Archive for November, 2016

Collectibles as an Investment

Written by traderchris on . Posted in Uncategorized

People collect all sorts of things. I’ve seen doll collections, Hummel collections, sewing machine collections, mahjong collections and porcelain Collie collections, just to name a few. People often spend thousands of dollars and years growing their collections, only to find out that the value for most items tends to decrease over time. So how do you put together a collection that is more likely to appreciate in value over time and get the most bang for your buck when it’s time to sell?

  1. Buy the best that you can afford. In the beginning, quantity may take priority over quality, just to fill up your shelves. However, the best collections are carefully cultivated, with top specimens often taking years to acquire either due to cost or scarcity. As your budget permits, buy the best examples that you can afford, as you might not get another chance for a long time.
  1. Trade up. After a while, many serious collectors may find themselves with duplicates or less than ideal examples in their collections. When the opportunity is available, try trading-up some of the less desirable specimens for better quality ones. In fields such a coin or sports card collecting, sometimes a minor improvement in a single item can increase the value of your collection by thousands or tens of thousands of dollars.
  1. Keep an eye on the collectibles market. Just like the stock market, the market for collectibles can experience ups and downs. What may have been valuable years ago may only be worth a fraction of the value now (and vice versa if you’re fortunate…) Published identification guides often include price sheets, but they tend to become out-of-date very quickly unless the publication is only 1-2 years old. It’s best to use recent prices realized on eBay and auction house websites as a reference for the value of you collection, as they will more accurately reflect current pricing trends.
  1. Follow the golden rule of collecting. Collect what you enjoy and enjoy what you collect. If you find that this mantra is no longer true, it’s either time to downsize or sell your collection.
  1. Don’t burden friends or family with your collection. Unless they share the same passion for the items that you collected, most people are not terribly excited at the prospect of inheriting a collection, even if it’s valuable. Storing and insuring it can involve a great deal of time and money and selling it can be even more of a hassle, especially if they are in a time crunch to clear out an estate or storage unit.

If your intended recipient(s) would find the sales proceeds more beneficial than the owning the collection, take some time to find a reputable dealer or seller that can get you the best prices for your items. To make things easier, be sure to maintain an inventory of your collection with notes such as value and provenance, which can be very helpful when it’s time to sell.


The Catch of a Lifetime

Written by traderchris on . Posted in Uncategorized

I was recently fortunate enough to travel to Alaska for the fishing trip of a lifetime. Amongst all of houses and small cabins that dotted the small fishing town that we stayed in, I wondered what sort of fishing treasures of yesteryear existed.

Antique fishing lures and equipment can be highly collectible, with certain items bringing hundreds or even thousands of dollars each. For quick reference, most of the “good stuff” is from the mid 20th century and earlier, so if it were handed down from your father or grandfather, there’s a good chance it’s of the right time period.

Lures tend to be the most attractive items left behind in old tackle boxes, especially if the original box was saved, too. The earliest lures are typically carved from wood, although there are some highly desirably metal spoons and even a few glass lures, too. Some of more collectible manufacturers include Heddon, Shakespeare, and Pflueger (all are still in business today), although some of lures produced by regional manufacturers or individuals can command strong prices as well.

Old fishing reels can sometimes produce eye-popping prices, too. The most sought-after reels tend to be either early fly fishing or baitcasting reels and typically need to be in very good to excellent condition to command top dollar. Unlike lures, most reels have their original manufacturer and model number stamped on their sides, so it may be possible for you to look-up their values online if you are interested.

The most popular types of fishing rods to collectors tend to be old bamboo fly rods. You’ll typically find these rods in 2-3 sections kept in their original cloth rod sleeve or metal travel tube. Collectors enjoy them due to their craftsmanship as well as the additional action they can provide while fighting a fish. These rods frequently sell for hundreds of dollars each, with the most coveted examples capable of selling for several thousand dollars.

So next time that you’re poking around the garage or attic, take a few minutes to look at those old poles or the rusted tackle box that’s been sitting in the corner for ages. Who knows what fishing gems you may have laying around, collecting dust?


Fine Jewelry for Fine Prices

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As a young officer in the Navy, I followed engagement ring tradition and scrimped and saved three months’ worth of Ensign pay to buy a brand new ring for my future bride. Had I known then what I know now about estate jewelry, I could have either saved quite a bit on the ring I was after or would have been able to get a lot more bang for my buck with my full budget.

Estate jewelry is simply another term for “pre-owned” jewelry. It may be antique (crafted over 100 years ago) or as recent as a few months old, if the piece happens to be from a broken engagement or divorce. And depending where and how you shop, you can save a significant amount over the retail price of what you seek.

Two favorite buying venues of jewelry deal seekers are estate sales and auctions. Estate sales are typically held at the home of the owner may include the sale of fine jewelry amongst home décor, art, clothing, and other household objects. Jewelry sold at estate sales should be listed at a fixed price that is competitive to similar pieces in the market or online. The greatest selection of pieces is available during the first day of the sale, when everything is listed at full price. You may be fortunate to get a discount on pieces if they are still available on the second or third day of the sale.

