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How to Price Antiques & Collectibles for Resale

The most important factor to consider when purchasing an antique or collectible for resale is what someone is willing to pay for the item - your list price. Before putting your hard earned cash in a dealer's hand for an item you plan to resell in your shop take a moment to ascertain the true value of the item - in other words 'buy well'. Know your market. Study online and printed price guides, check what a similar item sold for at auction, and comparison shop online and at antique stores and malls. Is the item a highly sought after item or is the item 'trending' in the current market? Also, keep in mind that not all buyers are collectors. If relevant, how will your selling price compare with the price of a similar antique or vintage reproduction or new item? Determine the difference in value between a massed-produced and easy-to-find item with owning a one-of-a-kind or hard to find item.

In order to price your item for resale you must first determine the 'true' cost of the item. The item cost is not only the amount you paid for the item, it also includes other monetary factors as well. Knowing the 'true' cost of an item will not only give you the information necessary to determine the selling price, but it will also help you to make future decisions about an item listing, such as how long to maintain the item in your shop and still make a profit, when to reduce the list price of an item down for a quick sale, or mark it as a possible Red Tag sale item.

Calculating the Listing Price

Each item has a cost associated with it. These costs must be factored into the selling price in order to cover the 'true' cost of the item, plus make a profit. Costs to include when pricing an item are:

The purchase price. Keep accurate records of your purchases - include the price, condition, date of purchase and listing date, along with a photo of the item, so you have the information on hand when it comes time to price your item.

Listing Fee. How much will it cost you to list an item in your shop?

Maintenance Fees. Consider how much it will cost to maintain an item in your shop. Estimate how long you can maintain an item without going into the red. Either add the amount of maintenance each month to the cost for a single item or determine a percentage to charge per item listing.

Overhead Expenses. - Determine all overhead expenses to run your shop which are not included above, such as what it cost to dedicate 'real estate' to house your inventory, what marketing expenses you will incur on a monthly basis such as paid online advertising or ads in print publications and how much you will pay for featuring and clicks; plus the amount you spend on business cards, shipping materials and other supplies. And don't forget to pay yourself for the the amount of time you spend hunting for treasures, keeping records, writing descriptions, listing items, and taking photos. With this information in hand you can then accurately calculate a percentage amount to include in the cost of each item to cover your overhead expenses.

Profit. After expenses, how much profit do you wish to make from the sale of your items? The profit margin you wish to achieve can be any percent you choose. Some sellers use one profit margin for all of their items, for example they add 30% of the cost of the item to the item price. Some sellers have a different price margin for each item they sell, the margin being determined by the value of the item minus the cost.

Keep in mind, if an item sits in your shop month after month, doing little more than collecting virtual dust, then the item is most likely over-valued or not sought after by collectors or others. To continue to maintain inventory that is not selling is an expensive mistake to make. The continued maintenance costs eventually eats away at your profit, and at some point the cost of the item plus associated fees become greater than the list price. Sometimes, it is better to make a small profit on a lot of items than no profit at all. If your costs are greater than the value of the item then you must accept it was a 'bad buy', remove it from your inventory, and learn from your mistake.

Article Last Update: September 29, 2013