How would you sell a collection?

I am a collector. I always have been. When I was a boy, my parents gave me one closet in the trailer house to have as my very own. They called it the “rat's nest” because I'd fill it up with all the sorts of things a boy might collect: bugs and twigs and baseball cards and comic books, among other things.

As an adult, I've remained a collector. It's both a joy and curse. I love collecting, but I recognize that it's a drain on my finances and a source of Stuff. (I have a finished post about how to build a collection without breaking the bank, but I've never seen fit to publish it. It seems wrong to encourage this sort of hobby.)

That said, the other side of collecting seems like a great topic for Get Rich Slowly. How do you sell a collection? How do you get rid of it? That's what Jenny wants to know. Here's her question:

I inherited a large collection of Barbie dolls from my grandmother — more than 300 dolls! They're stored at my mother's house about five hours away, but there's a good chance she will be moving in the next year or two and I need to figure out what to do with them. I'll probably end up keeping a few for the memories, but I'd like to sell and put the money towards our savings for a down payment on a house. I just don't even know how to begin to tackling such a project.

Some dolls were originally bought for around $50 and others for only about $10. There are a few that were over $100, but not too many. My grandmother kept copious notes of all these dolls she loved collecting. I'm wondering if you or any of your readers might have some suggestions for how to go about trying to get these dolls appraised and sold? Thanks for any help you can offer!

Selling a collection can be tricky. Collections are rarely worth as much as the owner believes.

Several times a year, a GRS reader will e-mail me for advice on selling his comic book collection. (I'm using “his” here instead of something gender-neutral because these messages are always from men.) “What's the best way to get top dollar for my collection?” folks want to know. What follows is my advice for selling comics; I suspect much of it is applicable to selling other collectibles. (And I warned Jenny in advance that my advice would be comic-centric.)

General Advice for Selling a Collection

First, it's important to realize that price guides are mostly meaningless. I've never understood where these prices come from. All that matters is what somebody is willing to pay for your collectible. Don't latch onto prices in books. That's a sure path to heartbreak.

Second, the market is saturated with comic books from the past twenty years. They're worth almost nothing. Obviously there are exceptions, but in general, your “Death of Superman” issue is only going to fetch a buck or two. It's basic supply and demand. There's a huge supply and no demand. The only comics that are worth anything are those for which there's a large demand but a small supply. That usually means older material — especially from the 1960s and 1970s.

The same holds true for other collectibles. Your copy of Fleetwood Mac's “Rumors” on vinyl isn't worth much because there were a gazillion albums sold. It's very common. But your early U2 singles might fetch a pretty penny.

Third, condition matters. Your Star Wars figures aren't worth much if they're beat up and used; to fetch top dollar, they have to be “mint in box”. In the world of comics, “near mint” means “almost without flaw”. Most “near mint” comics I see for sale are actually just average copies — probably “very good”. A comic that sells for $10 in “near mint” condition might sell for $2 or $3 in “very good” condition.

Fourth, everyone wants three things when selling a collection:

  1. They want to do it quickly.
  2. They want to do it with little effort.
  3. They want to get top dollar.

Well, you can only have two of those things. (And often you can only have one.) If you want to sell quickly and without effort, you're not going to get much money. If you want to sell quickly and get top dollar, it's going to take immense effort. If you want to get top dollar with minimal effort, it's going to take you forever.

If you want to get top dollar, you're going to have to “piece out” the collection. That is, you're going to have to sell each comic book separately. If you have copies of Green Lantern #1, #2, and #4 in Good condition, you might get $500 for the lot. But if you sold them separately, you could probably get $750. It's just going to take more time and effort to do this.

If you want to sell quickly, then sell the entire collection at once. You'll get much less money this way, but the process will be easier and quicker.

Finally, note that it's completely irrelevant how much was originally paid for a collection (or any individual piece of it). This is an example of sunk costs. Whether Jenny's grandmother paid $10 or $100 for a particular doll, all that matters is how much the doll will sell for now. It's best to ignore sunk costs when selling a collection. Focus on what someone will pay, not what was paid in the past.