Auctions are another great way to get super deals on estate jewelry. Whether you buy locally or online, be sure to set a budget for yourself and factor in any additional fees and taxes beforehand so that you don’t end-up overpaying for pieces that can be found elsewhere. Some of the most expensive and desirable estate jewelry is sold via auction, so it’s a great way to find a variety of high quality and designer pieces at wholesale prices.

Last but not least, do your homework before and after you buy estate jewelry. Be sure to inspect anything you plan to purchase beforehand, looking for signs of damage, repair, or missing stones, which should be factored into the price. A jeweler’s loupe with a 30x to 60x magnification can be purchased for a mere $10-$15 online and is a great tool to have for examining jewelry.

You’ll want to ensure that you’re purchasing from a reputable seller with a fair return policy, should you encounter unexpected problems with the authenticity or quality of the piece after purchase. Additionally, any valuable jewelry should have an appraisal performed by a certified independent appraiser, who can provide a more rigorous evaluation of a piece than what is oftentimes provided by a staff appraiser.

The Do-It-Yourself Guide to Selling Furniture Online

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At some point of time or another, we all have furniture that we need to sell. Decorating styles change over time, we outgrow things, or sometimes we simply run out of space for everything that we’ve acquired. For the do-it-yourself type, here’s a guide to selling furniture yourself online.


Photos count. Most online buyers don’t expect pictures of used furniture to look as though they came from a Pottery Barn catalogue. However, furniture should appear clean and free of clutter and photos should be well-lit and as clear as possible. Taking pictures from multiple angles will give potential buyers a better idea of how the piece may appear in their own home. Don’t forget to show pictures of drawers opened and closed, in addition to any special details or damage.


State the facts. Be sure to include the name of the designer / manufacturer and the type of wood or fabric used, if available. Another obvious but frequently overlooked detail would be the dimensions and weight of the piece. If you’re not sure of the weight, a best guess will suffice.


Make the sales terms clear. Can you accept a local check or will only cash suffice? Should the buyer bring assistance to load the furniture? Are you willing to deliver it locally or ship it? More flexible terms require more effort from the seller, but typically result in faster sales and/or higher prices.


Be prepared to negotiate. No matter how great the deal is on the furniture you’ve just listed, everyone always wants a better deal. Try pricing your furniture a bit higher than what you’d expect to get for it, then be prepared to field lower offers and negotiate back to your preferred price. If you absolutely can’t go any lower on a price, be sure to state that the price is “firm” in your description.


Sell local, unless valuable. The market for secondhand furniture tends to be local, as furniture is large, heavy, and very expensive to ship. Unless you have a highly desirable piece of antique or mid-century modern furniture that’s worth thousands of dollars, than most pieces should be sold locally, with Craigslist being the preferred sale medium. If you do have something more valuable, considering offering it on a nationally advertised venue such as eBay, with local pick-up available. You can also offer to help make arrangements for freight transportation or through a website such as uShip if your buyer isn’t local and is willing to pay extra for shipping.

The Art of the Deal – Part II

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The Art of the Deal – Part II

Last issue, I provided several tips for sellers to improve their negotiating skills. This time, we’ll focus on suggestions for buyers.


Tips for Buyers

  1. Do your homework, too. Not every seller is always aware of the condition, value, or authenticity of an item they may have for sale. And occasionally, the seller may not be completely truthful about an item, either. This is why it’s important for buyers to take the time to educate themselves on an item before making a decision to purchase it, especially if it is expensive.

Be sure to purchase authentic items from a reputable source and ask if there is a return policy incase you have an issue with your item later. If the item is used, you should research comparable quality items that are for sale or that have sold recently to have a better idea of what you should be paying. This information can be used as leverage for the next step.


  1. Start low, then work your way high. As the buyer, one of your main objectives is to get the lowest purchase price for your item. If you’ve done your homework and have a sense of the market for a particular item, you can better negotiate to get an item at or below the market price. It is always easier for a buyer to negotiate an acceptable price by making a lower offer and gradually negotiating upward, versus the other way around (just don’t start too low, or else you risk insulting the seller.) When in doubt of what is considered reasonable, simply ask the seller what they’re best price is for a particular item.


  1. Buy in bulk for the greatest value. If you’re buying for re-sale, then purchasing items in large quantities or as a lot typically results in the best price per piece. Additionally, you may find the occasional valuable item in a mixed lot, which may pay for the entire lot (such as finding a piece of fine jewelry mixed in with a bunch of cheap costume jewelry.)


  1. Stick to your budget. It’s hard to walk away from things we really like or want, but sometimes its necessary when an item is priced too high or doesn’t meet our expectations. Unless an item is one-of-a-kind or extremely rare, then the buyer will typically have the upper hand when negotiating a price. Sometimes, however, sellers are unwilling to budge on their asking price and you may need to walk away if you don’t consider it a good value for the money.


  1. Build a network. If you frequently collect or purchase for resale, it’s a good idea to build relationships with the people that you purchase from the most. Showing an interest and appreciation for your sellers may result in first choice of new merchandise, preferred buyer’s rates, and introductions to other sellers.

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