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Bill Loguidice

Is an estate sale a good option for liquidating a large collection?

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I'm at that point again where I want to get rid of a vast majority of my collection and am trying to get really serious about it. Right now it numbers over 500 videogame and computer systems from all eras and locations, countless thousands of software items, and all kinds of accessories, add-ons, and other materials. It takes up a good portion of a very large basement.

 

I'm not looking to get rich, but I am looking to at least get pennies on the dollar rather than give the stuff away. I've contacted a few museums, but they're only interested in portions of the collection and there are other hoops that I'd have to go through that don't really make it worth it.

 

So, outside of piecemeal on eBay for maximum dollars but probably a decade or more of my life, what other options are there? I was thinking about an estate sale place, but don't really know anything about that from first-hand experience. Anyone have any thoughts about that?

 

Thanks for the thoughts in advance.

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You still have to decide piecemeal for max $$$, or 1-buyer-takes-all for less $$$. And that seems to be an issue for you at this moment.

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You still have to decide piecemeal for max $$$, or 1-buyer-takes-all for less $$$. And that seems to be an issue for you at this moment.

 

No, it's not. I literally want to get rid of the whole lot at one time. I'll only do the piecemeal thing if there are truly no other alternatives. Like I said, I know that that will be more lucrative, but I'm fine with pennies on the dollar for convenience/time.

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I'm at that point again where I want to get rid of a vast majority of my collection and am trying to get really serious about it. Right now it numbers over 500 videogame and computer systems from all eras and locations, countless thousands of software items, and all kinds of accessories, add-ons, and other materials. It takes up a good portion of a very large basement.

 

I'm not looking to get rich, but I am looking to at least get pennies on the dollar rather than give the stuff away. I've contacted a few museums, but they're only interested in portions of the collection and there are other hoops that I'd have to go through that don't really make it worth it.

 

So, outside of piecemeal on eBay for maximum dollars but probably a decade or more of my life, what other options are there? I was thinking about an estate sale place, but don't really know anything about that from first-hand experience. Anyone have any thoughts about that?

 

Thanks for the thoughts in advance.

If you mean a physical sale at your home, that's not a great idea unless you literally want everything gone immediately. You are going to limit the audience to probably a few dozen collectors who would be willing to make the trip and frankly, the kinds of collectors who pay big money for items or have the ability and desire to buy larger lots are spread all around the country and world. You could always try to move some larger or more valuable lots here and on Ebay and then see what's left. Certainly stuff that is lower value could be sold in an estate sale without worrying too much about the dollars left on the table. I will tell you that my experience as someone who recently took boxes and boxes of my duplicates to a large collector gathering and sold them intentionally for way below market value hoping that collectors would end up with them is that local resellers and shops will swoop in and try to get things for next to nothing that they will promptly turn around and list for significant profits which can be upsetting to collectors. It certainly was for me when my intention was to help newer collectors. Sadly, it's getting impossible to tell the resellers and shop owners from actual collectors.

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If you mean a physical sale at your home, that's not a great idea unless you literally want everything gone immediately. You are going to limit the audience to probably a few dozen collectors who would be willing to make the trip and frankly, the kinds of collectors who pay big money for items or have the ability and desire to buy larger lots are spread all around the country and world. You could always try to move some larger or more valuable lots here and on Ebay and then see what's left. Certainly stuff that is lower value could be sold in an estate sale without worrying too much about the dollars left on the table. I will tell you that my experience as someone who recently took boxes and boxes of my duplicates to a large collector gathering and sold them intentionally for way below market value hoping that collectors would end up with them is that local resellers and shops will swoop in and try to get things for next to nothing that they will promptly turn around and list for significant profits which can be upsetting to collectors. It certainly was for me when my intention was to help newer collectors. Sadly, it's getting impossible to tell the resellers and shop owners from actual collectors.

 

I'm not talking about something like that, but I understand what you're saying. I'm more talking about an estate sale service or auction house service taking all of my stuff and auctioning it off at their usual location/event. My house would not be involved other than for them to come and take it all away. Post-auction, I would get the proceeds, less fees.

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A 1-800-Got-Junk like service pays you what the items are actually worth. Or that ebay butler thing. A consignment arrangement.

 

Aren't you going to have to photograph everything? At least some overview shots. Not necessarily showing every scratch and wrinkle.

Edited by Keatah

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A 1-800-Got-Junk like service pays you what the items are actually worth. Or that ebay butler thing. A consignment arrangement.

 

Can you elaborate on both those sentences? I'm not really sure what you mean by either service reference (only familiar with the "got junk" service as a haul-away concept and never heard of "eBay Butler").

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I'm not talking about something like that, but I understand what you're saying. I'm more talking about an estate sale service or auction house service taking all of my stuff and auctioning it off at their usual location/event. My house would not be involved other than for them to come and take it all away. Post-auction, I would get the proceeds, less fees.

I understand. I guess when I hear estate sale, I always think of it as a fancy name for a garage sale. It sounds like you're talking about more of a consignment arrangement like with UBid or one of the other online auction companies. UBid had great success with the recent Radio Shack auction with most lots going for way more than most collectors would agree they were worth. At the same time, a consignment company charges 25% or more in fees to the seller and generally a buyer's premium of 10% which may end up reducing what is bid unless you really have some rare or unusual items. Honestly, you might be better off seeing if there is a local collector who will help you with the sale through Ebay or online in exchange for a lesser percentage of the take. Even after Ebay and Paypal fees and paying another 10% to the collector, you'd still be at less than 25% in fees and you would have a worldwide market.