Selling Barbie

With that general advice out of the way, I have a few thoughts about Jenny's specific circumstances. (But only a few.)

I do think it make sense to get an appraisal on a collection this large. Unfortunately, outside of Antiques Roadshow, I don't know how this is done. If I were in her position, I'd ask around to friends and family to see if anyone knew about antiques. They might be able to provide some sort of lead to an appraiser.

Really, though, I'm not sure an appraisal matters all that much. From my (limited) experience, appraisal values are often high. They're for insurance purposes, right? So, they tend to come in high. If Jenny wants to sell these dolls, the appraisal values are irrelevant. What matters is what other collectors will pay for them.

To that end, her best bet it to simply sell the dolls in the open market. There are many ways to do this, but I think the best way to maximize her profit is to use eBay (or a similar service). eBay puts the items at auction so that others are competing to buy them, which generally results in the best price.

If she's looking to get the money quickly, she should sell the dolls as entire collection. By doing so, though, she won't get as much as she could. On the other hand, Jenny could maximize her income by selling each doll individually. This takes a lot more work, but pays off in the long run.

Another option is to pay somebody else to conduct the auction. There are all sorts of eBay stores that will sell the dolls individually (or in small lots), thus earning as much as possible. The downside? They take a substantial piece of the action.

That's a lot of typing for very little actionable advice. It's mostly theory. But surely some of you have sold a collection — or know somebody who has. What about it? If you had a collection of 300+ Barbie dolls, how would you sell them? Where would you go to get them appraised? How would you get the most money for them? What advice can you offer Jenny?

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jennypenny
jennypenny
8 years ago

You should try and generate some buzz first to help with an eventual sale. Get a local paper to do a human interest story on your inheritance and feature the dolls. Then try and get bigger outlets to pick up the story. Contact museums that feature barbie and get their opinions. You might find that you get some offers before you are even ready to sell. Word of mouth can be very helpful in this kind of niche market.

lisa
lisa
8 years ago
Reply to  jennypenny

I wouldn’t want them featured in the paper , unless unless you want robbed. People will break in to steal somethingthat will get them $10 now.

E. Murphy
E. Murphy
8 years ago
Reply to  jennypenny

I have no expertise in this matter, but I’m not sure how generating local interest will help her in an international auction (ebay.)

She might get someone to buy it locally but would that be the best price?

Although if she just wants it done quickly, that might help.

Annemarie
Annemarie
8 years ago
Reply to  jennypenny

This can be a great idea. Barbies don’t turn a quick profit for your average thief, but it would be really, really interesting to a features editor.

SWJenn
SWJenn
8 years ago
Reply to  jennypenny

Actually, there are very avid Barbie collectors and clubs – I’d do some google searching and make contact there. Find out if they have bulletin boards or social network groups you could advertise the sale in – especially if you’d rather sell them all at once. That’s where your ‘supercollectors’ are going to be.

kim
kim
8 years ago

I found a collection of Barbies at a garage sale a couple of years ago, purchased them for $5 or less each and sold most of them on ebay for a significant profit. I still have some left that wouldn’t sell. I’m not a collector at all, but the Barbies I bought I had played with as a child and knew some of their value, and their accessories were complete, which is a big deal. My experience was that the Barbies from the 70’s and 80’s sold with the highest profit, and the Barbies I had from the late 80’s… Read more »

saletia wilford
saletia wilford
8 years ago
Reply to  kim

I like your idea and I have alot of barbies that i need to sell and this works out good for me. But can we get more money for the barbies?. And were can I get a good deal other than ebay?. Because my grandmother give me a barbie and it does not move it’s just there and i think it could be alot of money.

saletia wilford
saletia wilford
8 years ago

This a good blog I learned alot of things from this blog.I read the book why smart people make big money mistakes and how to correct them. This is a good book to read and I would like anybody I know to read this.And i have alot of barbies to sell myself so thanks for the help.

