A recent addition to our signed check collection.
If you collect playing cards, these decks are high quality restorations of the original Murphy Varnish playing cards of 1883 that are very rare and highly sought after.
I just blasted a Buzzfeed article on the value of some 1980s-1990s toys. The writer simply took outlandish eBay Buy It Now prices and somehow conflated it as being the value of the toy. Lazy journalism at it’s finest.
The article brought to mind a recent experience I had in a negotiation for a trade and a story I have about a dealer friend of mine. At a recent collector’s market, I had a customer interested in a plaque that was presented to, and owned by L. Gordon Cooper. It’s a one kind item, so I had it priced at $700, but was willing to work with him for the right trade.
He offered a really nice Woodrow Wilson re-election pinback, which, from recent sales, will go between $275-$375. A few years ago it would have commanded closer to $500-$600, but it looks like a few more became available since then. When this happens, it effectively drives down the value of a collectible. I’ve seen the same thing in the coin market when a previously undiscovered hoard comes to market.
I showed him the recent sales of this pinback and he counters with one recent sale, at $500 and proceeds to insist that this is the correct value. This is all well and good, since it was a negotiation. But still, if I can provide four recent sales clearly showing it sells for no more than $375, I’m already on the losing side of this deal. After some more back and forth, I politely terminate the negotiations.
Even dealers can overvalue items. I have a dealer friend, who always goes to the high end of an object’s value when he does his research. In fact, at times, he will simply find a like item selling online and use the high price without ascertaining past prices. He just says “Well so and so is selling it X. It oughta be worth that”.
You’d think everything he has is gold, going by his pricing. Eventually he sells it at a greatly reduced price or pulls it from inventory. It also hurts his cash flow, because the item would sit for a couple of months, preventing him from buying new inventory.
Whether it’s a dealer overpricing or a collector overvaluing, the ultimate price of something will depend solely on what a buyer is willing to pay. Good research is always your best weapon to prevent from falling into either trap.
We’re looking to buy quality collectibles. Specifically, we’re looking for political pinbacks, old pinbacks in general, Hard Rock Cafe pins, vintage un-open or unused playing cards, space memorabilia, and entertainment memorabilia (screen used props, screen worn costumes, celebrity owned items, autographs – provenance is a must!).
But we’re CollectibleDealers, so we’ll also consider other interesting items you might be looking to sell.
Drop us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org with an image of what you have to offer and what price you’re looking to get and we’ll go from there.
Of course not all sellers on Craigslist fall into this category, but there’s more than a few who are just on the edge of being con artists. Full disclosure; I use Craigslist looking to buy specific items. Right now, I’m looking to buy Hard Rock Cafe pins. So I decided to see what was for sale in the collectibles category.
Someone is selling some Star Wars collectibles. Nothing special, it was just some modern stuff. Giant Pez dispensers, some kind of Millennium Falcon electronic game, and few other pieces, all new in the box. The Pez dispensers look to sell for $18 on eBay and game sells for $25. This seller had the dispensers priced at $18 and the game at $50.
The next seller has an 1895-S Morgan in VG8 in an ICG slab listed at $580, which can normally be bought in the $300-$350 ballpark.
Then there’s the seller offering wildly over priced and badly photographed autographs. Listing, after listing, after listing of badly photographed, over priced autographs.
Finally, I saw a Nixon bronze inauguration medal that sells between $10-$15 was listed by a seller for $40. And it just goes on like this.
Seriously folks, unless you think your customers are just marks, why not get an online or physical store and sell at retail or better. Oh, and take clear photos.
All sellers have the right to ask what they want, but when they do it on Craigslist, at double retail, how much respect for the buyer do they really have?
Sometime ago I found some excellent information on collecting playing cards. While the site still exists, it has some outdated java script running on it and it prompts users to update their java. Rather than sending readers there, I’ve taken most of the information and posted it here. All credit for this should go to: www.dawson-on-playingcards.info
There are a number of clubs supporting the playing card collecting hobby. Two of these are essentially American clubs, albeit with many overseas members; 52+Joker, a club for deck collectors with an emphasis on American cards and The Chicago Playing Card Collectors’ Club which caters to both deck and single card collectors. In Europe there are a number of clubs and England is the home of the International Playing Card Society, a group with members from around the world, whose main emphasis is on education and research into the history and use of playing cards.
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Come see us at Webster Westside Flea Market on Labor Day. This is a HUGE flea market and on Monday it attracts collectors from all over Central Florida and beyond. We’re located in Lavender 22,23, and 24. We have collectible pins, vintage playing cards, political memorabilia, space collectibles, coins, and more.
As always, we would love to see any unique or unusual collectibles you may want sell. If we’re interested, perhaps we can work out a deal.
This is an auction house on out of Ohio that has a LiveAuctioneers feed. I bid on this lot of coins on an impulse, because it had a roll of 1967 Kennedy half dollars, which are 40% silver and with an $50 opening bid, it was a good deal. As I watched the auction, I noticed that despite the low starting prices, most of the other coin lots were going for average auction prices. When this lot came up, my opening bid was the high bid and then came a $55 bid from a competing bidder. So I threw in a $60 bid, expecting to be outbid, at which point I would fold, because I wanted this cheap and had to consider a 20% fee, plus shipping in the equation. But surprisingly I won and the total came to $84.40. If everything is as advertised, I could realize a nice profit from this lot.
The lot I bought was advertised as:
Large US Coin Collection
Large US Coin Collection including 1964-1967 14 total. 1967 uncirculated Kennedy halves, 13 buffalo nickels, roll of 1950’s pennies, roll of wheat pennies, roll of 1950’s nickels, 1954 quarter, and three 1965 quarters.
There were also photos of the coins including the 1967 roll and mark as such on the roll. It appeared to have a strip of blue paper sealed over the heads end of the roll. The tails end was pictured, but not the heads end.
The invoice was received within hours of the close of auction. I paid immediately and the lot was shipped on Monday. Which I have to say is very quick for an auction house. Let’s see what I ended up with.
I opened the roll of Kennedy halves, and to my disappointment, these were 1972D half dollars which are clad and worth far less. Now instead of a profit I was looking at break even, which in this case is a good thing. Oh well, on to the 1950s nickles. In the roll were 26 coins from the 1960s, 10 were from the 1950s, 3 were from the 1940s, and 1 was from 1939.
The Lincoln penny rolls were as advertised and I did end up with 12 40% silver halves, as well as a silver half and silver quarter. The other coins were as pictured in the auction.
Though I was disappointed in the Kennedy roll, I now understood why I got it for seemingly a steal. I’m sure the bidders physically at the auction knew the coins were not as advertised. The under bidder probably knew it too, but the fee to that bidder would have been in 10%-13% range. So why did I take the gamble? The answer is in the last word of my question. Plain old greed made me decide to take a chance. I did a quick risk/reward assessment and felt any loss would be minimal, but that there was a strong upside. Since I had pretty much stumbled on to the auction, there wasn’t much time to vacillate.
I guess I could have called the auction house to complain. After all, the photos were deceiving. But auctions like these always clearly inform buyers that all items are as-is where-is. It is the buyer’s responsibility to check the item, even if he’s 1000 miles away. Some auction houses will take back an inaccurately described item. Still, it wasn’t really worth the bother. Honestly, had I found this a couple of days prior, I would most likely would have bid on it and wound up with the same result.
In the auction game, it’s buyer beware and next time I’ll be a little more cautious.