A collector is someone that buys for personal enjoyment. They find great satisfaction in seeking out rare and interesting objects across the globe. Finding the rarest poster or print in a series or the last edition of a comic book. Collectors often have wonderful displays of their collections: a room filled to the brim with memorabilia from every James Bond film or a small vault floor to ceiling in ancient coins. Whatever the object, there’s a passion for collecting, cataloging, and searching for the next acquisition. But lately with the rise of the collectibles market across the globe, some collectors are fulfilling more than just a passion. Introducing the breed of the collector-investor.
1. You said you would never sell, then you did
Some die-hard collectors pride themselves on never having sold anything from their collection. Not a single piece, not even a trade. The collector-investor might say the same until an offer comes along they can’t refuse. Then it comes time to part ways with a collectible that may have been the prize of their collection. But after all, the profit from the sale could lead to more purchases in the future. I’ve used this justification many times in the past to convince myself into selling some of the highlights of my collection. It’s always easier when you know what your items are worth and how much you paid for them. A hundred (or even thousand) dollar profit would be hard to turn down!
2. You always read the auction’s “prices realized”
Always keep your finger on the pulse. You’ll know when one auction house might be offering up incredible deals that could possibly be resold at another. You’ll know when one category of collectibles is on the decline and the other is in growth. Keeping track of valuations and current market trends is critical to being a smart collector. Auctions are the best source of realistic valuations because they’re public and indicate a “market value.” Don’t listen to a dealer that told you they were able to sell your exact item for $50,000. That may have been luck — the dealer could have worked for years finding the perfect customer. Doesn’t mean anyone else could do the same.
3. You prepare for an auction weeks in advance
The auction catalog has just come out and you’re furiously calculating your absentee bids. Subtract the buyer’s premium, shipping costs, taxes, inflate a little to show aggressiveness, draw it back a bit for currency fluctuation and bingo you’ve arrived at the perfect bid. Darn, it doesn’t fit into a bid increment. Step down or go higher? Either way, the collector-investor places absentee bids instead of bidding live or over the phone where emotions are at play.
So are you a collector-investor?
If not, I would encourage to at least think about how it could benefit your collecting. But remember, always buy what you like so if one day whatever you collect loses value you’ll be stuck with objects that you enjoy and are valuable to you.