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What about selling my collection?

Heres an excerpt of a letter I sent to a family that was asking about selling their father's collection after he had passed away. Might be helpful to someone else....

In any collection there is always the top few pieces that seem to bring the most attention.
If you are going to sell the collection, expect the best pieces to sell first and even if someone
buys the entire collection intact, it is common for the buyer to try and keep the pieces that
they want, and sell the remainder to recoup some of the investment. This is true in any
collectible hobby.
Even if the details of consignment could be worked out, I cant promise you that the finer
pieces wouldn't sell first and it may take a while for the lower more common pieces to take
a while. Buyers always want pieces finer than what they are finding or are always looking to
upgrade and the commons are the pieces that take a long time to sell. I have bought MANY
collections over the last 20 years, and some of the more common pieces from these collections
are still here and I give them to kids or friends sometime or sell them for nominal value as no
one ever expressed much interest in some of the more common or crude items.
That takes me back to the top 20% represent 80% of the total value of the collection and the top
20% will always sell first. We have even tried to "force" a change in this trend by only offering
the commons until they sold, and guess what, you might sell a few of the commons but for the
most part they just sit there. This is why ALL dealers that buy a entire collection, usually try to buy at
50-60% of the appraised value, because they are going to sit on several of the pieces for a long time
and have their money tied up for a long time. It is quite rare to find a collector that is interested in
keeping the collection intact and even then, will not want to pay more than 60-70% of the entire value,
if he takes everything. Here again, that collector is REALLY interested in the top pieces as well.
Its just the nature of the hobby. One thing is certain, if the dealer or collector misses the mark on those top pieces and puts too much in them (which happens regularly), they can quickly be upside down in a collection and even lose money (yes IT DOES HAPPEN and has happened to me) if the interest in the top pieces is not enough to bring the prices that the buyer had hoped for.
For you to realize the MOST out of the collection, you would need to sell them yourself, network and
establish connections, and put the best pieces in front of specialized buyers that are after particular pieces.
Working shows and giving the pieces exposure, working online,etc are all part of the process. This takes time and it even costs money to do, but it would be your best bet to realize the most for your fathers collection. Its a process for sure.
Another option is Ebay, but I can tell you based on observing what goes on there for artifacts, Ebay is definitely a BUYERS market and theres a great deal of risk involved (reserves, etc..) Ebay IS NOT the
place to see the your collection bring its greatest potential but it will give great exposure. A majority of the buyers on Ebay work the system and sometimes even work with other buyers to get the best deal they can.
Nothing wrong with that, but it can be a tough place to do business.
Hope this helps explain some of the process.
Thanks, Kevin
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