Collectibles FAQ

Frequently Asked Questions

A: It all boils down to math. Here is the deal: When you sell at a live auction or eBay, the “house” gets a percentage. That percentage can be in one or more forms, such as a hammer price, buyer’s premium, final value fee, or other. Now, before you yell at the screen “but the buyer pays the buyer’s premium or hammer price,” think for a minute. Is that true? Buyers are well aware of the fee that gets paid, and you can be darn sure that they will reduce their bid in consideration of that amount … wouldn’t you? So, really, who pays it? You do! You pay it in that the bids that are that much lower than they would be if the buyer did not have to pay the fee. It is only logical. In the case of an eBay final value fee you, the seller, pay. You also pay PayPal fees and shipping costs, because to attract more bidders you would likely offer free shipping. So you need to be honest about who actually pays what when considering those outlets. There are additional things to consider, such as:

  1. Selling via live auctions can mean waiting months to get the money for your sale, and you do not get cash. They send you a check. I pay you cash, today!
  2. When you sell on eBay you risk deceitful buyers alleging all manner of claims and demanding credit (money back). You risk the buyer doing a chargeback and taking the money from you while keeping your item. You risk shenanigans such as the buyer returning a duplicate but lesser-value item to you and demanding money back. For the joy of these risks you pay up to 15% in final value fees/PayPal fees. I pay you cash and no fees exist, so there is no reason for either of us to pressure the price downward.
  3. Most buyers are speculators/investors who need a specific and visible margin, and they offer a price accordingly. I am a private collector, meaning that the items I purchase have greater meaning and greater value to me, so you can achieve a better sale price with me.

A:  I usually purchase comic books printed prior to 1975; first editions or other unique books, including some magazines printed prior to 1970; fine art and antiquities; and children’s toys manufactured prior to 1970. I will consider any antiquities and fine art. Just tell me what you have and, if you would like, email pictures to me.

A:  Yes.  Give me a call or send me an email and I would be happy to consider making an offer on the entire lot.  I will handle all packing and moving labor/costs if we agree on a deal.

A:  Yes, and I can provide the appropriate security services (usually contracted off-duty police) for the benefit and comfort of all parties participating in deals of such value.

A: I will consider consignment deals with items exceeding $50,000 in value and in which I am given a minimum of 6 month’s exclusivity to facilitate sale. I charge 15% of final sale value due upon sale.

A: No, probably not. One of the two most prevalent mistakes almost everyone makes in valuing their items is looking up what someone else is trying to get for an item and believing that is an indicator of what it is worth. It isn’t. You could likely find the same item in the same condition being sold for wildly differing amounts if you searched enough. Some, if not all, of the sellers will never get those prices. You cannot look at the price someone else is trying to get—and likely won’t get—as an indicator of value. What matters is actual sales of the identical item in the very same condition. That suggests the true value. Actual sales, not aspirations. I say “suggests” because the only thing that indicates the value of anything precisely is what another person is willing to pay at a given moment. Period.

The second (huge) mistake sellers make is failing to assess conditions of items accurately. The actual condition of an item can cause the actual value of an item to be drastically different from what a seller believes it to be. If you are not an expert on grading a particular item type, don’t pretend to be. You will likely be in for a disappointment. I can help or you can pay a professional grader; you will then have much more realistic and achievable sale price expectations.