Assessing The Value Of Your Collection

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Many people who collect valuables hope that one day their collections will be worth something. Others might build an impressive collection for sheer joy of having that collection, but there is still a small part in each person that secretly wants to know what their collection is worth. While not every collection will yield a fortune, it’s still good to know for insurance purposes.

Assessing collections is an art. Many people have taken their hobby to the next level and have become experts on specific items. For the most accurate results, finding one such specialist will help immensely, but there are steps you can take to do some of the initial footwork on your own.

Price Guides

The best place to start to find the value of a single piece in your collection, or the entire collection itself, is price guides. Price guides are generally books with listings for a wide selection of collectibles in different stages of upkeep – fair, mint, poor, etc. Some guides will have several types of collectibles listed in a single source, but you can also narrow down your search with more specific information for a exact item or type of collection.

Find Local Antique Shops or Trade Shows

Chances are, you’re not the only one collecting the items you have. The best places to compare the value of your collection to others are at trade shows or antique shops. Keep in mind the market value can fluctuate from the number you may have found on your own. The market value for some items might be high, but that doesn’t mean you’ll find somebody who is willing to pay that much for it. Other times, an item listed at a low price might bring you twice as much if you find someone willing to pay.

Get Online

Internet auction sites, such as eBay and others are great resources for a quick assessment. You might not find your exact item, but you might find a listing of something that is similar or within the same collection. Auction sites make it easy to keep track of the number of bids and the amount each person is bidding. If you want to sell your item, list it and place a “minimum bid amount.” By doing this, you will get at least that amount for your item and possibly even more. Competition is fierce and don’t be surprised if the real bidding war doesn’t start until the last few minutes just before the auction is scheduled to close.

Check with Dealers and Appraisers

Sometimes the only way to determine the true value of your collection is through the expert eyes of a professional. If you want a general idea of the item’s worth, asking for an informal appraisal from a licensed antique or collectible dealer is a good place to start. Once you know if you’ve got something worth pursuing, you can arrange for a paid appraisal and decide whether you want to keep or sell your item.

Collecting things is a great hobby. Collectibles help us stay connected with the past and often the sentimental value far outweighs the monetary value. Many people, though, collect items in hopes that one day the collection will bring a great return for their investment. Either way, it’s always fun to know how much your collection is worth whether you plan on keeping it or selling it one day in the future.

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