Dedicated collectors rarely anticipate having to sell items from their collection, let alone the entire collection.
Sometimes though, circumstances force a collector to sell. Unfortunately, in the case of Ty collectors, selling
usually means selling at a loss.
In order for a collectible to maintain or increase its value there have to be new or existing collectors competing to own
that item. There are new collectors all the time, but many of them are
interested in more recent Ty product lines; not the Beanie Babies.
Here are some recommended ways we've seen (and used) to sell Beanie Babies and other Ty collectibles. Bear in
mind, we're not talking about investing, we're talking about selling items from a collection for the best possible
secondary market price. That means you have to be reasonable, realistic, and prepared (in many cases) to sell items for
less than you paid for them.
- Step number one - make a list of the items you intend to sell. I can't
count the number of times we have been contacted by someone with a Beanie Baby
collection to sell, only to discover they don't even have a detailed list of their items.
A detailed list should include the name, style number, generation of the swing
and tush tags and the sellers asking price for each item.
- Check eBay.com to see what price similar items have sold for recently. Look at prices that have been "paid,"
not the asking prices. That is your first reality check. For most first-time sellers it turns out to be more of a reality
"shock." This is the point at which you must decide whether you really want to sell what you have.
It may not be worth your time and effort.
- When you have high-value items to sell, check first with other Ty
collectors if you know any. If you don't know any personally, don't waste your
time trying to find the serious collectors. They are (in many cases) tired of
being solicited by people with Beanie Babies to sell. The secondary markets are
overwhelmed by people trying to sell Beanie Babies of every variety and
most serious collectors are only looking for specific and rare items they still
need for their collections.
- Review eBay and other online auction/broker site policies and procedures. Decide whether or not you want to list
your item(s) for sale at those sites. The downside to selling on eBay is that you
have to pay a commission to eBay
when your item sells and then pay another commission to PayPal for handling the transaction. The upside to eBay is that your
items will receive more exposure there than anywhere else.
- Read amazon.com's listing policies to see if that might be a suitable place to list your items for sale. We have
never sold Beanie Babies at amazon.com but we have sold numerous other items there and we like the easy user interface and
simplified procedures. There are more online storefront sites where you might sell your beanies
and Boos, but we believe your best
chances of success are at eBay and amazon.com.
- Don't forget to advertise your items at social
networking sites like Facebook, Etsy, Twitter and others where you have personal
or business accounts. The benefit of listing at social
network sites is that you can offer to accept checks or money orders for payment. That saves you the commission you would
otherwise pay for using PayPal. Don't forget though, if a potential buyer sends you a bad check, your bank will
probably hit you with a stiff service charge and you're not likely to recover
that charge from the buyer who wrote the bad check in the first place.
- Many charitable organizations or clubs hold bazaars where sellers can rent table space. This can be an enjoyable way
to spend a day and sell some of your extra beanies. The problem with selling
like this is people who want to "handle" the merchandise. That can detract from
the value of Beanie Babies when potential buyers accidentally bend swing tags or
get the Beanies dirty somehow. Another detractor is the outside bazaar where
there are food booths near your sales table. After the last bazaar we
attended, we noticed that all of the Beanies we displayed came home with a
smoky, barbecue odor on them.
- You could try selling your low-value items at the next local flea market but if you go that route, don't expect to get
much money for your items. Beanie and Boo collectors go to flea markets looking for "deals," and if that's not what
you're offering (beanies or Boos for a dollar or less), you'll be wasting your time.
- Reminder - Uncle Sam (if you pay U.S. income taxes) may want a share of the profits you make on
Beanie Baby and Boo rollovers if you've made a profit.
Keep good records, just in case. While we're on the subject of Uncle Sam, it might be easier and a lot less complicated
to donate your low-value Beanies or Boos to a charitable organization like a children's home or
other charity. That way your
excess or unwanted Beanies, Boos or other Ty collectibles can still return some value as tax deductions while
at the same time providing enjoyment to their new owners.
Caution: when you itemize charitable deductions on your income taxes you can't deduct what the value guides suggest
are worth. You can only deduct "fair market value." Fair market value would be better determined by the prices
paid for those items on eBay. If you're eligible to take a charitable contribution deduction on your federal income
tax return, consider donating your Ty collectibles.