From "Antique Week" April 16, 2012 by Harry Rinker, Rinker on Collectibles
In this superb article Harry answers possibly the most frequently asked question by novice toy collectors (for toys less than 20 years old). I thought it would be appropriate to begin my FAQ's with his response.
Q. I've been collecting [toys] for 20 years or so. (Gi Joe, Star Wars Starting Line-up, Nightmare Before Christmas, Batman, Tonka, Barbie, etc. Where can I sell them to get the maximum price? I don't want to give this stuff away. For example, my Nightmare Before Christmas figures have a high price in Toys & Prices, 2011 guide, but yet on ebay they are selling for less than half the price. All my toys are in pristine condition.
A. Selling any collectibles collections especially if assembled after 1980 there are several truths a collector has to face. All "bad". First, Americans began hoarding new collectibles, especially toys, as a hedge and/or investment. Those who listed early (early 1990's) benefited. Everyone else suffered. The good news is that ebay now has survived long enough that the sell-through prices, not the asked prices, are now realistic and reliable indicators of what collectibles are worth in the 2010's.
Second, price guides have traditionally reflected asking prices in the field and not sell-through prices on ebay. Prices in specific guides require field testing to determine their accuracy.
Third, objects are bought at retail and sold at wholesale. The collector's dream is that every object bought increases in value over the years so that when it is sold its value is substantially higher than when purchased. This is only a dream for the vast majority of objects.
The best place to sell your items is at auction. It is quick, but can be painful. Charitable donation can sometimes be best. My (Harry's) final advice..."be happy with what the collection brings. Any money is better than no money". [The Antique Week article is much longer than the few excerpt paragraphs].
Questions that I'll be adding to the FAQ's ASAP.
- Where/how can I sell my toy?
- Where can I get parts and a key?
- All I am trying to find is a single part. All I can find is the complete toy on eBay which is cost prohibitive. Any ideas?
- Should I clean my toy?
- Can I use car wax or something similiar to brighten the toys appearance?
- Should I have my toy professionally restored?
- How will restoring my toy and/or original box affect its value?
- Would you find a toy for my collection?
- Where would I find toys like these?
- Are you interested in buying my toy or selling by consignment?
- Should I buy an empty rare toy box hoping that someday I'll find the toy?
- Where/how do you find these toys?
- How can I tell if my toy is a reproduction?
- How can I tell if my toy has been repainted and/or new parts added?
- How much value is added by having the original box?
- Are antique toys a good "investment"?
- What should I collect?