Want to Start Investing in Collectibles? Tips from Orlando Estate Sale Liquidators
One of the advantages we have over other Orlando estate sale liquidators is experience. I’ve been a collector for over 40 years and an active dealer for over 33 years. Having a long history in the antique and collectibles business is important; it gives you perspective on current trends and allows you to better evaluate the potential longevity of these trends. If you are considering treating collectibles as investments, this is especially important. Not all collectibles stand the test of time, and some ultimately lose nearly all value (such as Hummels).
One trend that is definitely here to stay is grading and authentication services. Companies such as PCGS and NGC for coin grading, CGC for comic books, and many others take the guesswork out of what condition your collectible is in, and verify both that 1) it is authentic and 2) it has not been altered or restored in any way. Better still, these services provide what are called “population reports”, which tell you exactly how rare your item in your specific condition is.
A Once-In-A-Lifetime Experience
Around 1988 my friend Greg White (a fellow comic book dealer) and I were selling our wares at a West Palm Beach show. During the show, a collector and repeat customer of ours, Tony, comes to Greg’s booth and I see Greg go into his briefcase and pull out a special comic that I assumed he brought especially for Tony, as Tony’s area of interest was super high-grade comic books. If you had a key book in a superior grade, Tony would pay up to 150% of the Overstreet price guide value. Greg and Tony spoke briefly and then closed the deal. Then Tony comes over to my booth to show me the book. The comic was Amazing Spider-Man #14 (the first appearance of the Green Goblin, probably the most collectible Spidey issue apart from #1 or his first appearance in Amazing Fantasy #15), and it was perfect! When I say perfect, you have to understand that as a very conservative, old-school comic book collector, that is not a term thrown around lightly, especially for a comic book from the early 1960s.
Later in the show, Greg and I were talking about the comic he has sold, and he somewhat regretted selling it. In my years of knowing Greg and the many keys and high-end books he has sold, he had never expressed regret over a sale. He told me “Chad, I’ll never see a higher-grade copy of #14. I really think that was the highest-grade copy in existence”. I think Greg was right. I just checked the CGC population report for this issue, and sure enough, no 9.9 or 10.0 grades exist. I think Greg briefly owned what may be the only 10.0 in existence!
Tony was a bit of a visionary. Back in the 1980s, the price guide was the price you expected to pay. Nobody paid 150% of the guide prices. Tony had realized that by paying this price for examples that were so extremely high grade, he was getting the rarest, and most investment-grade comic books he could find, and he had a network of dealers scouring the market bringing him these books. These best-in-class examples now bring 10x guide prices or more. We’ve seen coins bring over 100x guide prices when they are the unique highest-grade examples. This specific copy of The Amazing Spider-Man #14 would have made an incredible investment. The same can be said of any extremely high-grade, key comic book from that era.
Investing In Collectibles: Tips from Orlando Estate Sale Liquidators
When it comes to investing in collectibles for the long haul, here are some tips to guide you, based on my 40 years in the field:
- Always buy the best condition examples that your budget will allow for. These will be the rarest in the future. The key to investment grade collectibles is having something super rare, but in a widely collected and common genre of collecting, so there are lots of potential buyers for your rare item.
- Buy key issues or dates: First appearances, rookie cards, key coin dates, rare (but universally accepted) variants.
- Focus on collectibles that can be graded and encapsulated by third-party companies.
- Either buy collectibles that have already been graded and certified or have them certified yourself.
- Stick with the classics if want to be conservative: coins, comic books, baseball cards, records, etc.
- Go with newer, emerging collectible markets (where grading and certification are available) if you want to be more speculative – think cryptocurrency vs. gold. Some examples are VHS tapes, Video Games and Pokémon.
If you’re looking for Orlando estate sale liquidators, contact us today. And make sure and check out my blog next month, where we will look at a specific graded collectible market that is super-hot: vintage sporting event ticket stubs!