As those of us who've been at this awhile are finding as we see life's finish line on the horizon, it has been "easy" (and fun) to accumulate a good-sized collection a few pieces (or many pieces) at a time, multiplied by years and years of activity, And, of course, there's that goal all of us collectors have....we want to maximize the value we receive, when selling the treasures we amassed over the years. Yes, disposing or even the thinning of a big collection is hard work and time-consuming. Many collectors in our hobby simply aren't willing, interested, or perhaps able to do a lot of piece-meal sales, when looking to dispose of their collection. The task can be daunting. Plus, some of us may not have the ability to price the pieces we're selling, so we're comfortable we haven't "left too much money on the table". So, enter the auction houses. They provide a service that fills a need. Kind of like the Realtor that may wind up selling a home we own, or a financial advisor that we pay a fee to. .
I am NOT carrying any water for an auction house. I'm only offering the opinion that they do provide an avenue to have a large collection "go away" in a relatively short timeframe. Yes, you have to pay for this benefit, but as many of us are starting to see there are no painless or simple alternatives.for achieving the same result. Again, I'm NOT advocating that using an auction house is the solution. But, it is one viable way to solve the "problem" we've been discussing. By now, it should become obvious as we think about this topic, there's no easy way out, unless a person can find one or a few collectors to absorb the entire collection. And, to make that work, and at a decent price, you better have some very interesting pieces.
The bitter truth may be that some of us need to rethink the value of our collection, when attempting to dispose of it. Yes, we may think of it as being worth XXX dollars. But, is it, once you factor in the cost of eventually having to market it? I guess I'm thinking that some of us may feel better about the cost of disposal, if we come to think of it as yet another, eventual expense of our collecting activity. You know, like the travel cost for going to swap meets, meals and hotels for the far away events, the shipping we paid on some purchases that were mailed to us, etc. In closing, did I say this yet?.....I'm not advocating the use of an auction company as the only way to address this issue! Good luck, and Happy New Year to all. John