Maybe a relative has left you their immaculate stamp collection, or maybe you've fallen on some hard times and you're looking to offload all of those beanie babies you bought during the 90s. Whatever you are trying to sell, you need to get a feel for the market before you begin any kind of auction. If possible, get your collection professionally appraised. A local auction house can usually recommend an appraiser or they may have one on staff. If you can't afford an appraisal, go online and do some price research. Look for collectibles like yours offered on online auction sites and see note their selling prices. After that, carefully catalog and photograph your collection. Decide whether you want to sell it as a single lot, or try and split it up to make more money from individual objects. Write descriptions for the objects that you wish to sell, set the prices either in accordance with the appraisal or your estimated price, and then let the bidding begin.
Pricing collectibles can be difficult. Most of the value that collectibles have comes from their sentimental value. Often, there is very little intrinsic value in terms of materials and craftsmanship. Usually the best pricing option you have is to obtain a professional appraisal. Most auction houses either employ their own appraisers or can recommend one to you. Another way to gauge the value of your collection is to check out industry publications. Standard categories of collectibles, such as dolls, bears, coins, stamps, and even toys have industry publications that offer pricing guides. As a last resort -- or even as a healthy reality check -- you should check out the prices of your collectibles online. See what other sellers are asking on online auction sites, and try and match your pricing to theirs.
Many kinds of collectibles are available via online auction sites. Because the Internet makes auctions so accessible, there are always many trendy collectible items offered at auction online. Objects like trading cards, sports memorabilia, and toy figurines are in large supply on most Internet auction sites. There is also a large market for more traditional collectibles, such as stamps, coins, and Limoges china. Older toy collectibles, such as collectible bears and collectible dolls, are also widely available. The one difficulty that you may have is in finding antique collectibles. While many of these are available online, they may be easier to find and identify through local auction houses.
Stamps and coins are some of the most common collectible items and there are a wide array available through online auction sites. This can make things dicey, as fraud, especially amongst stamps available online, can be common. Luckily the world of stamps and coins has pretty standardized pricing systems. There are numerous guides for both stamps and coins that detail pricing. Additionally, there are many skilled appraisers for both items. If you see stamps or coins in which you are interested available through online auction, you can easily check with appraisers and publications to see if the prices sound believable.
Many people collect sets ofantique silver. Sometimes these sets are available through online auctions. You should search through the major online auction sites to see if there are any silver sets available. Make sure when searching that you know which pieces are up for sale. Don't go bidding on an entire set only to find that you bought a set of salt shakers. A better way to find complete silver sets is through estate sales. Since many families have their own silver sets, it stands to reason that an estate sale will most likely include one or more complete sets of silver. Additionally, an estate sale will most likely sell the silver as a complete set, rather than selling only one piece at a time.
If you're looking for antique collectibles, your best bet is to start looking for leads from multiple sources. Begin your search online by going through the major online auction sites searching for the particular collectibles that you are seeking. This will serve two purposes -- first, it will give you an idea of online availability of the collectibles, and second, it will give you a good estimate on the asking price. If antique collectibles that you like are available online, research the seller thoroughly and then begin bidding. If you can't find antique collectibles that you like online, then you need to take your search to live auctions. Sometimes sales of older estates will turn up entire collections of antique collectibles. Check with auction houses in your area to determine when such auctions are going to take place.
Buying collectibles via an online auction can be a risky business, especially since many collectibles often have little intrinsic value and most of their pricing is governed by sentiment. Take all the usual precautions that you would usually take when buying goods through an online auction. Thoroughly research the auction site. Then begin questioning the seller. Check out their customer reviews and do not hesitate to email previous customers. Try and find out where your goods are from. Is this a collection that has been lovingly developed over time or is someone just emptying their attic? This will give you some idea of the condition of the goods. Ask for additional pictures, if necessary. With collectible dolls and bears, ask if the seller can produce certificates of authenticity.
|Jennifer Mathes, Ph.D.|