SB @ One Cent At A Time
SB @ One Cent At A Time
8 years ago

If you are not looking for a hefty profit out of those, why not donate to an autism center or schools for children with special needs? Sometimes money can’t buy you that happiness that you’ll get seeing these kids playing with the dolls.

Even if you can’t donate the full collection I would say, sell individually on eBay and the items didn’t sell, donate to charity. Keep one with you as a loving memory.

Annemarie
Annemarie
8 years ago

A toy museum might be interested too.

Rosa
Rosa
8 years ago

Older barbies are going to make a collector a lot happier than a kid – they are hard to dress compared to newer dolls, and the plastic gets fragile with age.

Jane
Jane
8 years ago

I agree with Rosa here, but I still think the sentiment is a nice one. You could conversely take part of the profits and buy some new barbies to donate.

Jeff
Jeff
8 years ago

If you know the specifics of each Barbie research them on eBay. Don’t look at what people are asking for them look for what people are actually paying and this should give you a rough guide at what they are worth.

To do that make sure you click the completed listings box when you do your search and sold items will show up with a green price. With something as popular as Barbie there should be plenty of information on eBay to get an estimate on the value of your collection.

Alison
Alison
8 years ago

Doll collecting is a huge hobby worldwide. Find some doll collecting clubs near your home or the dolls’ home and start meeting the folks who are looking to buy.

Amber
Amber
8 years ago

Can we consider Grandma’s feelings here for one minute? Did she really bequeth these dolls to you so you can turn right around and sell them, or did she give them to you as a gift of her treasures? I recognize that 300 in-box dolls is overwhelming and a space concern, but tread lightly with her feelings regarding the dolls and the gift. Sounds like she is still very much with us, and she may not be on board with your decision.

victoria
victoria
8 years ago
Reply to  Amber

I didn’t get the sense that Grandma was still alive — I interpreted that to say that she had inherited when Grandma died and the mother (who’s currently holding the dolls) wants to move to a smaller place. If she is alive I totally agree with you; finding a safe storage place might be worthwhile.

LauraElle
LauraElle
8 years ago
Reply to  Amber

Really? I got the impression Grandma had passed away and her collection is languishing at Mom’s.

getagrip
getagrip
8 years ago
Reply to  Amber

As mentioned above, she’s gone. I think keeping a few of them as memotos is much better way of being remembered than feeling like you’re grandparent stuck with 300 pieces of burdensome stuff whenever you look at them. What if they were bottlecaps, or spoons, or thimbles, or beer cans? Maybe if I gave a collection to one of my future grandkids I *would* be most happy if they kept them all and enjoyed them as I did. But I’d rather they kept a few, sold the rest and got some money for their future, and thought kindly of me… Read more »

Amber
Amber
8 years ago
Reply to  getagrip

OK I misread the post thinking these were sitting at Grandma’s house still but she gave them away because she had to move in the next year or two. Since they are at Mom’s I agree it is OK to figure out how to unburden the collection.

tjdebtfree
tjdebtfree
8 years ago
Reply to  getagrip

“I think keeping a few of them as memotos is much better way of being remembered than feeling like you’re grandparent stuck with 300 pieces of burdensome stuff whenever you look at them. What if they were bottlecaps, or spoons, or thimbles, or beer cans? ? getagrip // so laughing OUT LOUD right now! I inherited said spoons, thimbles, teacups, brass figurines, and creepy China/porcelain dolls – I hate dolls – I told my grandmother when she was alive that I didn’t want them – she didn’t care – she was a hoarder and this was one of her many… Read more »

Jenny
Jenny
8 years ago
Reply to  Amber

This is a good point and yes, Grandma is still very alive. I took possession of these Barbies about 9 years ago and because I had an easy/safe place to store them at Mom’s house, I specifically wanted to wait to make a decision of what to do with them so that Grandma would know I valued them. If I had unlimited space in my home, there’s a good chance I would hang onto them much longer. But, at this point, I need to figure out a plan as they are very space consuming(all are still in their original boxes)… Read more »

29 and holding
29 and holding
8 years ago
Reply to  Jenny

My now-reformed-Barbie-collecting friend managed to find a local auctioneer that holds a toy auction a couple of times a year. eBay is a great option, but it was too time-consuming for her. The key was she had to let go emotionally, and be happy with the money she got out of it. She was pretty happy with the results, and used the money as a down payment on a much needed new car.

