When you look around your room, you might find something worth diamonds and jewels or something worth a few bucks. Something sentimental or something that seems but isn’t. Something so unique and antique or something that’s just rusty and dusty.
It could be something passed down to you in inheritance, something you bought from an auction or something found in the scrapyard. It is crucial to know the accurate value of collectibles, especially if you’re a novice who is vulnerable to unfair trading.
But it won’t be the same when you have this comprehensive guide at your fingertips. Read along, and you’ll know how to find the value of collectibles.
How To Find the Value of Collectibles?
Examine Your Collectibles Carefully
Whether you are selling or buying any antique or vintage item, without prior knowledge, you can’t know the correct value of the treasure. So before getting your hands on a price guide, the first thing on the list should be to examine your collectible.
1. The Provenance of the Collectible
Start by looking for any labels, names, or something that could tell the provenance of your collectibles. Provenance means the evident history or backstory of something. So if your possession has come down to you by an important and renowned person or has a worth-telling story, you can sell it for more.
For example, if you possess Lionel Andrés Messi’s football kit, which is very rare, you can sell it for millions of dollars. Although it’s just a piece of fabric, people are willing to bid millions on it because of its provenance.
Once you know where it has come from, you can guess its value more accurately. But to be more precise with knowing how valuable your collectible is, below are some other factors you need to know.
2. Age of Collectible
In the first place, an antique should be at least a 100-year old, and as it gets older, it tends to be more valuable. But what if you don’t know the manufacturing date of your collectible? How would you tell its age?
When you buy an antique from an auction, most likely, they will tell you its age, history, and everything in between.
However, let’s say you found something in the scrapyard or from digging up the ground at a construction site. You have no idea how old it is. So the only way to know its actual age is by finding a trademark of the artifact. Once you know the manufacturer, you can research it on the internet and get all the related information.
Remember, the older your collectible is, the higher the retail price it will have in the market!
3. Condition of Collectible
Other than age, the condition of the collectible also determines its worth. The better the condition of your collectibles, the better their retail and auction value.
If your collectible is rare and antique but quite dusted and damaged, its monetary worth is questionable. Although it might still carry some sentimental value, the demand for this specific item will interest only those people who value these sentiments.
For example, the renowned old comic books are worth thousands of dollars and sell best at small garage auctions when damaged. Nobody would want to pay for something that can’t be displayed or examined. But some enthusiasts of comic books are willing to bid higher for a damaged piece too.
On the other hand, antiques with little wear and tear are commonly traded in antique stores at debatable prices. Some like to walk past it, and some step forward to negotiate the prices. The well-preserved antiques are most in-demand and get the highest bidding.
4. Rarity of Collectible
One thing to understand is that whether your collectible is old or antique, the rarity also adds to its value. Rare items tend to be more valuable than mass-produced ones.
In an auction, have you ever heard the auctioneer revealing the rarity of any collectible, such as saying there are only ten pieces of this item in the world? They do this to convince the bidders to bid high, as limited items are more valuable than the common ones.
Mass-produced items, like Beanie Babies, are abundant in the collectible world. Some of these collectibles are extremely rare and valuable, while others are not. Since many high bidders prefer to add exclusive items to their inventory, mass-produced ones are often not of their interest.
Antique collecting has become a thing for so many people that some merchants take this to their advantage and make replicas of rare antiques. This practice is acceptable only when the seller discloses this information to the buyer and retails it at its rightful value, which is never the same as the original piece.
If you are a novice and trading in a valuable antique, you can hire a professional appraiser to watch out for fraud and scams.
How To Make Money From Trading Antiques and Collectibles?
Collecting antiques is fun and elegant, but do you know just by buying and selling, you can make a living out of them? Not many in this business want to share this idea with you. But luckily, Alex from Curiosity Incorporated gives a transparent guide on how you can open your antique store.
To start this journey, watch the video below for some valuable tips!
How To Get Collectibles for the Best Retail Value?
1. Keep a Baseline Value in Mind
Knowing the monetary worth of the collectible requires a bit of expertise. Whenever you go to buy a collectible, always research that specific item. The research includes knowing the
- retail price,
- wholesale price,
- fair market price,
- auction value,
- insurance value,
- and the condition of the item.
After keeping the above information in mind, you can estimate a baseline price to offer or expect from the seller. Keeping a baseline value can save you from sellers charging higher than the market price.
However, know that your baseline collectibles value may not be perfectly accurate and may vary with the actual market price. So it’s better to extend your budget or bidding range over the baseline value.
