Collectibles as Gifts

December 24, 2015 by  
Filed under New, Spotlight

Collectibles as Gifts
Christmas is a perfect occasion to introduce collectibles as gifts to friends and family. The first thing that comes to mind for me is a starter kit. Starter kits for future stamp collectors or coin collectors are probably the most obvious.

The starter kits usually consist of the simplest tools, containers and tongs or soft gloves. You may also find a small manual or guide book as a quick introduction.

Just because your collectible of choice may not have a commercial starter-kit available doesn’t mean you can’t improvise. You could create your own pseudo-starter kit for anything. With some research, a little patience and a whole lot of determination, you could source and gather just about anything nowadays.

Another quick thought on the idea of a starter kit: look for a DVD on the topic and include it. If that’s not available the next best thing is to include a web address for information and video online.

How does one go about giving collectibles as gifts?

Not only is this a personalized gift but, in the case of children, what a great way to lessen their dependence on electronics and video games for entertainment. While it may seem there are not a lot of choices, for non-electronic entertainment, the opposite is actually true.

Do a quick search for vintage board games or  retro toys. You will be surprised to see what is still available. Not only are these some of the best games and toys for developing hand-eye coordination but they are also highly collectible.

Print some research that you find and label it as a manual or intro-guide. This has all the makings of an extremely memorable gift for someone special.
Your first step would be to decide on an area the recipient may be interested in. You have some questions to ask.

Do they have an interest in building or tools? Are they fascinated by automobiles or model cars? Are they the outdoor type?

They may be the type of personality that craves quiet reflection. Is it the creative process like drawing or photography that piques their curiosity?

Decide on something age appropriate as well. Make sure whatever you decide on is a good match for their level of skill and interest. No sense introducing them to something so complicated that they lose interest within days.

I imagine this is much more difficult with someone not directly related to you. In that case talk to family or friends of the intended recipient. If that’s not possible you may have to use your best judgement.

“Christmas collectibles as gifts sound like a perfect fit”.

For the reader or quiet thinker: why not give someone some first-edition books? They could be anything from classic cookbooks to comics. The topic chosen would be the goal of your research.

If you have a builder or contractor in your life why not give them retro or vintage tools? If you can’t find anything suitable you could always look for a book depicting retro or vintage tools.

The artist, the cook, the sports person, musician etc: these all have possibilities for collectibles associated with them. Even if they don’t you could always improvise with a little research.

One thing is for certain, collectibles as gifts can be a unique and interesting approach to an otherwise routine tradition.

Best of luck and collect well.


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Make Money from collecting Stuff

October 12, 2015 by  
Filed under How To, Spotlight

Make Money from collecting Stuff

If you want to make money from collecting stuff a great source of cashable items can be Estate Sales. These are also known as content sales. These refer to the liquidation of household contents. This is sometimes done to facilitate a faster ‘move’ by the residents. They simply might not find value in packing and shipping their old belongings.

To make money from collecting stuff means going to the source.

Other reasons for holding the sale may be the homeowner has gone into a senior care facility or passed away. In situations like this the property is usually prepared for resale. But it must be emptied of items first. The estate agents will catalogue and price each item to be included in the sale. This can sometimes take days even weeks.

To give you a frame of reference, I’ve been to small homes where a homeowner has passed away. They had only a few boxes of possessions, barely filling a single room. And only a 2 or 3 buyers inside. I’ve also been to a large two-story home vacated by a couple that went into a care facility together. The home was full of items, from decades of raising their family.

Those children, now living abroad, were not available to deal with the home and contents. This particular home took two weeks to catalogue. It had 7 or 8 rooms, absolutely full of items. And the items continued out into the yard, garage and the driveway.

To get an idea, first realize that this home was occupied by the same family for over fifty years. Besides the appliances and furnishings there were tools and sporting goods. There were bicycles, vintage board games, rock collections, model cars, electric train sets and Barbie doll collections.

On the higher end, they had Waterford crystal pieces, dozens of Lladro figurines, as well as other collectables.

More than two hundred people arrived the first morning to take part in the three day sale. Dozens of people arrived hourly for the next two days. These sales are planned and coordinated using the sales agent’s website and classified ads. Sometimes you may see an Estate Sale sign on the day of the sale.

The first in the door are usually the professional buyers. They may’ve been given email notice about the upcoming sale. Notification is as simple as signing on to an email list. And it’s not just the pros going to these things. Regular people looking for interesting items to collect make up the bulk of the sales traffic.

When it comes time to enter it’s usually done by number.You check-in upon arrival and you’re issued a number. Every sale can vary a little but usually they admit blocks of numbers. Ten or twenty people may be given access. When they leave another group is admitted.

This keeps some sense of order and doesn’t tax the hosts of the sale. You can also estimate how long your wait will be, giving you a chance to get a coffee. Be forewarned, do not bring young children. You may be denied access. Please remember you are a guest on the property.

“To make money from collecting stuff means being in the right place at the right time.”

If you are a collector of a specific niche you may want to get there early.As for deciding what time or day to go, it all depends on your goal. If you are a professional that searches out antiques then first day first hour is best. The prices will be at their highest but quality and availability of deals will be at their greatest.

I think for the average buyer just looking for interesting or practical items, you can afford to go after the first big push. The prices become more flexible with every passing hour. Remember the organizer wants maximum revenue. They could collect a final commission around 30% or higher. And they don’t want remaining items at the closing bell.

Anything left over has to be handled, carried or disposed of. You may want arrive during the last few hours, for the best deals of all. But only the most picked over items usually remain at that point. One exception might be that someone had not returned to pick up an item placed ‘on-hold’.

Overall there are great items to be found in estate sales. If it’s a quality address to begin with, chances are they have some collectible items. These sales can last for days, giving you time to decide on a purchase, assuming no one else buys it.

Prices are usually high to start but trend downward steadily.You can, and should, bargain. The hosts are experienced at pricing but it’s still in their best interest to collect as much as possible. It’s only on the last afternoon that they go into “just sell it” mode. This is all about the final numbers.

Estate sales are a lot of fun if nothing else. It can be a great way to spend a few hours. Another idea for you is to source out a big sale on your next business trip. Instead of being stuck in your hotel between meetings, why not explore a sale?

Do an online search for “estate sales”, followed by your destination. For example – Estate Sales Chicago. This can be a great way to see a city and learn about a community. You may even unwittingly make money from collecting stuff while your away. Or at the very least add some unique souvenirs and memorabilia. to your existing collections.

Best of luck and collect well.


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