Aunt has been investing in collectibles for retirement

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downshiftme
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Aunt has been investing in collectibles for retirement

Post by downshiftme » Sat Apr 16, 2016 2:27 pm

My Aunt has avoided any retirement accounts such as 401k or IRA, or even just regular savings and investing accounts. She has instead invested in a variety of "collectibles" in hopes that they would increase in value. Well, retirement is looming and it's very unclear how to convert the collections into actual cash to live on. She has a great many Barbie dolls (most still in original packages) as well as Christmas Village houses and other porcelain figurines.

Had she asked me about this scheme I would have strongly advised against it, but now that it's done does anyone have advice on how best to liquidate this treasure. eBay sales is one possible solution, but it would be considerable work to list each item. Are there brokers or consolidators who specialize in this sort of stuff? Is there any reasonable way to sell entire collections as a unit instead of needing to sell each piece individually.

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David Jay
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Re: Aunt has been investing in collectibles for retirement

Post by David Jay » Sat Apr 16, 2016 2:34 pm

Ever watched "Pawn Stars"? Any consolidator or third party will take a third to a half of the appraised value.

I recommend she get familiar with eBay. There are also more specific interest sites. In retirement she can do the work to optimize the value of collectibles.
Prediction is very difficult, especially about the future - Niels Bohr | To get the "risk premium", you really do have to take the risk - nisiprius

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whodidntante
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Re: Aunt has been investing in collectibles for retirement

Post by whodidntante » Sat Apr 16, 2016 2:45 pm

Ouch. It sounds like your aunt is about to start her new business valuing and selling collectibles. This will be time consuming. Don't forget taxes.

Rondo
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Re: Aunt has been investing in collectibles for retirement

Post by Rondo » Sat Apr 16, 2016 2:57 pm

whodidntante wrote:Ouch. It sounds like your aunt is about to start her new business valuing and selling collectibles. This will be time consuming. Don't forget taxes.
This is true, PayPal will send you a 1099 if you send enough business through them.

livesoft
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Re: Aunt has been investing in collectibles for retirement

Post by livesoft » Sat Apr 16, 2016 3:03 pm

I don't see any problem here that needs be solved. I'm sure your aunt will figure it out.

I will say this: She needs to start a business selling this stuff. A broker or consolidator will take a huge cut, so she needs to cut out the middle people and sell directly to clients.
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Rob5TCP
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Re: Aunt has been investing in collectibles for retirement

Post by Rob5TCP » Sat Apr 16, 2016 3:43 pm

You can get a general idea on EBay. Far from perfect, but at least it's a start. If there is something truly rare, the auction houses might have some estimates for you. I am hoping she didn't buy many Hummels or Lladros. Those have gone down enormously (I was given a few and checked on their value when I went to dump them).

Some general price guides:

http://dollprice.com/
http://www.2-clicks-collectiblefigurine ... alues.html
http://www.greatestcollectibles.com/col ... ce-guides/
Last edited by Rob5TCP on Sat Apr 16, 2016 4:29 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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dm200
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Re: Aunt has been investing in collectibles for retirement

Post by dm200 » Sat Apr 16, 2016 4:12 pm

Hope she did not "invest" in Beanie Babies.

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bertie wooster
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Re: Aunt has been investing in collectibles for retirement

Post by bertie wooster » Sat Apr 16, 2016 5:02 pm

I hope your aunt realizes that she can't actually retire. To stop working with no money and expect a retirement funded by dolls is wishful thinking.

She needs to keep here current job, radically reduce her spending, start maximizing retirement and taxable savings, and start selling this junk on eBay ASAP.

If this is truly all the savings she has she is in for some serious trouble.

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cheese_breath
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Re: Aunt has been investing in collectibles for retirement

Post by cheese_breath » Sat Apr 16, 2016 5:11 pm

One person's collectible is another person's junk. DW's 'collectible' dolls and teddy bears fill the house, and most of them aren't worth half what she paid for them. But since she's mostly home bound I don't begrudge her buying them for her enjoyment. I just don't include them in my retirement portfolio.
The surest way to know the future is when it becomes the past.

