Safely buying collectibles online

From Golden Age comic books to limited-edition stamps and rare Marilyn Monroe memorabilia, the world of collectibles is huge and incredibly diverse. Populated of both people who consider themselves casual collectors all the way to obsessive fans, the market for collectibles sees millions of dollars exchange hands each year. And that’s just in the United States.

As a collector, it’s of vital importance to know the actual value of what you’re buying. On top of this, when purchasing a collectible through an online auction website, such as eBay or WorthPoint, you need to make sure it’s described accurately and is 100% authentic. This is often hard to do because you only see pictures of the item – unable to see and examine it in person, let alone authenticate with a professional.

Finding the proper value
Every collector should know the relative value of what they’re buying. Digging a little deeper and learning how and why things are priced as they are and exactly how conditions are graded will only add to your appreciation.

Below are a few ways to ensure what you’re buying is priced correctly.

  • Check prices of similar items of similar conditions that have sold recently.
  • Seek out and ask for advice from members of online communities such as forums.
  • If the item is unique and/or you simply don’t trust your internet research, contact your local professional or call a national appraiser.
  • If the price seems too good to be true, it probably is.

Authenticating
There are plenty of professional authenticators available to make sure the collectible you’re buying is the real deal. The authentication process can seem like a daunting task, especially if you can’t find someone local you trust. Sure, it can take several days to weeks to complete the verification process, but it’s a necessary step and is much better than later finding out you’ve been ripped off. When authenticating coins, stamps, sports cards, memorabilia and other types of collectibles, we recommend using Collectors Universe.

Also, it’s important to use PaySAFE as a DIY closing table the next time you purchase a valuable collectible.

Trading safely
As a buyer, online escrow companies can hold your funds until the transaction is complete. Escrow services also give you the ability to authenticate the item before releasing any money. This ensures you’re buying exactly what’s advertised — protecting you from common frauds, like the seller swapping a certified-authentic item with a fake at shipping.

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3 comments

  1. […] Some of the most popular items advertised on sites like ebay and Craigslist are jewelry and watches. Because these items generally have high sticker prices for first-time owners, buying used watches and jewelry online can be a significant cost savings – especially if your tastes are for luxury brands. Because of the high value attached to used watches and jewelry, it behooves any buyer or seller to seek out financial protections when selling through auction sites or online classifieds. […]

  2. […] While commissioned projects often have deeply personal ties, planning and knowing your own budgetary limitations can help alleviate many common bumps in the road. See some of our other posts on purchasing collectables and fine art. […]

  3. […] more tips on buying and selling collectables be sure to see our other posts about safely buying and selling collectables online, 9 ways to protect yourself from internet fraud, and what do you if you’ve been […]

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