AC
AC
8 years ago
Reply to  Jenny

You should atleast ask her if this is okay and agree on 10% of the profit for your time. If she refuses any money send her a very nice gift with some of the money on Christmas.

thedollladyofsandiego
thedollladyofsandiego
6 years ago
Reply to  Jenny

you mentioned “My grandmother kept copious notes of all these dolls she loved collecting.” and since Grandmother is still alive, why don’t you find out from her which ones were her favorites and why? Perhaps that will have an impact on your decisions. Possibly even consider keeping just a few. Being collector myself, I have some dolls in my collection that I just normally gravitate to and cherish more. As a doll collector, whom ever is going to get the doll, the most important thing, is that we want the the dolls to be loved and appreciated as much as… Read more »

CandiR
CandiR
8 years ago

First, if space and money are an issue, photograph the entire collection and keep a couple of very favorite pieces. 300 dolls, with boxes, and accessories is an awful lot of stuff. Unless you L O V E them (And I mean LOVE), then you should feel free to do with them what you will. Local to me, there’s a place called Wex Rex in Framingham MA, they’ve been on antiques roadshow (although I didn’t have luck finding a web site), and they might be a resource in finding appraisers local to you. If Grandma had indeed kept good notes,… Read more »

CandiR
CandiR
8 years ago
Reply to  CandiR

oops, that’s Rex Wex, not Wex Rex–my bad

Rex Wex Collectibles Records
1650 Concord Street, Framingham, MA 01701

Nick
Nick
8 years ago

Whenever you sell something large and/or expensive, you want to open up a market to as many potential buyers as possible. This creates a large pool of buyers and (hopefully) brings in the highest qualified buyer. This is why people list their homes on the MLS, take out an ad in the newspaper, and hold open houses. In modern times, the best thing for a seller is to get that buzz online. This post will be seen by thousands of readers and I’d be willing to bet that there are plenty of folks interested in buying a barbie collection, or… Read more »

Ru
Ru
8 years ago
Reply to  Nick

Online buzz is very important. A good way to generate it would be to shoot videos of the dolls on Youtube, say 1 video for each era of doll, tag them extensively and link them to blog posts and posts on doll message boards. You want to create an online web that links back to the dolls and your plan to sell them. I feel for you though- now is not a good time to be selling a collection! A lot of people are in financial trouble or are moving to smaller homes to save money, so there are less… Read more »

Frugal Barb
Frugal Barb
8 years ago

I’m not so sure grandma’s still “with” the OP. “Inherited” generally implies death of the original owner. If that weren’t the case, I’m sure she would have asked grandma already.

And, on Barbie’s… Unless these are all very old dolls, I too worry that they may not have too much value, especially if they were collected later. The newer dolls can be found sold in bulk bags of 10 at the local Goodwill Thrift stores. yeah, they’re usually without clothes or accessories, but they’re totally disposable.

ccherry
ccherry
8 years ago

If someone came to my small museum with this situation here is the direction I would send her. Go to the source, or at least the highest density of Barbie people http://www.barbieconvention.com/ Want an honest appraisal of this or any collection or single item for insurance, sales or another purpose and don’t know where to turn? American society of appraisers can help you find someone that can assist you with almost any topic you can think of http://www.appraisers.org/ASAHome.aspx Many communities have a doll/toy museum. These professionals know the major collector groups in the areas they interpret and can usually let… Read more »

Laura
Laura
8 years ago
Reply to  ccherry

ccherry’s advice is sound – if your collection is specialized (e.g., Barbies), go where the fan base is because that’s who is most likely to pay the best. E-Bay is where dealers pick up collectibles for a low price to sell to collectors, so I would use it as a second resort. For something more generalized (e.g., a comics collection that doesn’t have stand-out pieces, a generic assortment of dolls, etc.), someone in another GRS thread (sorry, forget which one) suggested renting a flea market space and spending a weekend or two selling directly – I haven’t tried this but… Read more »

Ren
Ren
8 years ago

J.D. I’d love to see your article on builing a collection without breaking the bank. Even though my wife and I are living quite financially resposible I still collect vinyl. I always find it fascinating hearing another collectors experience.

