Maybe it's time to downsize. Maybe your kids, like mine, want only a few of your ornaments. Maybe you need the cash. Or maybe you just have too many. Whatever your reason, you have decided to sell.
While it seems obvious, the first thing you need to do is make a list. I get inquiries all the time from people who want to sell collections, it may be hard to belive but most don't have a list of the ornaments they want to sell.
When I buy a collection the first thing I want to know is what ornaments are included. A spreadsheet program such as Excel is best. If you don;t have one a list in a word processing program will suffice. Remember that as a seller you want to make it easy on the buyer so if you are seeking to sell the collection to a dealer, the easier it is to evaluate the list, the more likely the buyer will give you a prompt answer and hopefully positive. A better and more complete list gives a buyer more confidence that the seller is accurately representing what is for sale.
What to Include in the List
The list should begin with the date -- seems like a no-brainer, but many lists don't include it. The item number should be next -- generally a number beginning with QX or a QLX.
The third column should be the title of the ornament. Original price is not necessary to sell the collection to a dealer, but it makes sense to note it on a spread sheet so you can easily tally how much you paid for the collection.
Box condition is a must -- more on that in the next section. Either state ornaments are mint unless otherwise noted or state the condition of each one.
Test the magic ornaments. Note if they have a noisier than normal motor. Also note damage to the plastic dome if there is any. Many people store magic ornaments with the light cord touching the dome or worse with the hanger still on resulting in damage to the dome.
Indicate that the ornament was tested and works. If the ornament was not used often, indicate how often you used it. For example, my husband does not like them so most of mine were used only one season.
In most ornaments the box condition is a considerable part of the value. While you don't want to be hypercritical, be careful not to overstate the box condition. If you've ever looked at sports card ratings, the method is similar.
A mint box is one that looks just like it did in the store. It has no flaws -- none. Not a little crinkle here or there, not sticker residue. It is close as close to perfect as possible. It is crisp not mushy even if there is no other damage. A box with writing on it cannot be a mint box.
I use a mint to near mint designation as most sellers do, but after that it gets dicey. Exactly what is a SDB -- slightly damaged box? If there were no perfect boxes in the store, it's the one you would buy next. It doesn't have any flaws that jump out across the room and you could give it to all but your pickiest relative. I call this a near mint to excellent box. It is still gift quality.
A damaged box is trickier still because some are at the low end of gift quality and some are not -- it's a broader category. This box might have a crease here or there, possibly a small tear near the flap. The damage is evident looking at the box, but does not necessarily jump out at you.
A very damaged box is in "The dog ate it category" or "Pretend it doesn't have a box."
After you've made the list, it's time for one of the toughest parts -- placing a value the collection in my next guide.
Copyright 2006 Carol M. Kaelin