Friday, February 27, 2009
Collectors selling toys, comics, and more to pay their bills
On the heels of the news that a rare copy of Action Comics #1 is going up for auction, the Indianapolis Star has released a report stating that many comic book, toy, and memorabilia collectors are parting with their collections because they need the money. So, not only are some collectors cutting back on their purchases to make ends meet, some are also having to sell off what they've spent years (and a lot of money) to obtain.
Unfortunately, there's also a problem in that potential buyers are in short demand, because they're having the same types of financial problems. Economists have been saying that it's a "buyer's market" out there -- but that really only works if there are enough people out there with money to spend on these types of items.
I myself cleared out a whole bunch of my comics last summer, primarily in the interest of conserving space. I did get some money for parts of my collection, but not a lot -- and, truth be told, I didn't really expect a lot. It's one thing to say, "Oh, this comic book is worth such-and-such according to the buyer's guide" -- but it's quite another thing to find someone willing to PAY that amount. People want bargains, no matter what's being sold (GOLD being one rare exception). That seems to be another big problem a lot of collectors are experiencing now.
Yet another problem is, the market for comic books and toys is ALWAYS volatile (reprints tend to bring down the value of many originals, for example). Right now, comic books, in particular, are like stock options -- Items that were once worth an impressive sum aren't necessarily worth that anymore.
Based on that, it doesn't really seem worth it to try to sell off a collection in the interest of earning some cash, unless the collector in question is REALLY in dire straits (losing one's home is NOT GOOD), or the collector has something that would truly attract buyers (but, really, just how many of us have copies of Action Comics #1 lying around?). Also, collectors who are renting space to store their treasures may want to seriously consider selling off enough to eliminate the need for that space -- storage rental can soak up a lot of cash from your coffers over the course of a year.
Things will get better, eventually. So, I think the main thing now is to NOT part with the items you truly love (but go ahead and weed out the things you can definitely do without) -- because when the economy DOES get better, you'll have an awfully hard time getting some of those things back.