Shelley C
Shelley C
8 years ago

Contact Antiques Roadshow and ask them for referrals for appraisers of dolls. We did that to find an appraiser for an unusual item we had.

partgypsy
partgypsy
8 years ago

My mother had a valuable coin to sell. The coin dealer she went to gave offered her 2K which she knew was low but she found out about a coin show going on that weekend. She went there the last day. First person she showed it to told her he didn’t deal with that level, but to go to so and so. She went there, and he paid her 35K (cashiers check) for the coin because he had a buyer looking for that coin. But the dealer was very honest and told her the best way to get top dollar… Read more »

cc
cc
8 years ago
Reply to  partgypsy

on the flip side, i just sold some gold coins for my husband (at his request, lol). i took them to a reputable coin dealer and they paid 90% of the listed values i found online. couldn’t be happier with the transaction.

partgypsy
partgypsy
8 years ago

I also agree. It’s not worth it to have them appraised. It costs money and you may be sitting on dolls just because they appraised for so and so but no one is willing to pay that price. I like the idea of the barbie convention and also ebay.

NewGrayMare
NewGrayMare
8 years ago

I sell My Little Ponies online. My personal collection is around 300 strong; but, there are another 500 laying around, waiting to be sold. I have been selling these online for the past decade. I would sell Barbies the same way I sell ponies. All of these tips are geared at getting the highest profit. They’re time and labor intensive, but you’ll make the most. 1) Find an ID site. Just do a google search for Barbie ID and the general year of the doll if she’s not MIB and readily identifiable. 2) Search completed auctions on eBay for that… Read more »

KDH
KDH
8 years ago
Reply to  NewGrayMare

I’m also a serious toy collector (Breyer horses) and agree with a lot of this advice. Making contact with the specific collecting community is going to be very helpful–similar situations happen regularly with model horses and experienced collectors are very happy to help with identification, values, and selling recommendations. Another thing to consider is seeing if any Barbie collectors would be interested in selling your collection on consignment. Then you can be confident that each piece is being correctly identified and sold in the best manner but it really decreases the work you have to do. I’m going to guess… Read more »

Tanya
Tanya
8 years ago

I’ll tell you how NOT to sell them. I inherited a collection of kewpie dolls from my grandmother. I had no interest in keeping them. I sold one to a friend, and put the rest on consignment at another friend’s booth at a local antiques/thrift store. The store moved and, in all the chaos, I never got paid for the dolls that were sold. It wasn’t a huge amount of money that I would have made but still, the point was to sell them and get SOME compensation. Actually, twice I have put things on consignment with local antique stores… Read more »

Barbara
Barbara
8 years ago

There are different kind of appraisals, each of which gives a different value. Which kind of appraisal you need depends on the purpose. The 3 appraisal types that I know of are:
Insurance Replacement Appraisal
Fair Market Appraisal
Tax Donation Appraisal

babysteps
babysteps
8 years ago
Reply to  Barbara

There may even be a fourth type – we had some jewelry appraised at “estate value” – basically, what would a wholesaler or jeweler pay for the piece if they were going to turn around and sell if for “fair market value”. “estate value” seemed similar to “wholesale value” as far as I could tell.

For many items with liquid markets, seems like the eBay sale price would be somewhere between “wholesale” and “fair market” (retail) value – the bigger the demand, the closer to “fair market” you would expect to get.

Evangeline
Evangeline
8 years ago

Something is only worth what people are willing to pay. A simple internet search or trip to the library may be just the thing to help you determine how much something is worth. This is important because even the nicest buyer will try to lowball what they are willing to pay you. A very distinguished gentleman offered me $425 for 80 half-dollars. I respectfully declined, did a little homework and sold them for well over $2,000. Take your time and your homework.

