How to Sell Your Stuff, Collections, and Junk
You’ve changed your focus, run out of space, tired of dusting or just need the money. Whatever the reason, it’s time to lose the collection. But how?
If you’re not in a hurry, selling items individually will usually bring higher prices than selling the entire collection as a group. It’s also harder to find someone to buy a huge lot.
Selling the collection individually can also pay off if you have rare pieces that are sought after by collectors. The downside: it takes more time and effort than one realizes.
Here’s where those rare items can pay off. Can you say Bidding War? It’s what all sellers dream of and can happen if your stuff is in excellent condition and hard-to-find. Mention online auctions and eBay is what comes to mind, but there are many other auction options. Check the auction list for options that might be a better fit.
Living Estate Sale or Garage Sales
Have a living estate sale — contact a local company that specializes in estate sales and let them do the work. You’ll pay most likely pay a hefty commission (make sure to negotiate!), but you won’t have to worry about the nuts and bolts of the sales or deal with folks haggling about prices.
Another option is having a garage sale. It’s not a good idea for a collection that is especially valuable, but if you just have a lot of stuff — it can work out.
Getting the best price depends on the venue chosen, e.g. don’t sell autographs on a site that is heavy into antiques or vice-versa. Do some research and find out where your type of collectors are hanging out and where they are buying.
It can be a bit of work loading your descriptions, pictures and general set-up. But you get to set your own prices and although someone might ask for a better deal, you still decide the final price. Fees can vary widely.
If you’re wanting to sell higher-end collectibles, a little too valuable for eBay, but maybe not quite worthy of Christy’s or Sotheby’s, Lofty just might be your solution.
It’s a way of selling those single items and only incurring a seller’s premium of 10%.
Lofty evaluate your items, arranges for the shipping and authenticates the pieces. Doesn’t get much easier than that.
Flea Markets Anyone?
You’ve probably found lots of your treasures at flea markets, perhaps now you can reverse the process and sell your unwanted treasures there. The upside is you’re probably familiar with the local flea markets and know which ones carry your type of stuff.
It isn’t necessarily an easy project to undertake, but if you’re a people person, you might get bitten by the bug and start looking for more stuff to sell.
Collector Clubs/Online Forums/Facebook
Most collector clubs have bulletin boards and/or publications where you can buy or sell. This is a great way to sell a collection if the club has a large or active roster and you have sought after goodies.
Reach out in as many places as you can by posting sale listings on collector forum/bulletin boards around the Internet.
Facebook has become the go-to place for like-minded folks to chat and this includes collectors. Search for a Facebook group for what you collect, although online selling is not encouraged, it’s still a great place to let people know that you are selling and they can contact you for more information.
Classified Ads/Craig’s List
Weekly/monthly collector publications offer classified ads and it really wasn’t that long ago that it was the only way to find those elusive items across the country. Unfortunately, many of the publications do not have the circulation of a few years ago but keep in mind that some collectors do not shop online and these collector newsletters/magazines are their only source of information.
One source that I’ve used in the past year or so has been Craigs List. It is an online option, but it’s free and has an avid following, certainly worth a try. Unfortunately, there have been also stories of people taking advantage of sellers, so be safe. Never let strangers in your home and never be alone when meeting them.
eBay Drop Off / Consignment Stores
Find an auction drop-off business that specializes in selling your stuff for you online.
The downside: Not all stores will know about your items and you might need to do a little hand-holding to be sure descriptions are correct and categories are the best fit. Find out all fees before signing on the dotted line. Charges could include the commission, listing fee, transaction fee and Paypal fees.
Selling in One Swoop – Auction Houses
There is a lot to be said by getting rid of everything in one fell swoop, but that doesn’t mean putting 300 cookie jars in one eBay auction and wondering why no one wants to buy them all as a group or instant collection.
If you don’t want to mess with the stuff or just want to get it over with quickly, try consigning your stuff to an auction house, choices include online, local, or a specialty house. Check their references, fees and the work required from you before deciding on the right auction.
Host Your Own Store Front
This is probably the most difficult option, but if you have the time and inclination, it’s something to consider. It consists of building a website, deciding on how to advertise your wares, setting up a check-out, as well as doing all the rest of the nitty-gritty that you would do for eBay or online malls.
There are thousands of web hosting company options and most offer specific plans with storefront templates and fill in the blank forms to get a site up and running. It’s a nice choice for those who are computer challenged, but you will still have a bit of a learning curve.
If you’re an avid collector, chances are you’ve been to or heard of a show/convention specifically geared to your type of collection. There is Pottery Week in Ohio, Comic shows all around the country, Christmas and holiday shows and conventions — all can be great ways to sell a specialized collection. The shows are not as plentiful as they once were, but many are still out there. Check the publications and find out if one is coming up within traveling distance.
Then find out their rules about selling. Some conventions have strict rules, others let people sell from their rooms. In either case, it’s a great way to meet like-minded collectors and hopefully find buyers for your treasures.
eBay offers the ProStores solution. It’s your own website with your own look and design. eBay does the hosting, charging a hosting fee and individual transaction fees. As with the other options, you’ll still have to take pictures, write descriptions and decide on prices, but they take a lot of the hassle out of it.
Giving Your Collection Away
And last but not least, what about giving it away? Think about it! If you give a collection to charity, you’ll get a tax deduction and the bottom line could be more than the bargain price you might wind up selling it for online. Check with a tax advisor to find out the records you’ll need and what type of deductions can be made.
Another option is to give pieces away to friends and family who have admired your stuff over the years. They’ll be delighted and it feels great to share. Do it in a fun way, as favors at a Christmas party, have an open house where people can come choose, or even just giving away small action figure types of toys to Halloween trick or treaters. Of course, it depends on what you have, but there are many ways to share!