The most important tip that we can give you is to buy from an expert. There is no substitute for years of experience and daily contact with the major players in the industry. The Autograph Source is not the only reputable dealer in the business. Make sure that you find one that you are comfortable with. The old adage “buy what you know” certainly applies to collectibles as well. You are much more likely to spot upward trends if you know the field that you are collecting. Become your own expert.
Don’t buy it unless it makes you smile. There are many pieces out there that will appreciate in value. The best part about collecting is that, unlike a stock that sits in an account, you can enjoy owning the piece. Build a theme to your collection. Collections are easier to sell if there is a relationship between the pieces. Quite frequently once a collection is complete the whole can be worth more than the sum of the parts.
Buy the best that you can afford. High end pieces tend to appreciate more. Generally speaking, you should strive for quality, not quantity.Don’t buy mass-produced pieces. Usually the fewer numbers that exist of an item, the more potential there is to increase in value. Typically, the pieces that appreciate the most are one-of-a-kind items.
Content, condition, and aesthetics matter. Especially with documents, content is very important. If the text has a reference to something pertaining to why the person who wrote it is famous, it can be worth much more than a “Hello, how are you?” letter. The inverse is also true, if the content is out of character or shocking. The condition of the piece or document is also important. What a piece looks like is very significant to the value as well. The better it looks the more likely someone is to pay a lot of money for it.
Be very careful buying from online auction sites. Sites where anyone can sell attract many dishonest people. There are deals to be had, but once again, only buy from reputable dealers. Don’t buy from people who hide behind P.O. Boxes and don’t provide phone numbers. Positive feedback on EBay has NOTHING to do with whether a seller’s product is real. It only tells you that they ship promptly.
If it is too good to be true, it probably isn’t. If someone is knowledgeable enough to know if a piece is real, they know what it is worth. There are certain basic costs to obtaining signatures and authenticating pieces. If someone is selling items for significantly less than market value, there is a reason. Be especially careful with Rock and Hollywood Memorabilia… there are many websites set up as online dealers where every piece they have is fake. If their prices don’t make sense, and other dealers won’t buy their items from you… stay away!
Don’t react to the market; let the market react to you. Be patient. Identify what you want to collect, and let your dealer find it for you. The dealer is more likely to give you a great price if you wait until the piece comes around. A good dealer can find almost any piece for you quickly, but they will usually overpay for it this way, and therefore so will you.
Have fun collecting! Please feel free to contact us if we can be of any help.