CNM
CNM
8 years ago

My grandmother is an avid doll collector. She frequents doll shows, which are usually at area convention centers. Doll collectors display and sell dolls and doll accessories there. You might be able to rent a booth for your Barbies and sell them directly to other doll lovers. Check your local listings and doll collecting clubs.

Tyler Karaszewski
Tyler Karaszewski
8 years ago

“I’m using ‘his’ here instead of something gender-neutral”

Funny that you point this out explicitly here when normally you just use ‘her’ as if it were gender-neutral.

J.D. Roth
J.D. Roth
8 years ago

Sometimes you’re not as perceptive as you think you are, Tyler. 🙂

I alternate between “his” and “her”. I try not to use one more than the other. I do agree that it’s odd that I pointed it out in this case (not sure why I did, or why I left it in though multiple edits) but normally, I try to use a random gender…

NooraK
NooraK
8 years ago
Reply to  J.D. Roth

Well, if we want to get technical “he” is the grammatically correct form to use when gender is unknowns.

El Nerdo
El Nerdo
8 years ago
Reply to  NooraK

@ Noorak: “he” was perfectly acceptable until society changed and made it unacceptable; I use “they”

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Singular_they

@JD – Ha ha, you trickster, in Spanish the gender of the possessive is determined by the object, not the person– suya, suyo, mía, mío, etc. But yeah “su” happens to be gender neutral, “nuestro/nuestra” isn’t. Don’t worry too much about the grammar, it will give you a headache though. But if you like to suffer, check this (you will suffer, guaranteed): http://eljuego.free.fr/Fichas_gramatica/FG_posesivos.htm#22

And I thought you’d be on a plane by now? When are you traveling?

Tyler Karaszewski
Tyler Karaszewski
8 years ago
Reply to  J.D. Roth

If you wish:
s/normally/frequently/

J.D. Roth
J.D. Roth
8 years ago

If I were writing in Spanish, I could just use “su” and be done with it!

Tyler Karaszewski
Tyler Karaszewski
8 years ago

crecericolentamente.com is available (it is probably not a very good translation though).

Becka
Becka
8 years ago
Reply to  J.D. Roth

I want to hug you for this comment, JD, particularly the first part of it. 🙂

lisa
lisa
8 years ago

here is another online site to check out:
http://www.worthpoint.com/worthopedia/vintage-ruggles-honey-bee-jar-w-spoon

Check out some online barbie sites & are any in boxes yet or havethere original boxes? They sell lots higher. I read about a Barbie being sold for $2,000 , but can’t remember the site. i think it was some of very first years doll.

http://search.freecause.com/search?ourmark=4&fr=freecause&ei=utf-8&type=62133&p=how+much+are+barbies+worth%3F

some from even 1996 collectors editions are worth $70 & were originally $10.Check google searches

Clara
Clara
8 years ago

You should watch Cash & Cari on HGTV – similar to antiques roadshow, she prices collections for re-sale and gives a lot of tips. However, she goes further and often sells things on consignment or holds estate sales. It seems like she could be helpful, especially if you are in the midwest. Her site is http://repurposeshop.cashandcari.com/.

Katy+@+The+Non-Consumer+Advocate
[email protected]+The+Non-Consumer+Advocate
8 years ago

To know how much things are selling for on eBay, do a “Completed Listings” search, which is under “Advanced Search.” It will tell you precisely how much your item has recently sold for.

Don’t over think how to do this, just get going. List them a few at a time at first to learn how to sell, and you might surprise yourself with how fun it is to watch your listings getting bid on.

Good luck!

Katy Wolk-Stanley
“Use it up, wear it out, make it do or do without”

kgiax
kgiax
8 years ago

I’d be pretty interested in reading JD’s unpublished article as well. I’ve been working on a classic video game collection myself (currently getting NES and GameBoy games), and I like to think I’ve been doing so reasonably and responsibly. If I were tolerant to writing at all, I’d probably put what I’ve learned into an article or something myself.

