Collecting things is something that has been passed on to us from generation to generation. Our grandparents used to collect plates, chinaware, dolls, and whatnot. While our parents mostly collected pop-culture memorabilia from their time like posters, coca-cola glasses, and signed albums. Then when it came to us, we started collecting trading cards, action figures, comic books, sneakers, caps, and whatnot.
If you’re a collector, it’s important to know how much your collectibles are worth, especially if you have plans on selling them. Who knows, you might be sitting on a goldmine without you knowing!
In this article, we’ll be teaching you how to value your collectibles, so you’ll know how much you can sell them for.
How to value your collectibles
Take note that not everything is valued the same way. There are a variety of factors that would dictate the value of your collection. So these elements we’ll be discussing are the basic ones.
Economics 101 – the lower the supply, the higher the price. This means that if you have rare items at your disposal, chances are they’ll be worth a fortune. It’s because people want to have things that are unique – ownership of rare items makes them feel extra special.
This is one of the main reasons why a lot of manufacturers produce limited edition items. For instance, there’s a Vegeta version (Planet Arlia Vegeta) that was manufactured by Funko exclusively for Toy Tokyo. This makes it a rare piece that is currently selling at $3,500 in StockX. This is almost 200X the price of a normal $15 Funko Pop you can get from a normal store.
Since it’s a rare piece, we can only expect its value to go further up in the next coming years, especially when they stop making Dragon Ball Z manga, or they stop manufacturing Pops for the franchise.
If you have anything rare in your collection, be it a rookie NBA card, a rare Pokemon, or a limited edition toy, you might want to start evaluating the value of that piece.
A collectible’s condition is also one of the key determinants of its price. Unused items that have been stored properly carry a heftier price tag compared to items that have been battered, used, and abused.
This is because collectors prefer to have mint or near mint condition items in their collection since these are nicer to look at compared to those which have dents and scratches.
An exemption to this however are collectibles that have been used or worn by famous people. For example, a mint condition Jordan 1s, won’t be as valuable as a game-worn sneaker by MJ himself. This is because of the story behind the item (more on this later).
Since a collectible’s condition is one of the important factors in determining its value, there are companies that make a living out of evaluating and grading collectibles. These companies put items under a microscope to evaluate every detail of it.
For instance, if you have a trading card, PSA would look at its surface, its corners and sides, its print quality, and its cutting. From these factors, they’ll grade your card from 1 to 10. With 10 being the highest condition and value.
Graded collectibles, especially comic books, and trading cards sell a lot higher than raw ones because there’s a level of assurance that the item is in good condition and is more valuable than others.
If you’re just getting into collecting items, make sure that you take good care of your collectibles. Invest in hard cases where you can store your items to preserve their condition. Ideally, you’d want to keep the original box and tags inside the case as well, as this would further increase the value of your item.
✅ Original Condition/Restorations
As important as it is to have collectibles in excellent condition, restoring them is almost never a good idea because it will depreciate the value of the product, instead of increasing it.
Restorations typically use different materials from the original ones, making them less authentic and less valuable. This is why most die-hard collectors would rather buy damaged or lower quality originals, than restored versions that look good as new.
And for items where restorations are acceptable like most toys, you should bring them to the original manufacturer, or a professional who would use authentic parts. This process would preserve the value of the item while making it good as new.
The only time you should consider having your collector items restored is when you’re certain that you won’t be selling it and you’ll just be keeping it for yourself.
✅ The Story Behind It
Some items are more valuable because of the story behind them. As we’ve mentioned above, game-worn items are more expensive than mint condition items because of the story behind them. And going back to the sneaker store, a sneaker or jersey worn during the finals is much more valuable than one worn during a regular game. So if you have memorabilia like this, it’s important to know the story behind it.
The challenge with stories is that it needs to be verified by trusted sources. That’s why if you’ve been watching Pawn Stars, you’ll know that there are a lot of authenticators who review items that are supposedly historic.
When it comes to valuing collectibles, it sometimes boils down to the trendiness of the item. For instance, if you had a deck of mint condition Pokemon cards, you could sell it today for hundreds of thousands. But if you sold it five to seven years ago, when collecting Pokemon cards wasn’t the trend yet, then you probably could’ve only made a couple of thousand.
The theory of supply and demand explains this well. Since collectibles are already rare on their own, they’ll always have good resale value. However, when the demand for these collectibles spike and the number of sellers don’t increase, then the price of these collectibles increase as well because more people are willing to pay for it.
That’s why it’s also important to know when to hold and when to sell your collectibles.
✅ Perceived Value
Most collectibles are valuable because they’re rare, they’re in mint condition, or they have a really good story behind them. However, some items are much more valuable in the hands of die-hard fans.
This is because die-hard fans use these collectible items as a social currency amongst their peer group. A good example of this is how the signed Stan Lee Gold and Silver Metallic Chrome Edition is selling for $77,000 on eBay. Aside from the fact that it’s rare, with only 10 items in circulation, there’s also a legion of Marvel Fan Boys who would want to get their hands on signed memorabilia of Stan Lee.
What to do next?
Now that you know how to value your collectibles, it’s time to look at your items closely and see which ones have good resale value.
And if you’re new in the collecting game, you know have insights on what to look for when investing in these items, so they can yield good results for you. So good luck with your newfound hobby!