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Can you elaborate on both those sentences? I'm not really sure what you mean by either service reference (only familiar with the "got junk" service as a haul-away concept and never heard of "eBay Butler").

I think he's talking about Ebay Valet. They sell your items in exchange for a hefty commission, but the benefit is that they handle everything (although you did still have to arrange to get the items shipped to them) and send you prepaid labels to get the stuff shipped to them for sale. Their fees are a real killer though on lower priced items:

Item Selling Price You earn >=$500.00 80% $250.00 - $499.99 70% $100.00 - $249.99 60% $50.00 - $99.99 50% $25.00 - $49.99 40% <$25.00 25%
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Yes it was the valet service. I know you can drop the stuff off at a fedex location. That may add (yet more) to the cost.

 

On the other hand, did you think about hiring a local high-school kid to do the grunt repetitive work? And let them share in the profit? This way it's in their interest to do their best. And they might learn some skills at the same time.

 

The wife is hounding me to do that for the Apple material I hadn't touched in nearly a decade.

Edited by Keatah

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eBay Valet is quite interesting. I don't mind excessive fees if the convenience is there for me. Does anyone know in terms of the drop off if I have to bring it already packaged up for shipping, or can just bring it in a bin and they take care of the rest?

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Yes it was the valet service. I know you can drop the stuff off at a fedex location. That may add (yet more) to the cost.

 

On the other hand, did you think about hiring a local high-school kid to do the grunt repetitive work? And let them share in the profit? This way it's in their interest to do their best. And they might learn some skills at the same time.

 

The wife is hounding me to do that for the Apple material I hadn't touched in nearly a decade.

 

Any further elaboration on the "got junk" type services and how that might apply in terms of turning the collection into $$$?

 

I'm not really into the idea of hiring a local kid, at least not at this point.

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eBay Valet is quite interesting. I don't mind excessive fees if the convenience is there for me. Does anyone know in terms of the drop off if I have to bring it already packaged up for shipping, or can just bring it in a bin and they take care of the rest?

 

http://www.fedex.com/us/office/ebay-drop-off.html

https://sellforme.ebay.com/dropOff?_trksid=p2062196.l5852

 

---

 

I vaguely remember a neighbor working with someone from an estate company. They came out and removed the furniture and other items. Put it for local auction and that was that. You'll have to ask a local estate company that sponsors such things. I do not have any direct experience with it.

 

I do know people that have gone the fedex/ebay route and it worked ok. Their personal time was worth more money than the items and cost-to-sell. The little guy selling off a collection to make rent isn't the target for such a service.

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No, it's not. I literally want to get rid of the whole lot at one time. I'll only do the piecemeal thing if there are truly no other alternatives. Like I said, I know that that will be more lucrative, but I'm fine with pennies on the dollar for convenience/time.

 

 

You can just sell the entire lot, then. A few years back, DJPubba was selling his entire collection, and I was the only person who ended up going to his house to cherry-pick what I wanted before someone just brought a U-Haul truck and took it all.

 

You're in New Jersey. What about contacting Joe Santulli and seeing if he wants to take it all to sell in his store? If not him, then in such a population-dense area you should have no problem putting an ad up on Craigslist to get someone to come take it all.

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No, it's not. I literally want to get rid of the whole lot at one time. I'll only do the piecemeal thing if there are truly no other alternatives. Like I said, I know that that will be more lucrative, but I'm fine with pennies on the dollar for convenience/time.

 

I literally just went through this yesterday myself. It wasn't pennies on the dollar but about 65% - 70% of market value but I understand your desire to not have to deal with shipping. I had been wanting to sell about half of my collection for a couple of years but like you dreaded the idea of selling things piecemeal, paying paypal and ebay fees, packing, dealing with shipping and potential broken items in shipping or buyers trying to scam you claiming they're broken, not to mention the time needed to deal with it all.

 

In my case I posted on a facebook group and was lucky enough that someone who lives about 3 hours from me came and got it all in one shot. The feeling of relief was incredible. Good luck Bill.

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I bet there's some outside the box approaches you could try. What about breaking things into sets however large or small you like? Take pics of each lot, add descriptions then post them on a new topic here. Add a little social networking to direct folks here, and set a sale date for 30 days out. You could even offer onsite viewing by appointment if you want. Just watch out for crooks and scams. You just need to spell out the rules for how offers will be accepted on the day of the sale. Highest bidder, make a bid and a written pitch for why you'd be the best home, whatever.

 

The important bit is folks get to see the offerings and consider them before they become available for sale. Then any interested parties have a chance to appreciate the offering and consider throwing their hat in the ring on sale day. You can always liquidate what doesn't sell later. Just make sure everyone knows it's all as-is sales, and they arrange for pickup or delivery. Kinda a poor man's do it yourself Sotheby's auction. At least it gives you a fightin chance at finding serious interested buyers.

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I have Bodnar auctions coming for a collection eval late next week. It sounds quite promising and I know they're a pretty big deal in auctions, so I have some trust there.

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I just agreed to go with Bodnar's. There should be a massive auction of everything some time in April or March of 2018. I'll post about it as things get closer.

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