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Selling a Lifetime Collection

You've spent your life collecting something.

It means the world to you.

Now that it's time to sell, turn to someone you can trust.

Sell it with us here at Nest Egg Auctions.

Collecting Over a Lifetime is Quite an Achievement

As a collector, one of the hardest things to do is to sell your lifetime collection. You have spent years, if not decades, of your life assembling a vast and encyclopedic collection.

You have encountered obstacles along the way: people didn’t understand why you collected, or didn’t share your passion for your collection. They asked why you spent so much time and money buying what you did, rather than spending it on something more “useful”.

Explaining never helped, as collecting is not something that can be explained. Collecting is a feeling, a chase for something greater than the objects themselves. You have memories tied up with every one of your pieces. Usefulness was never the point, and it still isn’t.

We at Nest Egg Auctions understand: not only do we handle lifetime collections all the time, but we are collectors ourselves! We understand why you collected, and we applaud you for doing so. Collectors keep history alive, and are the foundation of knowledge of many different things. Collectors will literally write the book on a given topic on many occasions, as only a collector can truly know something so thoroughly.

Of course, however, there also comes a time when one must sell all or part of their collection. Whether it is to raise funds or to allow another collector to begin their own journey, Nest Egg Auctions wants to help you in this process. We write this article for you, to help you navigate the process of selling your lifetime collection. Hopefully, you choose to do so with us.

Scrapbook of Confederate Money. American, ca. mid 19th century.

Step 1: Organizing Your Lifetime Collection

Before you can sell your collection, it is best to organize it. Break out some folding tables or clear your floor, and lay it all out. Once you have done this, make an inventory. Make an itemized list of what your collection contains, with each different object individually listed. If you have the ability, take a photo of each object as well. 

Old Judge Cigarettes Baseball Cards. ca. 1887 - 1890.

Why do all this? First and foremost, your collection will now be organized and recorded in one place. This is of great importance. Organizing your collection and preparing an inventory and photos also allows others to assess the size and scope of your collection. A skilled auctioneer or appraisal specialist can work with this information to get you more help and more information quicker than if they had to start from scratch. What’s more, an appraiser or auctioneer will be more inclined to handle your collection.

At this point, you will be ready for step 2.

Step 2: Reaching Out to the Auctioneer or Appraiser

Once you have an inventory and photos on hand, you can reach out to an auctioneer such as Nest Egg Auctions, or an appraiser. Generally speaking, an appraiser will give you a valuation for your collection, while an auctioneer will sell it for you. Auction houses like Nest Egg can also provide the value of your collection, but not for insurance or legal purposes; that is the domain of the appraiser.

If you desire to donate your collection to a museum, a local historical society, a college, or another related organization, you should reach out to an appraiser rather than an auctioneer. An appraiser can give you the value of your collection for tax purposes. 

Collection of 78 silver folding fruit knives. American and British, ca. early 19th - 20th cent.

If you wish to sell your collection, you can reach out directly to an auctioneer. A good auctioneer will provide you with the information you need to make an informed decision. You should choose an auctioneer who will treat your collection with respect, while also attaining the highest possible price on auction day.

Step 3: Selling Your Lifetime Collection at Auction

Once you have chosen an auctioneer, your collection will be placed into an auction with the auctioneer. The process varies for different auction houses, so let’s look at how Nest Egg Auctions’ process works.

First, Nest Egg Auctions drafts a contract with you, the consignor. Within this contract, Nest Egg Auctions agrees to sell your items with a set commission rate. A commission, for our purposes, is the percentage of the final selling price that Nest Egg Auctions will take for your items. This serves as Nest Egg’s way of earning money during the auction sale. If your collection is large enough, we can agree to have a dedicated, curated auction sale entirely made up of your items. These types of sales are very popular, and always attract quite a bit of attention!

Native Gold Specimen. Eagles Nest Mine, Michigan Bluff, Placer County, CA.

After the contract is signed and in place, Nest Egg Auctions begins the process of cataloging your collection. Your inventory will come in handy here, as our expert cataloging staff carefully records and evaluates your collection. The cataloger will determine what an item is and how much it is worth, along with giving a report on condition. Then, your collection moves on to photography. Our professional photographer will capture high quality images of the objects for clarity. After your collection is cataloged and photographed, it will be posted to our online bidding platforms, as well as marketed to our worldwide network of bidders. Bids can be taken before the auction, up until the auction day itself. In addition, Nest Egg Auctions often uses items from upcoming auctions to advertise in newspapers and on social media.

On auction day, our auctioneer will sell your collection live to bidders in person, online, and on the telephone. Once the hammer strikes, the bidding is over. We reach out to the winner, process their payment, and then the item goes to them. If they are present in the audience, they can take it home that day. If they are further afield (we have buyers from as far away as Asia), our dedicated shipping department can carefully ship the items to where they need to go.

About a month after the auction, we will send you a check! After that, the money is yours and you can do whatever you want with it. Put it away for retirement, contribute to your granddaughter’s college fund, donate it to charity, bet it all on black at the casino, take a trip to Hawaii, the choices are endless! Or, you could even start another collection!

Why Sell Your Lifetime Collection with Nest Egg Auctions?

When it comes time to sell your lifetime collection, we hope you will consider Nest Egg Auctions. We have over three decades of experience in the auction business, and we have worked with countless collectors in the past. Various collectors have trusted us with selling their collections, running the gamut from local Meriden art glass to fine art, coins, and jewelry. The most telling thing about our relationship with collectors, however, is that many have trusted us with selling their beloved collections after they pass away. We can think of no greater honor and vote of confidence in us than that.

Ultimately, what you do with your collection is completely up to you. You spent the time making your collection, you spent your hours researching and learning about it, and you are the expert on your collection. If you decide to sell it at auction, we hope you will consider us at Nest Egg Auctions. We would really love to see your collection, and help you find the best solution for you.

Collection of Field & Stream Magazines, 1916 - 1929. 143 pieces total.

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