El Nerdo
El Nerdo
8 years ago

I lack the fetishist gene. 🙁

happygal
happygal
8 years ago

Since you have such a large collection of MIB dolls, you may want to contact one of the large auction houses, such as Christie’s or Sotheby’s for advice. You may be able to photograph some of the dolls and the papers your grandmother left and send them to the appropriate person at these houses without having to go there. I had them appraise an item that was a gift to my husband several years ago. They may have a doll collector among their clients. As other posters have mentioned, I would suggest you keep a few favorites. Take pictures of… Read more »

Marsha
Marsha
8 years ago

JD, I’d love to read your unpublished article on collecting without breaking the bank. Maybe publish it with a disclaimer that collecting is not generally a frugal activity? I think collecting is a genetic characteristic that you’re either born with or not. If I let it, my collecting tendency would overwhelm me. I only let myself collect one type of item at a time (or even a sub-type if it’s a large category), I have a strict upper limit on how much I will spend, and once a collection reaches its predetermined size, I institute a one-in-one-out rule. I’d love… Read more »

Amy
Amy
8 years ago

J.D. – I, too, would be interested to read your collecting article. Collecting does bring some people joy, and I doubt people are going to stop collecting altogether if you never post your article out of fear that it will encourage it. As for selling a collection – recently my parents asked me to sell an old china set for them. I would imagine the process is similar. This is what I did: – Research the items. Take photographs of each item, note its condition, and look up any official information you can find about it. – Get a quote… Read more »

Randy
Randy
8 years ago

Put them on E-harmony, and see if they get matched up with 300 Kens?

El Nerdo
El Nerdo
8 years ago
Reply to  Randy

teh win

Jeff - Digital Nomad Journey
Jeff - Digital Nomad Journey
8 years ago

Absolutely I’d sell a collection. Though not worth as much potentially as your Barbie doll collection, I’ve sold comics, garbage pail kids, etc.

And of course, there is always eBay…..

Vinlandi
Vinlandi
8 years ago

I’d wait until the economy recovers and people are spendthrift again.

AnnW
AnnW
8 years ago

I would contact Adamstown Auction in Pennsylvania. He deals in collectible toys and runs top notch auctions. You could also advertise in the most well known antiques newspapers. The original boxes are key to the price of these Barbies. Good luck. Ann

Jaime
Jaime
8 years ago

Why not just donate them? If you’re not going to get top dollar for them, why not donate them to a charity or to several charities if they won’t take all the dolls at once.

You’ll get a tax write off that way. You could try Goodwill, Salvation Army, and any children charities.

Amanda
Amanda
8 years ago

Try something other than eBay. Rarely get top dollar there.

Shawn G
Shawn G
8 years ago

I had a friend inherit a model train collection. After doing research on various forums, she sold them individually on ebay and made a substantial amount of money.

Amanda
Amanda
8 years ago

My best advice is to take your time. Research each one thoroughly, collect its paperwork in a separate folder (assuming your grandmother did not keep her records perfectly), and immerse yourself in the Barbie collectors’ world for a time to find out a) who is buying and b) who is selling. Most of them you will probably be able to price and sell effectively on eBay or another such site. If there are any truly exceptional ones in the lot, I would suggest going a little further and finding a reputable dealer who will consign them for you – perhaps… Read more »

Leslie Lawson
Leslie Lawson
8 years ago

The Doll Museum in Bellevue, Washington might be able to give some suggestions. Website here: http://www.dollart.com/

Laurie M
Laurie M
8 years ago

The Children’s Museum in Indianapolis just had a Barbie exhibit since Barbie (as I imagine you know already) just turned 50. There are events taking place worldwide. You might find useful info at http://www.barbiecollector.com and barbiestyle.barbie.com. Good luck!

DeeBee
DeeBee
8 years ago

I would recommend Happily Ever After in Philadelphia. They sell vintage dolls and collectibles. The owner, Ed, is very nice.

http://www.happily.com/

I do not know if they purchase collections or not, but they could probably advise you how to proceed.

Good luck.

