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Investing in Collectibles

Updated on October 18, 2008

Investing in Collectibles

1. Purchase only what you wish to specialize in; if it is something you like, all the better, as it will maintain your high level of interest over the next ten years and decades thereafter.

2. Buy the best you can afford, even if you must accept limited quantities at first. If possible, purchase your collectibles from a dealer who will guarantee your purchase price back in the future if you trade in for a higher quality.

3. Confine your purchases to collectibles in excellent condition. These will always enjoy outstanding resale value. Look for quality— to be a fine buy, it should be in mint condition.

Find out its rarity and its value, as well as its most recent price; verify its date; and determine how many of such items were made.

4. A collectible of any real value should carry a ticket guar­anteeing its origin and, in the case of very fine items, its travels as well.

5. The authenticity of the collectible should be guaranteed against a full cash refund.

6. Read as much literature as you can on the subject.

7. Attend auctions, wander through antique stores, talk to people, and familiarize yourself completely with the area of in­terest before you buy anything. Study your line of collectibles for quality, art form, and all aspects of its category.

8. Buy only from reputable dealers and/or reputable auctions.

9. Hold your collectibles for long periods of time. You must allow time for the mark-up to cover the difference between wholesale and retail prices.

10. Purchase and specialize in collectibles of known and proven work with a history of regular price appreciation.

11. Avoid galleries that operate on a commission "basis. This sit­uation encourages pressure tac­tics by the salesmen in the gallery.

12. Be aware of antique shops with large selections and fancy frames. These angles can lead to overvaluation of the price itself.

13. Undergo a "comparison-shopping" spree before you ac­tually purchase your item. If you are considering a major purchase, call in a professional ap­praiser.

14. Be informed and up to date on all prevailing economic and political trends that will in­fluence the collectibles market.

15. At auctions, try to spot the dealers in the crowd. Generally they bid inconspicuously, but the auctioneer usually knows them. Look for "quick glances" be­tween the auctioneer and his known customer. It may pay to outbid the dealers. They are planning to pay wholesale prices.

16. Regarding sealed bids, bid what you are ready to pay, and don't expect to get the item at a lower price.

17. When bidding from the floor, start high. A high bid can knock competition out of the game before the crowd knows what is happening.

18. Go to the top for advice.

19. Always arrange and investigate trucking arrangements, insurance, storage areas such as bank vaults or safety deposit boxes, storage fees, pick-up terms, burglar alarms, and other security precautions, etc., before buying the actual items.

20. One way to find a shrewd investment is to observe the ac­tions of the wealthy, the sophisti­cated, and those who have demonstrated beyond question their acquisitive abilities.


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    • pauljorg profile image

      pauljorg 8 years ago

      I think the problem with buying collectibles is that their value depends on what other collectors are willing to pay. So simple desire determines the price, rather than any real intrinsic value. With coins for example, you could pay the numismatic (collector's) price for a coin, but if you really need to sell it, unless someone values that coin enough to pay what you paid, you will lose money. Maybe you will only get back what the coin is worth for its metal content.

      But collecting is fun. I have some collectible coins. But they were pretty cheap and I don't expect to sell them as an investment and make a return. I expect a negative return but a lot of enjoyment that makes up for it.