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arcticpineapplecorp.
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Re: Aunt has been investing in collectibles for retirement

Post by arcticpineapplecorp. » Sat Apr 16, 2016 6:11 pm

downshiftme wrote:My Aunt has avoided any retirement accounts such as 401k or IRA, or even just regular savings and investing accounts. She has instead invested in a variety of "collectibles" in hopes that they would increase in value. Well, retirement is looming and it's very unclear how to convert the collections into actual cash to live on. She has a great many Barbie dolls (most still in original packages) as well as Christmas Village houses and other porcelain figurines.

Had she asked me about this scheme I would have strongly advised against it, but now that it's done does anyone have advice on how best to liquidate this treasure. eBay sales is one possible solution, but it would be considerable work to list each item. Are there brokers or consolidators who specialize in this sort of stuff? Is there any reasonable way to sell entire collections as a unit instead of needing to sell each piece individually.
Actually, she hasn't "invested" in collectables as much as speculated with them. Why? Two reasons. First, her collectables didn't earn her any income over the time period that she held them. She paid for them and earned nothing all those years. In addition, she had to pay to store, (possibly) insure them, secure them, etc. This was money out of her pocket, not money in her pocket. Secondly, she was only "hoping" they would go up in value but sounds like she had no idea of the market for the collectables she was buying and whether the value was increasing or decreasing.

I have a friend who has certain very old antiques and she met with an appraiser/antique dealer and was shocked to find that there isn't a market for the items she cherished for so long and was so sure would increase in value later on in life. The dealer said people nowadays just aren't looking for that kind of stuff. People can be fickle, tastes change.

As dm200 said beanie babies were all the rage, until they weren't. I wish her good luck and to fetch a fair price for her items...but that is up to what the market will bear, not just what she hopes to get for her stuff.

Let us know how it turns out. Maybe there's some things of value there even if other items don't fetch what she paid originally.
"Invest we must." -- Jack Bogle | “The purpose of investing is not to simply optimise returns and make yourself rich. The purpose is not to die poor.” -- William Bernstein

Lafder
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Re: Aunt has been investing in collectibles for retirement

Post by Lafder » Sat Apr 16, 2016 6:43 pm

There is a chance she has some money in the collections if she sells. But generally she will be lucky to make back what she paid.

My neighbor collected pez dispensers and other plasticy childrens' toys. His wife made fun of him until he was able to pay for their (modest) addition by selling some of his collection.

Some people are willing to pay a lot for collectibles. By any chance do any barbies have real diamonds ? A quick internet search shows some of the most valuable barbies have real diamonds :)

As others are saying, she should start assessing value now rather than after she retires.

Let us know if any turn out to be treasures. I am curious.

lafder

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Watty
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Re: Aunt has been investing in collectibles for retirement

Post by Watty » Sun Apr 17, 2016 1:21 pm

In addition to eBay she should also consider setting up a booth and selling stuff at collectors or flea markets.

When this has come up before one suggestion for people that wanted to try doing this was to periodically sell off part of their collection during the collecting phase so they they have a realistic view of the resale market.

One additional problem she may have is that she may not have kept good records and the receipts of what she paid for the items so figuring out the taxes may be hard to do.

A lot depends on how she acquired the stuff. If she got them at low prices at places like garage sales she may do OK but it will still be a lot of work.
livesoft wrote:A broker or consolidator will take a huge cut, so she needs to cut out the middle people and sell directly to clients.
It is even worse than that. If by some fluke she has some rare and valuable item the wholesalers may recognize it but not not pay her much of anything for it. That is one advantage in using auctions like eBay since things occasionally sell for a lot more than you expected because it is better than you knew.

haban01
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Re: Aunt has been investing in collectibles for retirement

Post by haban01 » Sun Apr 17, 2016 2:33 pm

E Bay is full of fees, shipping, etc. I would try to talk her into a conservative balanced fund with the proceeds!
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Mr Bear
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Re: Aunt has been investing in collectibles for retirement

Post by Mr Bear » Sun Apr 17, 2016 2:39 pm

If you think wholesalers and accumulators are bad news, wait'll Auntie opens a table at a flea market or "collectibles" faire. She'll get real used to hearing, "Will you take ten cents?"

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