Are My Collectibles Valuable? Should I Sell via an Online Auction?

Posted on: April 21, 2022

Hummel plates? Rare stamps? Aunt Martha’s fountain pens? Should you sell them via an online auction house, and how do you know the true value? 

These are common questions many older adults face when they begin downsizing and selling stuff they no longer need. In this blog, Heather Follmer of Everything But the House, Inc., an online estate and consignment sale auction house, offers some expert advice to those looking to sell their collectibles.

How to Determine the Value of Collectors’ Items

The best way to determine the value of your antiques and collectibles is through an assessment.

Many estate sale companies, antique dealers, antique shops and online auction houses will offer free evaluations of collectibles. Most businesses today will accept photos of the item for the assessment.

If you have a houseful of stuff, look for a company that will come to your home for the evaluation.

Also, do your own research online. Search for the item or similar items via online auctions and second-hand shop sites to begin to get an idea of the selling price.

How to Find an Online Auction Site

Start by asking for referrals from friends, family or a senior living community, such as Otterbein Granville. In fact, we have referral lists for auction houses, sellers and movers who cater to older adults.

Next, spend time on the auction site to understand how it works.

  • Read the terms and conditions, looking for how the site charges fees to buyers and sellers, what protection they provide consumers if something goes wrong, and any other specific rules or tips.
  • Watch a few items to get a feel for the bidding and auction process.
  • Review methods of payment.
  • Look for how the site will accept items and the process for delivery of items.
  • See what current sellers are saying about their experiences by looking for seller comments or reviews.
  • Look for auction houses selling comparable items to yours. Evaluate based on which ones are providing the best exposure for the best price.
  • Ask questions via an online chat or contact page.

When you have a site you are interested in, create a profile with a strong, unique password. Tip: the strongest passwords are at least 10 characters long, have a mix of upper- and lower-case letters, numbers and symbols, and are created just for that site.

Tips to Selling Collectibles

Ready to start selling? Here are a few quick tips:

  • Make sure collectibles are authentic, not fake (even if you’ve always believed them to be genuine). Look for a date or company logo, and do research about what makes the item authentic.
  • Know the condition of your collectible. Is the color faded compared to the original condition? Are the edges worn? This information will help you compare and determine a sellable value.
  • Timing is important. Is this item trending? Is it a seller’s market? Is now the best time to sell your items?

Most importantly, take the time to research the collections you have before listing. The time spent in research could lead to a more valuable reward.

Want More Tips on Downsizing?

Check out our free online guide for step-by-step tips and advice to streamline your downsizing process.