2. Get To Know the Seller
Securing a better deal is a social process, you need to know the seller first. By knowing, I don’t mean you to directly jump to a Q&A session, but a friendly chit-chat will hurt nobody. Also, if you want to negotiate a selling price, being friendly and polite will help you do so.
The idea is to consider each other as fellow human beings and not just some self-seeking transacting parties.
Ask questions about the collectible after getting familiarized with each other. You might get some useful information that you missed out on in the research process—information that might help you sign the deal or show you enough red flags to convince you to walk away.
3. Learn the Dynamics of Different Markets
There are several markets that have the same items on sale but often at different prices. Learning the buying dynamics of these markets will help you close the deal at your desired price.
For example, if you are buying an antique from eBay with other buyers bidding for the same piece, chances are the selling price will go beyond your baseline value. However, if you are standing at an underrated garage sale, where there are not many bidders, don’t you think you will get your desired item at a satisfactory selling price?
So it all narrows to doing complete research and knowing the dynamics of markets. Even if you fail to find any collectible at the desired price in any market, know that you have plenty of other stores and auctions to go through. With a reasonable baseline price, It will just be a matter of time before you find what you’re looking for.
How To Set the Price of Your Collectibles?
1. Online Price Guides
Online price guides come in very handy when it comes to pricing collectibles. It not just lists the prices of different types of collectibles but also gives tips on valuing various items.
However, you cannot take every word for granted as some price guides are not up to date. Why so? Since the prices of antiques have drastically changed in recent years, we cannot for sure say everything is accurate.
If you are looking for genuine price guides, Terry and Kim Kovel’s comprehensive books will end your search. It contains expert analysis and advice, which makes it one of the bestselling online price guides.
Register today at Kovels for free and get access to a massive database of antiques that includes prices, values, tips, and whatnot!
2. Supply and Demand
Some experts say the supply and demand law is a theory and does not work in the antique market, while others consider it a factor before pricing their collectibles.
So the law tells us that when the supply of something is greater than its demand, the prices get lower than usual. And vice versa, when demand for something is higher than its supply, the price of that specific item rises.
But can we put this concept practically into the market and set collectible prices? Let’s find out!
The trend has shifted towards online selling and buying in recent years, which opened the gateway for many people to put things on sale. Nowadays, people who do not have an interest in antiques also put old stuff on sale online to earn a few bucks.
We can find many antique items, like glassware, dishes, china, crystal, and silver, that were previously on sale for a lot more at in-house antique stores. But now many have access to online markets like eBay and Etsy, the supply for many items has gone par.
On the contrary, more buyers get access to goods in online stores. So the demand for a specific item should also rise. Right? Somewhat it’s true, but again, we compare the two, and the supply and demand law determines the price.
Where To Sell Your Collectibles?
Whether starting an antique business or wanting to get rid of any specific collectible, you have plenty of places to start. You can sell it online, go for the traditional ways, or walk both paths together. Let’s discuss all the routes in detail!
Selling Collectibles Online
When you sell on an online market, you get access to more buyers. Moreover, you can promote your sales too by paying some price for marketing your advertisements. However, everything has its pros & cons.
The cons of selling antiques and collectibles online are that you have to wait on payments, and also the online market offers a slight learning curve. With that said, below are the top ways you can sell your antiques and collectibles online.
Topping the list, we have eBay, an American multinational e-commerce website that allows consumer-to-consumer and business-to-consumer trading. It operates in about 32 countries, yet the fascinating thing about this online market is its auction-style sales that give an edge to sellers.
So rightfully, you will find every antique dealer on this website putting their private collections on display in front of potential buyers. You can be one of them. eBay has made its website user-friendly, and you don’t need a settled business to start.
An item in your inventory and a will to sell is all you need, but watch out for your competitors.
Etsy is an online marketplace that gives sellers a storefront to list items for a fee of US$0.20 per item. As of 31 December 2021, the stats shows Etsy connected 7.5 million sellers with 96.3 million buyers.
Etsy, being a caterer to niche-specific businesses, has a slightly limited reach. But if you are a seller of handmade, antique, vintage, or crafted items, there’s no better way than to start on Etsy. You will have a free hand to price your collectibles but know that Etsy has a fair share of 6.5% of the sale price.
3. Ruby Lane
Ruby lane is one of the most popular go-to sites for those looking for a marketplace dedicated to only antiques. Why are antique sellers and buyers so fond of it? Ruby Lane has given success stories to many dealers, which convinces newcomers to open their shops here.
