Starting and developing a collection (of anything – from toy cars to stamps, train sets to board games) is fun, compelling and very satisfying by all accounts: collectors love the thrill of adding to their stash, talking to others about their acquisitions and organising their prized possessions in a way that makes sense and shows off their favourite items. When kept under control (that is, when the cost does not exceed the collector’s means), collecting is harmless and endlessly entertaining – so why, then, do collectors sometimes sell their pride and joy?
Why people sell their collections
According to hobbyDB (an ambitious project that aims to catalogue every collectible item ever created), some collectors simply eventually ‘fall out of love’
with their hobby, or at least with a particular collection, preferring instead to move onto something else. Moving onto something else naturally requires space, and so a new home for the old, redundant collection must be found. Other collectors are forced to sell
their beloved collection because they need money more than they need three thousand trolls or umbrellas (or whatever), or because they have been forced to choose between keeping their collection and keeping their marriage... Of course, some collections that appear on the market or at auction for sale are there because their owners have died
, which is the only thing that stops some people from amassing more examples of their collection of choice.
Vintage collectors are usually very aware of the value of their own collections, though they sometimes fail to realise just how much they own until they begin to take stock. On the other hand, relatives of deceased collectors, and collectors of more modern ‘collectibles’ may either wildly under- or over-estimate the resale value of their loved one’s or their own collection and can end up delighted at best; disappointed or exploited at worst.
How to sell a collection for the best price
Christian, Founder and CEO of the hobbyDB Advisory Board, says that it’s important when valuing your collection to be aware of the five different value types: the catalogue value, the insurance value, the wholesale value, retail value and realised value.
In his considered opinion, it is only the realised value that actually matters, and this should also take into account the value of the time spent marketing and selling the collection. Having accurately assessed the value of the collection, you can then consider how best to sell it to maximise profit or give your collection a decent send-off:
- Sell the complete collection in a single transaction (this will generally raise the lowest realised value);
- Selling via a third party (e.g. an auction house or dealer);
- Selling at an event (attended by fellow collectors or enthusiasts – you will probably need to attend several such events, and this method tends to see diminishing returns);
- Online selling (by auction or fixed price);
- Donating it to a museum (this can be tax efficient as well as altruistic, and it ensures that your prized collection will remain cared for and appreciated).
You can find out more about the work of hobbydb (and how it can help you to value and understand a collection) and further details about the best way to sell your collection by checking out Christian’s blog 'How Best to Sell a Collection
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