WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW FIRST:

If you have an accumulation or collection of matchcovers you're looking to sell, you'll need to take a relatively decent inventory first. Prospective buyers will want to know how many, what condition, age, and categories. Regarding condition, there is very little market for used (struck) or damaged covers unless they are very old (1920s, for example), and even then they have to be of certain types. Similarly, 'flats" (salesmen's samples used to show prospective customers available designs) are not considered real covers and are not generally wanted. Almost all collectors collect most matchcovers without the matches, as long as no matches have been struck on the cover's striking surface, so don't worry if your covers have no matches. Regarding categories, you'll need to an idea of which categories your covers fall into: how many Railroads, how many Hotels, how many Restaurants, etc. Flipping through the Album pages available at this site will give you an idea of what some of the categories are. Also, if there are many duplicates in what you have (more than one of the same cover), your prospective buyer will need to know that, as well.

VALUE:

There are no set prices in this hobby. Some types are worth more than others, and older covers generally have a higher value, but you should be aware from the outset that the vast majority of matchcovers will only sell for a few pennies each. The final price you realize for your covers will depend on which method of selling you choose and who happens to be interested at the time.

SELLING METHODS:

You have four basic options within the hobby:

  • Selling to a local collector: This is the fastest and easiest way for you to sell your covers if you can find a collector willing to buy them. No boxing and mailing. The buyer will simply come and get them. The downside of this option is that the number of collectors available for you to approach will be limited, and if you live in a rural area this option may not be viable at all. Also, this is a form of bulk buying, so you're only going to realize a bulk price. If you only have a couple of hundred covers, this is your only option.
  • Selling to a national buyer: There are a handful of collectors around the country who routinely purchase accumulations and collections, from small to huge. Few, if any, of these will want to deal with a few hundred covers, though, unless they are something special. The downside to this option is that there will be boxing and mailing involved, in addition to sometimes time-consuming communications back and forth. On the plus side, your particular location won't make any difference here. Also keep in mind, the buyer, here, is buying "bulk." The price for your covers is going to be based on an average price per cover.
    • Putting your collection up to the entire hobby for highest bid: Here, you run an ad in the RMS Bulletin, the largest circulating hobby publication, describing the collection and asking for bids by a certain closing date. Highest bid gets the collection. Not as fast as the first two options, but you get the widest audience possible, and this method is actually better than something like "ebay," since here you're going right to the people who would be most likely to be interested in what you have. With "ebay," most people in the hobby won't even see your offerings.
  • Club auctioning: Here, you consign your covers to a club which will auction them off piecemeal through its bulletin auction. The downside is that, unless there is a club near you, you'll have boxing and mailing again, and the auctioning process may take several months, perhaps even a couple of years, depending on the size of your collection and whether the club's auctions are monthly or bimonthly. The club will also charge a percentage fee for this service since it does all the work. The plus side is that with this option you will almost certainly realize a higher price for your covers, and you will have these 'surplus' checks coming into you on a steady basis for the run of your collection. To me, this is the best option, as long as you're not in a hurry. Also, I like this option because it helps support the clubs and it keeps the covers in the hobby.
  • When you've decided which option you'd prefer, or perhaps decide you'd simply like to give your covers to someone who would appreciate them, contact us and we'll steer you in the right direction.


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