Color me paranoid. Iím always a little bit leery when someone from far away contacts me about wanting to sell a collection. Iím not talking about an hour away from me. I mean someone from way out of state contacting me.
Let me clarify a minute. I have purchased material from out of state sellers. Some of these were customers of mine who have stopped collecting due to age and/or health issues.
I never buy material from a seller unless I can see what I am getting. It is impossible to put a precise value on a collection without actually seeing the material. This is especially true with early material where centering and condition can considerably affect the value.
I was recently contacted by a potential seller from New Jersey. Depending on where he lives at, it is about a 7 to 8 hour journey by car because I live just outside of Pittsburgh, on the western end of the state. In other words, this isnít a quick visit.
He explained that he had a lot of valuable material. He mentioned several dealers that he bought from. One of them is fairly close to him.
ďWhy isnít he selling his collection to that local dealer?Ē I thought.
When I was a kid, sometimes I asked my dad permission to do something, like going over to a friendís house to play. Dad had two responses for me. One was, ďNo.Ē The other was, ďGo ask your mother.Ē Dad knew that mom probably said ďnoĒ already and he was my last fleeting attempt at permission to do something. I didnít want to take no for an answer from mom though.
These out of state sellers are similar in many cases. I think they may have offered the collection to someone else. Maybe they see me as a personable guy that they can pull the wool over my eyes and Iíll offer a much bigger price than the local dealers.
I do not have a problem with buying out of state collections. Just be aware that Iím going to be a little suspicious when you call me and you mention other dealers that you have been buying from. Why arenít you offering the collection to them instead of me? They already know you. If you donít trust them to sell your collection to them, then why did you trust them when buying material from them?
If you live a long ways away, thatís OK. Maybe we can still do business. However, I am not buying your collection sight unseen. We have some logistics to work through Ė either a personal visit or sending the material to me via the USPS. If you have been getting $2000 offers from other dealers, I think itís unlikely that I am going to come in at $5000 like you want. Iím probably going to be in the $2000 range too, despite your best attempts to talk up your collection.