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Disposing of Your Collection

Disposing of your collection could involve important decisions of a financial nature. What are the circumstances which might bring about a wish to end your collecting?

Have you completed your collection and have reached a dead end?

Do you need to get your hands on ready cash?

Have you decided to try your hand at something different within or without philately in general?

Are you acting on behalf of a deceased or incapacitated friend?

Are you prepared to sacrifice part of your collection so as to invest in a more expensive expansion?

What are the alternatives?

You can sell to a friend; or seek a private buyer; visit a dealer; look at the auction market. Many people with a valuable collection would opt for this latter alternative. Auctioneers and Valuers have many years of experience and in general command a vast mailing list and can reach a wide market for your particular speciality. Reputable auction houses can be found in the UK, in the States, on the Continent (especially in Switzerland and Germany) and indeed elsewhere. You can sell in pounds sterling, euros or dollars.

Such houses are extremely professional They produce impressive catalogues, in colour, very often with detailed descriptions by knowledgeable experts who add confidence for buyers. They will argue however that this work becomes expensive and their overheads mean they have to charge high fees.

Rather this is a get-rich-quick excuse!

They very much all charge identical prices – 20% buyers' premiums (plus VAT); 10% sellers' commissions. This gives you a total of more than 30% to the auctioneers, i.e. value that never accrues to the seller.

There are other drawbacks. Sellers are sometimes surprised by the return of material that they believed to have been sold. This is in addition to unsold items in the normal way. Beware how you long you have to wait to receive your money. Be sure you get proper descriptions; much material lumped together is not going to get good market price.

Getting a good deal from a private buyer can often obviate many or all of these drawbacks.

Published on 16 Dec 2017