Your garage is probably the most convenient place to stage a sale, but it may not be the most profitable. Certain goods have built a faithful following. This means they have a niche market and are likely to garner higher prices if you can find it. The following items may warrant some additional consideration before you kick them to the curb. (For background reading, see In A Cash Crunch? Hold A Yard Sale.)
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In some cases, the market value of money can exceed its face value. If you have old or unfamiliar looking coins, it may be best to contact a coin or currency dealer before letting them go. As the saying goes, it takes money to make money. Rare coins can provide high returns. For example, the $20 "double-gold eagle" coin, originally manufactured in 1933, went for over $7 million in an auction. This is obviously a best-case (and rare) scenario, but if you aren't a coin expert, it may be worth your while to find one to see if you have anything of value in your collection. (These currencies are rare because they include errors. Check them out in 7 Currency Blunders You Can Cash In On.)
2. Sports Memorabilia
Items like baseball cards and jerseys can increase in value, especially if the player depicted in them is a superstar and/or is deceased. News of a sports-related garage sale treasure broke earlier this month when an Ohio woman posted a LeBron James pendant for sale on eBay after the pendant was appraised at $10,000. She claimed to have purchased the pendant at a yard sale four years ago for $5. Also be sure to set aside anything with an authentic autograph! (You won't believe how much a bidder on eBay paid for a piece of toast. Find out in Odd eBay Sales.)
3. Comic Books
Your comic book collection may deserve a second glance. Certain characters such as Superman, Spiderman and Batman have built a faithful following over many years. Comic book collectors have been willing to cough up major money for old and/or rare issues. In 2007, a 1962 comic book with Spiderman on the cover was sold for $227,000. Reach out to comic book retailers and online fan communities in order to gauge the value of your books. (Check out some other collectibles that sold for a fortune in 6 Major Collectible Payoffs.)
Stamp collecting is a popular hobby around the world. Aside from its popularity, postage may have the potential to deliver some profits. Resources for stamp collectors can be found on several websites including the American Philatelic Society. Many stamps are worth just a few cents, but the world's most expensive stamp, the Treskilling Yellow, is valued in the millions. It was originally issued in Sweden in the 1850s, and was discovered by a child as he sifted through the attic of his grandparents' house.
It may be hard to believe, but some music lovers prefer vinyl over MP3 players. Before putting your record collection out on the curb, check online music clubs or specialty music stores to see if any of your titles are in demand. To increase your chances of getting more money, your records should be scratch-free and the artwork should be preserved.
The recordings of The Beatles, Elvis Presley and Bob Dylan have been deemed some of the most valuable by collectors, fetching thousands of dollars.
6. Family Heirlooms
It may be tempting to sell something you do not really use, but be careful with items passed down from one generation to the next. Even if the item itself isn't worth a lot of money, you can't underestimate the sentimental value it may hold for other family members. That's a price that may trump whatever you can sell it for.
Auction sites like eBay can provide some insight as to the going price of many items. However, if the item has a potentially substantial value, it may be in your best interest to have it appraised. An appraiser is supposed to assess value, however an appraiser who is interested in purchasing the item may be tempted to assign a lower value in order to save money. Err on the side of caution by selecting an appraiser who specializes in your type of items, has a history of doing good business and has no intention of buying the item to be appraised.
The Bottom Line
Everything has its price, but price and value are not always equal. Get informed about your garage sale goods before you sell them or they could become someone else's treasure - at your expense.
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