Selling Your Collection – Let’s Get Started

comic-books-collection Read an article by a comic book collector who decided to sell his 10,000 comic book collection as a way to reduce his level of clutter after he lost the urge to collect. While you may not be at this stage with your collection there are a number of parallels to selling a Scout Memorabilia collection. I’m going to spend several posts going over various points raised by the article and my thoughts on them.

What’s it worth?That’s the big question. The short answer is what a buyer is willing to pay. There is a difference between Cost, the worth or market value and the utility of price guides.


If you have kept good records, you may know what you spent for every item in your collection. If you have been collecting for years (or decades), this number can grow from the hundreds to thousands to tens of thousands of dollars. Spending $ 100 per month for 10 years will mean you have paid over $10,000 building that collection, in 20 years its nearly $ 25 K even without any price appreciation. That’s your cost.

Actually it is your sunk cost. In economics, a sunk cost is a retrospective cost that has already been incurred and cannot be recovered. What you paid does not necessarily equate to the current value or worth of your items.

Now you can value your collection at your cost, you can research and try to determine what the items are currently selling for, or you can find a price guide and perhaps see what your items sold for at some point in time.

In the OA world, you can view sales data at OA Images. John Pannell describes the service

An online price guide is now the newest feature added to this site. Currently, the price guide contains 338,027 records of compiled real sales data and additional statistics to help gauge a patch’s current “market value”.

Unfortunately the sales data is pretty stale.

There is also a new service Patch Trends, which describes itself as:

Catering strictly to the Boy Scout category of eBay this powerful program captures all completed sales listings (including images!) in an off-site database. Subscribers to this new service can then type in any search term and pull up all results that match the query. The database already has results from 500,000 listings and is growing every day.

The data seems to go back to the beginning of 2013, so it is current and the pictures allow you to see if condition played a part in the price realized. It is also not restricted to OA issues.

You can also check printed price guides. The first thing to realize about Price Guides is that they are point in time snapshots and without understanding the data sources may be of minimal value.

  • Are the prices from 2007-2008 or more current? The market is probably lower on most items since than.
  • Are they actual sale prices realized or are they matrix pricing? Not all 50 items issued patches are the same value?
  • What is the condition of the samples compared to yours?
  •  Was there a small group of well heeled collectors that were seeking certain items/lodges during the time when the guide prices were obtained?
  • Are those collectors still chasing the same items?
  • Will today’s collectors pay the same price?

Analyzing the market and the presumptions of the price guide data can help you decide what the current market value may be for your items.

After competing your research, you have an idea of the market value of your items (which may bear no relation to your cost), now what.

Up next – Fast Nickel or Slow Dime?

“The last time somebody said, ‘I find I can write much better with a word processor.’, I replied, ‘They used to say the same thing about drugs.'” Roy Blount Jr.