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How much is my collectible worth?

Have you recently inherited or purchased a collectible item and want to know its value? Mearto provides quick and affordable online appraisals of collectibles. All you have to do is click on the “Start Appraisal” button above and follow the steps to send us information about and images of your collectible. One of our qualified and experienced specialists will review and get back to you with a fair market and insurance value, typically within 48 hours. Have questions about the valuation provided, or would you like some advice about selling your collectible? We are here to help! Our platform allows you to chat back and forth with a specialist to ensure that all of your questions are answered. 

Click the "Get Started" button below to set up a free account.

Answer a few simple questions and upload images of your item.

Receive a specialist's valuation by email in 24 to 48 hours.

Get help with the next steps, including consignment and sale.

Mearto evaluates hundreds of similar items each month.

What is the history of collecting?

We all have an innate drive to collect and classify things. From early on, one can find examples of collecting and collectibles. During the Renaissance, for example, nobles often had a “cabinet of curiosities” in their home. Within were displayed various objects, often from the natural world. People also collected man-made objects, such as currency or stamps. 

With industrialization, manufacturers began creating items meant for collection. Some examples are baseball cards, toys, and figurines. Often, these collectibles exist in series. Some items are even sold as “collectibles” or “collector’s editions”  in order to bring up the price or to underscore rarity. A secondary market for collectibles arose, as collectors sought to acquire specific items from a series or particularly rare collectibles.

What could be considered a "collectible" item?

It would be almost impossible to compile a definitive list of the types of collectibles, since the field is so broad. Here are some general categories to know. Remember that this list is not exhaustive and there are a great many items that may be considered collectible that do not appear here. 

  • Figurines: These are small display items valued for their beauty. Often made of glass, porcelain, or crystal, they may be in the form of animals or people. Some popular figurine manufacturers are Hummel, Lladró, Precious Moments, and Royal Doulton
  • Toys and dolls: Many dolls or toys have become collectibles. Some well-known examples of collected toys include Beanie Babies, Hot Wheels, Cabbage Patch Kids, and American Girl dolls. There are also vintage collectible toys. These include diecast cars, wind-up toys, and model trains.
  • Trading cards: There are many kinds of trading cards. Game trading cards for Pokémon, Yugioh, and Magic: The Gathering have huge markets. Sports trading cards which feature a player and his/her stats are extremely popular as well. Baseball cards are the prototypical sports trading card, and have been collected since the late 1800s. Other sports have followed suit, and one can find cards for football, tennis, golf, basketball, hockey, and many more. 
  • Trinkets or prizes included in product packaging: This category of collectible includes items like Pez dispensers, McDonald’s Happy Meal toys, Cracker Jack prizes, and cereal box prizes. Many companies have used this kind of marketing campaign to promote themselves, and some of the prize items are now quite rare and may hold value. 
  • Matchboxes and matchbooks: The collection of match-related items, or phillumeny, dates from as early as the beginning of the 1800s. The largest phillumenic collection, according to the Guinness Book of World Records, belongs to Steven Smith of the UK, who owns 20,736 matchboxes!

What was the most expensive collectible ever sold?

Over the years, collectibles have brought high prices at auctions. In the world of sports cards, the most expensive card sold is of baseball player Mike Trout of the Los Angeles Angels. His card went for $3.9 million in 2020. 

The priciest Pokémon card sold at auction went for $195,000 in 2019. In 2021, a record was broken for the highest price of a Magic card at auction. The 1993 “Black Lotus” card, signed by its illustrator, sold for $511,100 on eBay.  

The most expensive matchbook ever sold at auction was in 2015, when a buyer paid $6000 for a rare matchbook designed for a 1927 celebratory dinner party for Charles Lindbergh.  

How are collectibles valued?

Collectibles are valued according to several factors, including rarity, condition, age, and category. If a collectible item is rare, it will be more expensive. This could be because it is a limited edition or because it may be one of the last surviving examples of something. For many categories of collectibles, there are limited production runs, and this affects the price of items. 

A collectible’s condition is important as well. An item’s value will be higher if it is in good condition. This includes being free from stains and environmental damage, like bleaching from the sun or musty conditions. The collectibles’s value is also higher if it has not been repaired or had any parts replaced. Generally, alteration or damage will negatively affect the price. However, in some cases, a signature on a collectible can greatly increase its value.

It is important to get an expert appraisal of a collectible, since some manufacturers sell “collector’s editions” or claim that their items are valuable and scarce, when they are not. The 1990s Beanie Babies craze exemplifies the boom and bust market surrounding some collectibles. Experts at Mearto can differentiate between a collectible of real value and one that only is perceived that way because of marketing strategies. 

Finally, a collectible will be valued according to what kind of collectible it is. A manufacturer’s mark or identifying characteristic is important to note. Since there are so many categories of collectibles, it is important to get an expert appraisal to determine your item’s estimated price. Mearto’s appraisers have specialized knowledge about many types of collectibles and will give you an expert valuation of your item.

Would You Like to Sell Your collectible?

Mearto offers two opportunities to sell your collectible based on its current fair market value:

Customers with collectible expected to sell for $5,000 or more can take advantage of our complimentary Consignment Concierge service. We will contact leading auction houses on your behalf, collect offers and help you negotiate the terms of a consignment agreement. There is no additional fee or commission for this service.

For customers with collectible valued between $50 and $5,000, Mearto offers an exclusive Marketplace, which is accessed by a number of art, antiques and collectibles dealers around the world. If there is interest in your item, you will be contacted directly with offers through our platform. In the event of a successful sale, Mearto takes a 7% transaction fee.

To learn more about options for selling your collectible through Mearto, please click here.

Leah

Leah Illingworth is a content specialist here at Mearto. She loves learning and writing about art and antiques each day in addition to exploring the history and stories behind art movements and objects.

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