Collector's Corner - Top 10 Things To Know When Selling

Collector's Corner - Top 10 Things To Know When Selling

Posted by Jim Olson on Oct 26th 2021

Most collectors eventually become sellers. We sell in order to trade up, downsize, or various other reasons, As seasoned collectors we learned it best to do research before buying, but what about when it comes time to sell? I believe it wise do our research here as well.


Do we go with an auction house? Consign to a gallery? Sell it ourselves online or at a swap meet? There are numerous options—and all should be studied because some are better for particular situations than others—and each person is different. There are pros and cons depending upon each seller’s needs and skill sets. Below are ten general things to consider when choosing an outlet to work with.

1) Reputation. Does the person/dealer/site you are considering working with have a good reputation? How long have they been in business? Are they known for fair dealings? Do they have complaints with the Better Business Bureau, etc.? Do they have good reviews? Sites like Yelp, Google and others can be helpful. Just remember that online reviews are normally only a fraction of their actual customers and that happy customers are less likely to leave feedback and say something than a dissatisfied one is.

2) Knowledgeable. Do they know what they are talking about when representing items? Nobody can know everything, but a wise person will search out what they need to know. A person with knowledge helps us through the selling process. They help us from setting a price too high or even too low. They can help us from making other mistakes which may come back to bite us later.

3) Online Presence. Do they sell online and have a good digital footprint? In this day and age, it is very important that folks selling just about anything have some sort of an online presence. Where do they rank with search engines? When you Google X, do they show up? Remember if you have trouble finding them, so will others.

4) Social Media. Continuing somewhat with the online theme, but a different piece of the puzzle is a social media following. FacebookInstagramLinkedInYouTube and other similar sites are basically like the radio and television of yesteryear when it comes to exposure. Having a social media following is important for visibility.

5) Options? Do they offer more than one way to sell? Do you consign or sell outright? Can you set a base price or is that at the discretion of the dealer? Maybe you could consign for a while and then if it does not sell, send it through an auction? Do they deal in more than one class of items? Options are nice.

6) Easy to deal with. Are they friendly and easy to deal with in general? Some might say, “I don’t care as long as the job gets done,” but if they are not easy to deal with, your experience will not be as fulfilling. A noted benefit of the collecting experience is the sense of enjoyment received in the process. When selling or upgrading our collection, we should expect a pleasant experience as well.

7) Length of time. How long will they have the item(s)? One month? Six months? A year or more? Do they buy it outright, right now? Generally when people are ready to sell, they want to sell now. Some are willing to wait longer in hopes of realizing a higher price and many are somewhere in between—they want things to sell fairly quickly and at a reasonably higher price. Keep in mind that time = money.

8) Cost of selling. How much are the selling costs in relation to the final price? If selling on consignment, what is the percentage taken by the dealer or site? Are there hidden fees such as insurance or photographing fees? Or if selling outright, what amount of wholesale discount do they expect to get? It’s not always the selling price that matters, it is your net amount. The bottom line is important.

9) Customer service. What is their customer service like? How they treat buyers is actually important to sellers as well. Happy buyers will purchase more and pay better. Happy buyers are less likely to come back later with unfavorable demands or even in extreme cases, lawsuits. With good customer service, future problems are minimized.

10) Show me the money! One of the most important things to know is how long till payday? Do they pay within a week? Two weeks? A month? Six months or more? It is important to find this out because the best place for our money is under our control, in our own pocket, not sitting with someone else for weeks or months at a time.

There are other factors one may consider and of course, the selling experience is a little different for each of us. A sure thing to remember is that selling or trading our collectibles can, and should be, a fun experience just like buying them was. In many cases, it is the final chapter of our experience with that particular item, so we should strive to make it a good one.

Jim Olson © 2020