2-Minute Money Manager: How Can I Sell My Collection?

Comic books, stamps, coins, Barbies, Beanie Babies, toys: You name it, we collect it. But when it's time to sell that collection, how do you get top dollar? Here are some tips.

2-Minute Money Manager: How Can I Sell My Collection? Photo by Tinxi / Shutterstock.com

Welcome to “2-Minute Money Manager,” a short video feature answering money questions submitted by readers and viewers.

Today’s question is about collections; specifically, how to sell them for the highest possible price.

From stamps and coins to Barbies and Beanie Babies, many of us collect things. But when the thrill is gone or the need for space or income exceeds the love, it’s time to make a move.

Watch the following video, and you’ll pick up some valuable info. Or, if you prefer, scroll down to read the full transcript and find out what I said.

You also can learn how to send in a question of your own below.

For more information, check out “How to Get Rid of 6 Hard-to-Get-Rid-of Things” and “Want More Return on Your Savings? Try Trading in Collectibles.” You can also go to the search at the top of this page, put in the word “collectibles” and find plenty of information on just about everything relating to this topic.

And if you need anything from a better credit card to help with debt, be sure to visit our Solutions Center.

Got a question of your own to ask? Scroll down past the transcript.

Don’t want to watch? Here’s what I said in the video

Hello, and welcome to your “2-Minute Money Manager.” I’m your host, Stacy Johnson, and this answer is brought to you by MoneyTalksNews.com, serving up the best in personal finance news and advice since 1991.

Let’s get to today’s question. It comes to us from Beverly:

“I’ve been buying sheets and sets of American stamps for nearly 40 years. I want to sell them either individually or as a whole. Any advice on how to do this?”

Well, Beverly, I’ve got three things for you:

Thing No. 1: It’s easier to get in than out

Like marriage and car leases, getting out of a collection might not be as easy as it was getting in.

Collections can be difficult to sell. It may be expensive, and it may take a while. The newer generation doesn’t seem to have as much interest in collectibles — depending on what they are — as earlier generations.

The first thing to do is go to your favorite search engine and type in “How do I sell my collection of ________?” That can be stamps, coins or whatever else it may be. Get some specific advice because there may be different venues for different types of collections.

Thing No. 2: Get an appraisal

If your collection is worth a lot, you might want to hire a pro to appraise it. They’re not going to be cheap: $100 to $300 an hour. But you may need to do that in order to get top dollar for your collection. A couple of places to find one: the American Society of Appraisers and the Appraisers Association of America. Both have websites, and both have ZIP code searches so you can find an appraiser near you.

If you talk to an appraiser, ask where he or she would suggest selling. Appraisers are likely to have good ideas. Maybe you’re thinking, “Oh, I’ll just put in on eBay or Amazon.” Maybe, but there might be better places for you to sell. For example, have you heard of a website called Lofty? It specializes in fine art and collectibles. There are other websites and auction houses out there as well. Research, research, research.

Thing No. 3: Selling parts may net more than selling it whole

You’ll likely get more money if you piece out your collection bit by bit, rather than selling it as a whole. But that’s also going to be a lot more hassle. Also, keep in mind when you’re talking to pros like appraisers or auction houses, they may try to buy your collection from you, especially if it’s valuable. But they’re only going to give you wholesale prices, which could half what you would get by selling retail.

Bottom line? To get top dollar, do your homework, then sell it off piece by piece.

Hope that answers your question, and I hope you’ll meet me right here next time!

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The questions I’m likeliest to answer are those that will interest other readers. In other words, don’t ask for super-specific advice that applies only to you. And if I don’t get to your question, promise not to hate me. I do my best, but I get a lot more questions than I have time to answer.

About me

I founded Money Talks News in 1991. I’m a CPA, and have also earned licenses in stocks, commodities, options principal, mutual funds, life insurance, securities supervisor and real estate.

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Stacy Johnson
Stacy Johnson @moneytalksnews
I'm the founder of Money Talks News and have spent the last 40+ years in the personal finance trenches. I'm a CPA, author of a few books and multiple Emmy recipient. I'm ... More

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