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How to Make Money Downsizing Your Collection

Comic Books

How to Make Money Downsizing Your Collection

If you’re of the geek persuasion, it’s likely you indulged in activities others didn’t always view as the coolest in the world while growing up (though we all know how wrong they are). I’m talking about reading comic books, purchasing action figures, collecting trading cards and other stuff mainstream society expects you to outgrow with age.

Now, hardcore geeks understand that you never truly outgrow these interests, because with time, many collectibles have only gotten cooler – and more expensive.

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Rising prices are among the factors that lead older geeks to that crucial day where they decide to pare down their collections. Yes, whether you’re moving to a smaller space or marrying someone who thinks it’s time to leave the toys behind, this is a major turning point.

Side note – if your partner is making you get rid of your collectibles, they suck and you can do better.

Anyway, once you realize you’ll survive parting with your complete set of Skeleton Warriors action figures, you face a new problem – does anyone even want to buy your stuff? No matter what you’re trying to get rid of, you get that it wasn’t cheap when you first purchased it. And sadly, despite what you were told growing up, a lot of your collectibles don’t really have any value all these years later (I’m looking at you, bagged X-Force #1).

How to Make Money Downsizing Your Collection
So what now? Do you throw your Bucky O’Hare action figures in the garbage and toss your Malibu Comics in the recycling bin? The answer is “No” – not yet, at least. I’m at that stage in my life where it’s time to pare down my collection and make room for better things. But I’m not letting go of my once-prized possessions without a fight. And by a fight, I mean money.

Here are three tactics that have worked for me and just might work for you as well:

1. Contact specialty stores

Before you take a chance on eBay, see if there are any stores out there that buy and sell what you’re looking to get rid of. In some cases, you’ll find these shops even pay top dollar.

When it came time to make some cuts to my Transformers collection, I targeted figures from less iconic lines, such as Beast Machines and Robots in Disguise. Now, was I expecting to make as much selling Night Slash Cheetor as I would a Generation 1 Starscream? Of course not, but I still wanted to be paid whatever the toy is worth.

How to Make Money Downsizing Your Collection
Not the coolest iteration of the Transformers.
After getting estimates from a local vintage toy shop and Transformerland, an online store that specializes in – you guessed it – Transformers, I went with the latter buyer. If you’re looking to sell any Autobots and Decepticons, I highly recommend The store buys other lines as well, such as G.I. Joe, M.A.S.K. and Voltron.

The takeaway here is to spend some time finding the right buyer. While it may be easier to bring your items to a buyer within driving distance, definitely consider shipping to a buyer in another state if it means a bigger check.

2. Turn to friends

You know that Dionne Warwick song, “That’s What Friends Are For?” It’s really about unloading old junk you don’t want anymore. If you’re an older geek, it’s likely you’ve picked up a few equally geeky friends along the way. And if they have disposable income, they may just be willing to buy a few pieces from your collection.

I’ve had great luck in this area. One of my friends is a big Star Trek: The Next Generation fan, so of course he was interested in the 1988 Galoob Captain Jean-Luc Picard and Commander William Riker figures I had lying around.

Meanwhile, I knew that AiPT’s own Media and Content Manager David Brooke had been building a sizable collection of obscure Spider-Man action figures, so when it came time to pare down my Marvel toy inventory, I turned to Dave.

How to Make Money Downsizing Your Collection
Dave’s growing Spidey collection.
Social media has made it easier than ever to see which of your contacts would be interested in items you’re looking to sell. Just be mindful, it may be in your best interest to knock a few dollars off and call it a “friendship discount.”

3. Consider trading

Oftentimes, the point of paring down a collection is to make room, so it really doesn’t make sense to bring in new clutter. But sometimes, trading just makes the most sense.

Take old comics and trade paperbacks you don’t want anymore, for example. Comics, especially, take up a lot of room. But with a price tag of $2.99 (or higher), you may feel a little sick inside dumping that stack of old Batman comics in the garbage. This is where trading books in can help ease the pain.

New England Comics has been great about this. On several occasions, I’ve received store credit in exchange for books that often have very little value. Think about it, getting enough credit from 50 comic books to pick up a single hardcover is better than nothing. Something else to be aware of – stores will often give more in store credit than actual cash.

Final words of advice

Those are three strategies that worked for me. I’m sure there are more, so if I missed any, please let me know in the comment space below.

A few things I’ll say if you’re looking to sell – be ready to devote some time to getting your items organized. You’re going to get the most money for stuff that’s complete and in good condition. For me, that meant several weekends spent tracking down every accessory that came with each Transformer, along with packaging and instructions. If you’ve got several containers full of parts like I did, maybe have a stress ball handy.

Something else to keep in mind – if your Leonardo action figure is missing its leg, or your Deadpool comic has coffee stains on its cover, don’t expect to become a millionaire.

Oh, and one final note – be honest with your buyer. If your Skywarp only has two of the four missiles he came with, or if you had to glue a part back into place – say that. You’re dealing with professional buyers, so no funny business.

Best of luck with your downsizing! Now if you’ll excuse me, I’m going to go make myself a gin and tonic and sort through a bin of G.I. Joe vehicle parts.

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