I receive inquiries almost daily about selling stuff. All sorts of stuff. Inquiries from the last month alone have ranged from selling high-end estate jewelry to the liquidation of a vintage beer can collection. I even took some time to go out and view an antique radio collection stored in an old school bus. I love hearing about / seeing unusual collections, which is what keeps my job fun!
I’ve decided to start a series of articles that detail items that are selling well right now in the market versus items that aren’t. So here we go.
Late 1950s to Early 1960s Barbie Dolls and Accessories – The first Barbie I ever sold was a 1959 #2 Barbie. She sold for $3938 to a collector in California. Ever since then, I kept an eye out for early Barbie dolls and accessories. The most valuable dolls are going to be the earliest dolls, from 1959 to 1960. They can be identified by their facial features, body markings, and even the holes in their feet. Whether the doll is a #1 or #3 Barbie can make a big difference in the value. A near mint #1 Barbie recently sold on eBay for $4500, while a pristine #3 Barbie with box may sell for $1500 – $2000. Original, vintage outfits and accessories can go for a lot, too, and are oftentimes worth a lot more than the dolls that may be kept in the cases with them. Hard-to-find individual outfits may sell for hundreds of dollars each and even partial outfits can still sell for $20 – $50.
Iconic Toys from Every Era – Toys have been collectible for a long time and will continue to be collectible into the future. People develop a special attachment to toys, especially from their childhood, as it reminds them of a simpler, more innocent time in their lives. Toys that are in the highest demand from collectors tend to be iconic examples from their era and are in very good to excellent condition. Ideally, the original box and/or accessories are still available. Some examples include cap guns, tin toys, and Tonka trucks; vintage dolls and play sets; original board games, video games, and action figures.
Dishes – Most People will inherit at least one set of china from a parent or grandparent. Unfortunately, the market for reselling most china and other porcelain tableware is very poor. There is simply way too much supply and not enough demand. Younger generations have different tastes than their elders and many of them do not formally entertain like people did in the past. As fine china is often too fragile to put in the dishwasher, people simply don’t want to bother with it most of the time. Consider gifting to a friend / family member that would appreciate it or donate it to a worthy charity. If you must sell it, local consignment or auction is a possibility, but don’t expect to get much for your set(s).
Limited Edition Prints – I once worked with a couple that had purchased dozens of beautifully framed Ducks Unlimited prints, “back when [they] had more money than sense”. They had paid several hundred dollars for each work, hoping to recoup their investment or perhaps even make a profit someday. Sadly, when you have hundreds or even thousands of copies of a particular work, it tends to dilute the resale value for the piece. I was only able to sell a handful of the prints for $100 or more apiece, while the remainder had to be liquidated at local auction for a fraction of that.
A truly limited edition tends to be 100 copies or less. And ideally, the work is signed by the artist and has been kept away from sun or moisture, to minimize the chances of fading or spotting. If the print is large but perhaps only worth a few hundred dollars, it may be best to sell it locally or remove it from the frame for easier (and much cheaper) shipping.