However, Ruby Lane has set some standards and quality guidelines for sellers, which filters out inferior shops. Moreover, it has a team of antique experts who examine each and every shop before giving the permit to sell.
So, it is more challenging to work on Ruby Lane than on eBay or Etsy. But it offers more than hardships and challenges to the sellers.
Ruby Lane does not have a feature of bidding. The shops sell at a fixed price. But unlike other online marketplaces, Ruby Lane does not take a commission from the sales.
So if you are sure you can follow the guidelines and have quality antique collections to put on sale, there’s no better place than Ruby Lane to open your antique store. However, if your shop gets rejected by Ruby Lane, shrug your shoulders and move on to other online marketplaces like GoAntiques, and TIAS.com.
4. Online dealers
If you have a particular item to sell, plenty of online dealers might be interested in buying it. But reach out to renowned antique dealers to avoid fraud. You may receive a wholesale price for an immediate sale, saving you time and a listing fee.
5. Facebook Marketplace
Since social media has connected people all over the world, you can use it to your advantage by selling your antiques online! Platforms like Instagram and Twitter can assist you in showcasing your collectibles to a broader range of audiences.
And similarly, Facebook, with a broader reach, has a dedicated marketplace for sellers. You can list and also promote your collectibles there.
6. Build your website
When you have niche-specific collectibles to sell or buying and selling collectibles is more of a business than a hobby, it is a sign for you to build a website.
When you already have a page or shop on online sites like eBay or Etsy, owning a domain would be a plus. It will not only generate sales but also help buyers from other marketplaces to track your business. And maybe they buy a thing or two from your website too.
If you want to build a website, WordPress and Woocommerce are the two best and most user-friendly e-commerce sites that you can use.
Selling collectibles nearby
Undoubtedly, the internet has made selling easy, but that does not mean you let go of traditional ways of trading, such as auctions and antique shows. And do you know there are more avenues to sell your collectibles locally? Let’s walk you through some!
1. Consignment store
A consignment means to involve a third party in selling personal items such as clothes, decor, furniture, etc. The third-party, usually a vendor, puts the item on sale in their store and keeps a portion or percentage of the sale price for facilitating the sale. Moreover, you keep the ownership until someone buys it from the store.
2. Sell directly to a dealer
Other than putting items on consignment, you can sell them directly to dealers too. Chances are those dealers who do not offer consignments will prefer buying collectibles outright after assessing and appraising them. Or might even refer you to other dealers who want to buy from you.
So it is always an option to go to dealers directly. But remember, they will try to bargain the retail value to keep higher profits when later selling it to another party. However, some of them might exploit you. So always know when to walk away!
Yes, I know! This option requires the internet, but it is an effective and free website for selling and listing items locally. So why not list it here?
On Craigslist, you can list ordinary items such as silver coins. But avoid listing items that are too expensive, as scams and frauds are common on this site. For expensive collectibles, you can go to eBay, Etsy, or Ruby Lane, which offers much protection to sellers and buyers.
4. Antique show
Antique dealers, annually or on a special occasion, organize shows to display and sell their best of the best antiques to potential high-paying buyers. If you have a special antique or vintage item that you want to sell, sign yourself up for antique shows.
Moreover, if you are new in this antique business, participating in antique shows is a smart way to connect with other dealers and bidders. It will give you well-needed exposure to the antique world and help you make your profile strong.
Auction is another alternative way, with an auction fee, to sell a high-end item to a potential buyer. If you possess such a collectible, sell it at a nearby or national auction house. There are many reasons why one should consider auctioning.
Auctioning high-end and valuable antiques is a tradition followed since the early 18th century. Many high bidders still prefer to walk this path rather than go to any other alternatives, which gives you an edge in securing better deals.
However, sometimes bidding doesn’t go the way you expect them to. So always keep a reserve price for an antique if it doesn’t sell at market value.
With everything said, selling and buying antiques is a thing practiced by many but mastered by some! From pricing and valuing collectibles to buying and selling, everything is complex.
Here’s a quick summary of the main takeaways:
- Examine the provenance, age, condition, and rarity to know the value of collectibles.
- To buy a collectible for the best retail value, keep a baseline value, know the dynamics of the markets, and befriend the dealer.
- Take help from an up-to-date price guide to set a reasonable price for your collectible.
With this comprehensive guide, we hope you now have an idea or two. If you find this guide informative, share it with your fellow antique lovers!