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Your Money Is No Good Here

Taking My Hacks

Joe Orlando - August 29, 2018

Recently, I was talking to a fellow hobbyist about the difficulty in prying great items away from other collectors when the owner doesn't need the money.  Now, the reality is that most hobbyists have limited budgets.  Conversely, most owners are not in a financial position to say "no" when a very strong offer comes along.

The question is ... what happens when money isn't enough?

During the last several years, the escalation in price for certain, high-quality collectibles has been dramatic as more people enter our world.  Some of those new people have tremendous spending power, which means the collectibles can end up in stronger hands.  The hobby tends to go through cycles where some fantastic material seems to enter the market all at the same time, resulting in a minor flood of terrific items.  Once that time passes, the market will often dry up quickly, at least as it relates to special pieces.

One of the reasons so much high-end material became available in the past few years is that the prior owners could no longer afford to say "no" to the potential monetary returns.  Even if you are a successful individual, if you bought an item for $35,000 in 1999 and now that same item is worth $200,000 or more, it's hard to hold unless the money doesn't mean that much to you relatively speaking.  A group of collectors who purchased great items 10-20 years ago were put in a tough position in recent times.  It's a position that we all would like to be in, though tough nonetheless if you really are a collector at heart.

There are those who seemingly could use the money that decide to hold anyway.  We have all met collectors like this.  They might drive a $10,000 car, have $25,000 in the bank, reside in a $200,000 home, and live a modest lifestyle by any reasonable definition, yet they are sitting on a $2 million collection.  It's not that they don't realize what it's worth either.  They know exactly what it's worth, but choose to own the stuff instead of changing their life.  Let's face it, some collectors would rather own their favorite baseball card than travel to France for a three-week vacation, buy a fancier car, or live in a larger home.

Collectors that fall into the above category can arguably be just as tough to buy from.  That said, would you rather be negotiating with a passionate collector of modest means or Bobby Axelrod?  Aside from Axe, money still matters to most of us.  Yes, you will occasionally run into collectors who don't have Axe, Wags, or even Dollar Bill-level net worth (please check out the television show Billions if you haven't already, it's excellent), yet money doesn't have the power to persuade them.  Nevertheless, at least you stand a chance of acquiring the item you desire when dealing with those of mere mortal financial capacity.

As we look to the future, I do think more premium quality items will be buried for longer periods of time, but that isn't an entirely bad thing.  While it may be frustrating for those of us looking to add to our collections, it will also help us appreciate what we already have even more.  There will be instances where our money may not be good here, or there, as collectibles end up in stronger hands, but people who hold items longer help the market stay healthy.

When too many of the same collectibles keep reappearing on the open market in short periods of time, it can give the false impression that the items are easy to find.  The best of the best never is, so take my word for it, when you have the chance, use the money when its power can produce the desired result.  Someday, you might regret it if the opportunity doesn't present itself again.

Never get cheated,

Joe Orlando

Joe Orlando
CEO, Collectors Universe, Inc.

Article provided by Professional Sports Authenticator (PSA) at

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