Posts in «Auction Tips» category

Vintage fans are a cool collectible

Vintage and retro-style fans are cool right now, and what’s fascinating is that their collectibility defies the laws of supply and demand. A large generation of Baby Boomers and older are downsizing and selling their household items, including these old fans, and people of all ages, especially Millennials, are willing to pay top dollar for them. […]

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Top 5 collectibles to collect in the next 5 years

When it comes to collecting, most people collect based upon what they like regardless of what the cost is versus what the value is, and that’s OK. But, if you’re interested in collecting with the hopes of making your investment gather more than dust, then watching the current trends and sticking to the market that […]

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3 things to know when buying Native American rarities

Collecting Treasures: Some people object to the sale of such items Recently, we auctioned a consignor’s collection of Native American rarities and took some heat for it. The collection included arrowheads, beaded moccasins, bannerstones, pots, vessels, bowls and more. As an auctioneer, I have a fiduciary responsibility to sell a consignor’s property. And, I also […]

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5 tips for getting that treasure

Collecting Treasures: The experience can be likened to the most popular roller coaster at the amusement park Notice how we didn’t use the word “auction” in the headline. That’s because many of you reading this either have never been to an auction or you have a misconception about the quality of items you’ll find at auction. […]

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Auctions can provide outlet to dispose of firearms

Collecting Treasures: Buying and selling firearms in Arizona at auction requires the same federal process as what you would find at a firearms store As an auctioneer, I hear stories from fellow industry professionals across the nation about their clients who have inherited firearms and have no clue as to what to do with them. […]

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Top 7 places people hide cash at home

Collecting Treasures: People can hide money in pretty creative places. When it comes time to move or sell personal items, be careful. If you’re selling estate items or helping a relative or friend downsize, be sure to check hidden spots for money. People find the craziest spots to hide their cash, as we’ve recently experienced […]

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5 tips for storing collectibles, antiques

Collecting Treasures: Following a few simple tips for how to store collectibles can protect and retain their value.

B9318295471Z.1_20150806135735_000_GC2BI38JI.1-0I often tell people there’s a market for everything. Believe it or not, people will pay a lot of money for old firecracker labels, unopened cereal boxes from the 1980s, old fountain pens, vintage comic books and many other collectibles. But they won’t open up their wallets if the firecracker labels are damaged, the cereal boxes are opened, the fountain pens don’t work and the spines of the comic books are tattered.

Unfortunately, in the busy world we live in, many people either don’t take the time to store their collectibles correctly or they don’t realize they’re doing damage by not storing them properly. Whether you have a large collection or you’re just trying to organize your valuables, keep these tips in mind:

  • Keep a detailed inventory. There are many inventory software programs out there, like Capture My Assets and Software 4 That, as well as apps for your phone likeKnow Your Stuff, that can assist you. But even if you keep a handwritten list, it will help you keep track of where your items are stored, especially if you have them packed in boxes and out of sight for long periods of time.
  • Control the climate. How many of you have boxes of items stored in your garage or attic? You could be exposing them to too much heat, bugs and other factors, like humidity. Some antiques also can be damaged if they are exposed to too much light.
  • Take care when cleaning. This one is tricky because some items are best left alone, while others can be cleaned, if very carefully. It’s best to ask an appraiser before cleaning an item so you don’t do any damage, like removing part of the patina on a piece of furniture. For some items, you can use soft bristle brushes, moisture-free compressed air, distilled water or isopropyl alcohol. Never use harsh chemicals. Again, check with an expert before cleaning a collectible.
  • Keep original boxes. Toys, jewelry, Hummels – really, any item that came in a box should stay in the box. If it was never opened, that’s even better! I’ve seen a vintage G.I. Joe figure sell for $150 because the box was included and was in good condition.
  • Keep original receipts and documents to prove provenance. This is often the deal-breaker. Either you can prove it’s authentic or there’s doubt. Keep receipts in the box with the items in question whenever possible so they don’t get misplaced. Don’t tape them to the item’s box because the adhesive tape could damage the box.

Remember: It’s always a good idea to let at least one other person know where they can find your detailed inventory. Hopefully, you’ll sell your collectibles on your own terms, but this way, in case of an emergency, your relatives or friends won’t be scrambling to figure out what you’ve been collecting and where the items are stored.

Erik Hoyer co-owns EJ’s Auction & Consignment in Glendale ( and J. Levine Auction & Appraisal in Scottsdale. Reach him at or@EJs_Auction on Twitter.

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