By the Rat Packer
Perhaps the greatest dilemma faced by all collectors, regardless of what they collect whether it be trading cards, toys, stamps, or books, is what to do when your collection grows too large. Space becomes a commodity and unless a collector happens to live in a mansion most of us have to scramble to find a suitable place to store our goods.
At that point if space really does become a problem then its time to cut back on the collecting and either get rid of the inventory or reduce it altogether. But completely getting rid of a collection should only be done if it's an emergency or if you no longer actively collect whatever items you once coveted and even lost interest them altogether. Frankly, it doesn't do anyone any good to keep holding on to things that no longer hold your interest unless you are serious about selling your collection. It helps to do an inventory of what you have and make two piles, one for things you want to keep and one for those that can go.
So if getting rid of the collection or scaling it back is the decision, then what is to be done? There are several options, all with drawbacks, the biggest one being you may not get the full value out of your collection. One thing to remember is to not be a slave to price guides, they are to be used as a general guide and you have to be honest and flexible when it comes to your items. Are they in mint condition? Are they really in demand?
Discerning the demand for something is a gift that takes a lot of savvy. It's best to keep an eye in the industry and fan sites and clubs to see how much demand there is for something you have. Go through online auctions, stores and conventions to get a feel for the demand and if something is being sought as well as by how much professional dealers sell the items. Also be aware that outside events can impact the demand for what you have. Say if a new Star Wars movie comes out then demand will increase for Star Wars item and this will in turn makes your own Star Wars item more valuable. Other things that impact price are time of year, you can expect the holiday season to drive up prices, or if someone becomes famous like a rookie player or sadly if a celebrity dies. This will significantly affect the value of a signed item.
Of course many detest this kind of thinking but others don't have any qualms about profiting under these circumstances. As for myself I side with the first group when it comes to a dead celebrity. I have in my stash a Steve Irwin doll and while the thought came to me that I could've tried selling it after he died I quickly squashed that thought since it seemed so morbid and didn't feel right to me.
One thing to do which is probably the easiest is to just give away your collection to someone who would enjoy it or to a charitable cause, if what's being collected is something that can be used by those less fortunate than yourself. The other way to go is to sell them via a garage or yard sale, to a dealer, on an online auction site like ebay, to other collectors, friends, antique shops and specialty stores or open your own store or booth to sell your items. But unless your dream is to open such a store do not expect to get rich trying to sell your things. Even opening a store isn't a guaranteed way to earn riches, a lot has to do with what you have and how business savvy you are. Needless to say there are many hurdles you have to take in order to open a store like qualifying for a loan, presenting a viable business plan and that's just to start.
Selling your stuff at garage sales limits how much you can earn since only the local populace will drop by, many won't be looking for what it is you're selling and the items can go unsold. You're better off selling it online or at a convention booth/stand only because you have a wider selection of buyers from literally all over and someone will covet what you have. I couldn't believe what I've been able to sell online and these were things I was ready to throw out. Of course, it's not guaranteed that you'll make a lot but you will get rid of your things and make some money out of the transaction. Do not expect to get a lot of money from dealers or stores since they will try to ask for the cheapest price possible and it can be irritating to find that what you sold winds up being marked up significantly later on. But don't be afraid to haggle even if you don't have selling in your blood. It's best to be aware of the demand for what you have to sell.
The most important thing to be able to do is to let go of what you have and for some this can be very hard. This inability to let go can be unhealthy and is a sign that material possessions are overtaking your life. Needless to say, collections take up valuable space and they can make your place look cluttered. And insisting on holding on to your neglected collections does put a strain on relationships if you share your living space with someone else. Really sometimes it is best to just let your collection go.