Consign vs. Sell

The single most frequent question new customers ask us is whether they should sell their items or consign them in one of our upcoming auctions. Our answer, in the dozen years we've been in business, has always been the same: CONSIGN. If you have a quality historical autograph or collectible, we unequivocally recommend you consign that piece to auction. Why simply sell when you can confidently consign?

It happens almost every weekend, all across the world: you're cleaning out your parents' attic and find a nondescript scrapbook-- only, when you blow off the dust, you realize a book of Presidential signatures is in your hands. Perhaps, traipsing through a yard sale, you stumble upon a Civil War diary. Maybe, on a lark, you attend a library fair and buy A Farewell to Arms, not noticing until you return home to read it that Hemingway signed the inner leaf. Or, you've collected autographs for years, just for the love of the hunt, but never before considered bringing your treasures to market. When it is time to make the next step, information is the difference between a good or terrible experience.

First, know that the autograph market consists primarily of three groups: dealers, collectors, and relations. Dealers buy, sell, and trade autographs for profit. Collectors attempt to build series of autographs based on criteria that are important to them-- groupings of Supreme Court Justices, for example, or bottles of 19th-century health elixirs. Relations have a link to the autograph; they may be true relatives, or perhaps run a museum or other public exhibit related to the autograph.

Second, understand that the autograph owner (you) ALWAYS LOSES in a private sale. When it comes to dealers, margins matter. A dealer will only offer a price lower than what he believes he can sell the item for. Private collectors, for the most part, do not have the resources to either advertise themselves to you or find you. Relations could fall into any of the above circumstances: usually, if you can find them or they can find you, they will want the item at a low price or even a donation.

Your best course of action is to consign confidently with an Alexander Historical Auctions auction. An auction works like a regulator, to help you be sure you're getting the highest possible market price for your autograph or collectible. More importantly, our auction house has ALL the resources you need to have the best experience in the market. Your item will be thoroughly researched by a professional staff, catalogued in the most accurate, comprehensive, and historically fascinating way, and then superbly presented to the most discerning bidders in the world. We specialize in helping countless consignors navigate their way through this process, which is why we're still in business. Don't settle for some mere simulacrum or remora of an auction house-- join our family of consignors today.