DeeBee

Carl+Creasman
Carl+Creasman
8 years ago

Excellent advice and concepts. I agree completely and it matches my personal experience. At one time (early 2000s), I had a 90% complete collection of Sports Illustrated magazines from the mid-1960s till 2000s. My parents got an “appraisal” that was very unrealistic. When I made initial attempts to sell them, I found I could only get very small amounts per issue, as a group. I soon realized that people will pay for what they are passionate about, so I went through the entire set and re-organized them by themes or people. All of the “Ali” covers were together; all of… Read more »

G. M. N.
G. M. N.
8 years ago

Thanks to everyone for your comments. I have marked several options to check into. I have a very large Star Trek collection (dolls & books) and there is no interest in them in Mid-Missouri.

I used a consignment auction that sold online and got a fairly good deal on all my husband’s toy tractors & farm equipment. They do not do Star Trek but advised me to go to some conventions to see what they go for.

When selling, the better your knowledge, the better the sale. Of course, that is also true when buying, ain’t it????

Roxanne
Roxanne
8 years ago

Hi

Sorry, I sent a reply e-mail, but have now found the comment section.

No I do not have a collection or any experience, but sometimes the manufacturer could buy the product back or has information that might be useful.

Jenny should find out from Barbie (or whoever makes them) what they would pay to buy-back the doll (s) (if they do that) and keep this information as a guide.

It is possible that there are Barbie clubs and conventions and this might also lead to more income for the items individually or the collection.

Just an idea

Jan
Jan
8 years ago

I am a daughter of a collecter. I would suggest that even though it’s difficult to store all of the dolls that you save them for your(future)children. I did this with some of my mom’s “collections.” My daughter adores the collections because they were grandma’s. Perhaps determine a manageable number of them to keep and donate the rest to Goodwill. They’ll probably put them on an auction.

Shari
Shari
8 years ago

I have sold a very large collection of model horses (700+ of them) so I do have some experience with selling collections. You could probably find a value guide for Barbies–they exist for just about anything. That would give you an approximate value for them (although sometimes these prices are a bit inflated). I know I got LOTS more for my collection by selling it in pieces than I would have by selling it as a whole. I used ebay and a site called the Model Horse Sales Pages, which is strictly for model horse sales. Perhaps something like that… Read more »

Rita
Rita
8 years ago

I collect books and my husband has a very impressive vinyl record collection. You definitely need to sell the collection in pieces or in small lots in order to maximize your profit. This takes more time, but is well worth it. Maybe it would be beneficial to open a separate savings account and have all sale proceeds go into that account? You can sell the items on ebay individually or in small lots, but there may be other sites out there that allow you to list your collectibles for sale. For instance, I have purchased some of my collectible books… Read more »

almost there
almost there
8 years ago
Reply to  Rita

My father recently passed away and I am trying to sell his jazz record collection for my mom on ebay. Listing for 2 bucks a record and I have spent more money than I have earned as most do not sell. 12 years ago when I joined ebay I wanted to sell them but he didn’t want to even though he hadn’t listened to them for decades. A buyer told me that he liked the 1955 near mint record he paid two dollars for but I find that people interested in old technology like records are dying off.

rachael
rachael
6 years ago

Google appraisers in your vacinity

Jacquie
Jacquie
6 years ago

I have an extremely large collection of Barbie and Family doll clothing. I have one Flock haired Ken, one Midge (the American Girl Midge), two Skippers, one Tutti, two Francies, and five Barbies. I have the original dream house and the Austin Healey sports car. Anyway, I have very few things left from my childhood, so most of it has been acquired from Ebay. I have some of the nicest/rarest outfits in my collection and I know that I have spent a small fortune, however, I have not calculated a value. The best way to sell a collection of this… Read more »

Debra
Debra
5 years ago

I just inherited 1200 dolls!!! Aaaahhhhh!!!! Thanks so much for this blog. I am reading EVERY post!

Donna
Donna
5 years ago

I am looking for a collector or auction house in Oregon. I have lots of porcelain, barbies and antique dolls to sell. All brand new in there box. Any advise. Thanks

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