Monday Musings: “What’s my stuff worth?”

In my days of stalking Reddit, I’d see a LOT of people repeatedly asking how they could find out what their collections of toys or records or comics or video games or whatever are worth, and how they could get “the most money” if they were to sell it.

The answers are pretty obvious if you think about them. The most accurate way to see what anything is worth is to go to eBay (or Mercari or whatever other online auction site you like), look the item up, and make sure the “sold listings” option is checked — there, you can see what each item is ACTUALLY selling for, and you can see if prices have significantly gone up or down over the last several months.

It’s going to take a lot of time, but that’s the BEST way to find out the actual total value of any collection.

If you just want to be rid of everything, I suggest seeing if there are any second-hand toy or collectible shops in your area. NEVER sell collectibles to pawn shops unless you happen to know someone that works at that pawn shop is an expert in the kinds of things you’re selling, because they’ll offer you literally next to nothing for your collection. And, speaking from experience, I would suggest generally only resorting to comic stores as a backup, as most comic stores don’t have the resources to properly fund buying big collections. Their profit margins on new product are VERY thin, so they’re going to do their best to make profits wherever they can.

Selling to a used toy/collectible shop won’t EVER give you the full value of your collection; probably only about a third to half of what everything is worth. This is because they’re a business and can’t operate at a 0% profit. For example, let’s say you sell an item to a shop that is selling for $200 on eBay. The shop will probably offer you less than $100 for that item, not because they’re trying to rip you off, but because they want to stay open. If the shop bought the item for $200, they can’t sell it for MORE than that, because people will just buy it somewhere cheaper. So if they buy the item for $200 and then turn around and sell it for $200, they’ve just wasted their time and made $0. It would actually be more profitable for the shop to NOT take the item, because then they won’t have to DO anything and use the man hours to research, possibly clean, price, and display the item.

Also, just because the shop buys an item, that doesn’t mean it’s going to sell. I’ve personally sold things to some collectible shops and seen them still sitting on their shelves a year later. There’s only so much shelf space, so something that isn’t selling for long enough is going to get discounted, and the shop has to take that possibility into account when purchasing the item.

However, selling to a shop is still going to be the fastest way to move EVERYTHING at once. So if you’re more concerned with getting rid of things than profit, I 100% recommend this. Also, be aware that a lot of stores are also not taking anything in during the pandemic, so that option may not be available right now.

To get the FULL value of your colelction, you’ll have to research and sell each item individually on eBay, which is basically going to be like a full-time job and will require multiple trips to the post office each week, plus investment in packing & shipping materials such as boxes, package stuffing, tape, etc.

Hope these suggestions help! Best of luck!