Dedicated collectors rarely anticipate having to sell items from their collection, let alone the entire collection.
Sometimes though, circumstances force a collector to sell. Unfortunately, in the case of Ty collectors, selling
usually means selling at a loss.
In order for a collectible to maintain or increase its value there have to be new or existing collectors competing to own
that item. There are new collectors all the time, but how many of them
have the inclination or the budget
to pay $4,000 for a Chef Robuchon Beanie Baby? That seems a rhetorical question unless you happen to own a Chef Robuchon and
need to raise cash by selling it. All the collectors who can afford one
probably own one already.
On the other side of this equation, if someone decides to start a beanie collection and allocate a budget of $1,200 for
the first year, does it make more sense to buy one or two high-value beanies knowing the value is constantly decreasing;
or instead buy 500 different beanies and come in under budget? Five hundred
beanies is a good start for a collection. With
two beanies that cost $600 each, all you have is looks of pity from your friends
(or spouse) and sleepless nights watching the value of your two beanies
decrease. It's all a matter of practicality.
Here are some recommended ways we've seen (and used) to sell Beanie Babies and other Ty collectibles. Bear in
mind, we're not talking about investing, we're talking about selling items from a collection for the best possible
secondary market price. That means you have to be reasonable, realistic, and prepared (in many cases) to sell items for
less than you paid for them.
- Step number one - make a list of the items you intend to sell. I can't
count the number of times we have been contacted by someone with a Beanie Baby
collection to sell, only to discover they don't even have a good list of their items.
- Check eBay.com to see what price similar items have sold for recently. Look at prices that have been "paid,"
not the asking prices. That is your first reality check. For most first-time sellers it turns out to be more of a reality
"shock." This is the point at which you must decide whether you really want to sell what you have.
It may not be worth your time and effort.
- When you have high-value items to sell, check first with other Ty
collectors. They may not
be interested in your items but they may know someone who is. When we refer to "high value items," we mean any Ty
collectible with an estimated value of $200 or more. Don't attempt to sell high
value items to serious collectors without first
having those items authenticated by a credible beanie authentication service. Serious collectors
tend to pass on high value items that aren't authenticated. There are too
many counterfeit high-value Beanie Babies being sold on secondary markets and in
most cases the sellers themselves don't even know the items are fake.
- Review eBay and other online auction/broker site policies and procedures. Decide whether or not you want to list
your item(s) for sale at those sites. The downside to selling on eBay is that you
have to pay a commission to eBay
when your item sells and then pay another commission to PayPal for handling the transaction. The upside to eBay is that your
items will receive more exposure there than anywhere else.
- Read amazon.com's listing policies to see if that might be a suitable place to list your items for sale. We have
never sold Beanie Babies at amazon.com but we have sold other items there and we like the easy user interface and
simplified procedures. There are more online storefront sites where you might sell your beanies, but we believe your best
chances of success are at eBay and amazon.com.
- Don't forget to advertise your items at social
networking sites like Facebook, where you have memberships. The benefit of listing at social
network sites is that you can offer to accept checks or money orders for payment. That saves you the commission you would
otherwise pay for using PayPal. Don't forget though, if a potential buyer sends you a bad check, your bank will
probably hit you with a stiff service charge and you're not likely to recover
that charge from the buyer who wrote the bad check in the first place.
- If you have an Internet site, set up a separate page at your site advertising the items you have for sale. Make sure
other pages at your site link to your sales page. You may not receive many visitors at a new sales page but it is a convenient
place to which you can refer people who contact you because of social network postings or even your
newspaper ads. It would probably be too expensive to publish photos with ads in your local newspaper, but a text listing is
fine if you can refer callers to a URL where they can see photos of the item(s) you
- Advertise your collection or your high-value items in the local newspaper. In a large city, there's a chance another
beanie collector or one of their friends will see and respond to your ad.
- Many charitable organizations or clubs hold bazaars where sellers can rent table space. This can be an enjoyable way
to spend a day and sell some of your extra beanies.
- You could try selling your low-value items at the next local flea market but if you go that route, don't expect to get
much money for your items. Beanie collectors go to flea markets looking for "deals," and if that's not what
you're offering (beanies for a dollar or less), you'll be wasting your time.
- Reminder - Uncle Sam (if you pay U.S. income taxes) may want a share of the profits you make on beanie rollovers.
Keep good records, just in case. While we're on the subject of Uncle Sam, it might be easier and a lot less complicated
to donate your low-value beanies to a charitable organization like a children's home or
other charity. That way your
excess or unwanted beanies can still return some value as tax deductions while
at the same time providing enjoyment to their new owners.
Caution: when you itemize charitable deductions on your income taxes you can't deduct what the value guides suggest beanies
are worth. You can only deduct "fair market value." Fair market value would be better determined by the price being
paid for those items on eBay. If you're eligible to take a charitable contribution deduction on your federal income
tax return, consider donating your Ty collectibles.