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It's finally time to sell thousands of pressbooks!

Hello everyone, though I don't post often here, I read this web site religiously. I just love it and love the knowledge of the members here.

I have been thinking of selling my pressbook collection for almost 9 years now. Since I was 8 years old and was taken to my Grandfather's office at the Winnipeg exchanges (he worked for RKO, then Universal until they closed there) and saw all of those great pressbooks, I have amassed 26,345 pressbooks (this is from a count we did this spring). Of those, 9,750 are duplicates or triplicates, ect.

My health has not been very good, and I have had a successful store on Ebay, selling the pressbooks either alone or with a one sheet, 3 sheet, 6 sheet, lobbies or photos or 1/2 sh and inserts. Right now I have some 1400 items there. I've almost decided to sell them off five or six times now, getting very close to sending them all to Bruce or Heritage. But each time I Just couldn't do it. I am 59 now but have certain health issues which doesn't allow me to do all of this work, especially the packing bothers me most, I don't mind scanning them (I purchased an oversize professional scanner that scans 21 inches by 28 inches for the largest pressbooks). 

If there is anyone here who has sold off their collection I would love to talk with you to help with the process as far as feelings. There is grief, loss and other emotions, these are my babies! hehe.

In the meantime I have still been purchasing the odd pressbook, and trading with some collectors for ones I do not have and will continue to do this until I am 100% sure it is time. This is no easy decision to send a collection of 51 years to someone to sell off, and most of the time taking a chunk. I realize it would take forever for me to sell these individually and those who accept something like this are in for alot of work to sell them. I've talked to Bruce a number of times about this, but backed out because the decision is so darn hard. He's been very patient with me.

I have decided this winter to take the most valuable, and list them on Ebay and try to get the most I can from them. I have all of the original Disney pressbooks (except Song of the South), the original Gone with the Wind, Casablanca, all of the Bette Davis and Shirley Temple movies, every Bogart, ect. And about 98% of my collection have no cuts, and we even did a percentage for folds, 82% have not been folded.

So, if anyone is dealing with selling off all they have, I would like to talk with you just to try and get some support and comfort around this. It really has turned into one of the hardest things I have had to do. Thanks for your help.

Comments

  • I have too wondered what will happen when I am ready to purge. I've tried from time to time to list on eBay or other locations. Joked that I would bring a u-haul to EMP.  I was just talking about how Bruce's move away from lesser value items have created a void in the market. I am waiting for someone to step up - the wife already shut me down when I presented my business plan. lol...

    I think one has to accept that no one will really love your collection the way you do. BUT if you can gain enjoyment from helping other collectors meet their collecting goals that may be worth more than selling.

    I don't think there is an emotionally easy route. I personally hope to retire, open a little shop, paperback everything despite popular opinion and visit with people. Hoepfully, I won't have to sell to eat... 
  • Unfortunately (or fortunately at this point in my collecting journey?) I don't have any guidance or advice to give...

    But I just wanted to wish you the best of luck when you do ultimately decide the time has come to transition your collection as you sound genuinely passionate about your "paper babies" :)
  • Hi Movieman,

    If it was me, I would either 1) figure out a way with Bruce to get all your pressbooks (including your most valuable ones) to West Plains, MO, and let the pros handle it all; or, 2) Sell the whole lot to a dealer (including all the most valuable ones) at the highest offer.  It's a hard decision to make, though once you make the decision and follow through, I think you'll feel relief and less stress the sooner you can make it happen. Best, Okie
  • "I was just talking about how Bruce's move away from lesser value items have created a void in the market. I am waiting for someone to step up - the wife already shut me down when I presented my business plan. lol..."

    Charlie, I think you are talking about a "void" that is illusory! If we were unable to make a go of auctioning $1 to $19 items individually, what makes you think anyone else can? I think the only realistic alternatives to selling such items is one at a time at fixed prices, because the sad fact is that there are few collectors looking to pay retail for such items, and you need to get them listed at fixed prices and wait until those buyers at retail come along (which often takes a long time). Or sell all the $1 to $19 items in bulk lots. Or just put them away and hope they improve with age.

    "If it was me, I would either 1) figure out a way with Bruce to get all your pressbooks (including your most valuable ones) to West Plains, MO, and let the pros handle it all; or, 2) Sell the whole lot to a dealer (including all the most valuable ones) at the highest offer."

    Okie, I think that is great advice. Yet movieman has hit on the one strategy I think will hurt him badly in the long run, which is to sell his best items, and then leave himself with a large collection of lesser items that will be VERY hard to sell in any fashion. I hope he listens to you, because like you, I believe either of the options you suggest will be far better for him overall.

    But whatever he does, I wish movieman the best of luck!
  • I think the only realistic alternatives to selling such items is one at a time at fixed prices, because the sad fact is that there are few collectors looking to pay retail for such items, and you need to get them listed at fixed prices and wait until those buyers at retail come along (which often takes a long time).
    I agree with you Bruce. People offer me collections fairly regularly and many expect to get retail prices without doing any work at all. Sometimes it is hard to even get them to provide a list of what they have, let alone condition descriptions, etc. There is no getting around the fact that selling lower priced posters. etc is time consuming and there is a cost involved in that.

    eBay charges a hefty commission on sales these days and there are all sorts of issues with postage, etc which don't make it easy. 
  • "eBay charges a hefty commission on sales these days and there are all sorts of issues with postage, etc which don't make it easy. "

    That is SO true, John. It has gotten more and more expensive to sell there, and since I haven't raised our rates in a decade or so, it is not much of a spread between what they charge and we charge, and we do ALL the work, and eBay does NONE of the work.

    Maybe time to raise our rates? Thanks for the idea, John! 

    Just kidding!
  • edited September 10
    My humble advice is: pack those duplicates all together, get them to West Plains and let Bruce auction them.
    First advantage is you are in the States, and shipping so much material is possible (imagine the cost of shipping that amount of paper from overseas! Prohibitive!!)
    Second, they're duplicates, you will still have a copy of each in your collection. Third, you'll end up with some cash in your hand, and a lot of free space at home (and you'll spare the work of packing and shipping individually). It's all winning!
    I've sold a lot of pieces in my collection that I once thought I'd never sell and to my surprise, I've never missed them as much as I thought I would. 
  • 110x75 said:
    I've sold a lot of pieces in my collection that I once thought I'd never sell and to my surprise, I've never missed them as much as I thought I would. 
    It is amazing how rarely I ever hear ANY consignor say they are sorry they sold items. Of course sometimes they rise a lot in value, and the person would have liked to have that extra cash, but most everyone realizes that hindsight is 20/20, and that lots of things DON'T rise a lot (and sometimes drop),

    But LOTS of people express the relief at no longer being "owned" by their collection, always afraid of a fire, or a theft, or a busted water pipe. 

    Someday movieman will be ready, and he has several options, and I hope he picks one that yields him the most money.
  • I was sorry I sold off a few items...in the end I just replaced them with another copy.
    Not many though.

    I am where you are now.  It is just getting too much and too overwhelming.
    Not being in the US the options are limited as shipping to the states is HORRENDOUS.

    I am in the process of rehoming a few key pieces that I know other collectors want and will appreciate.
    The lesser stuff I will bulk list and then the rest list in numerous places.

    I am hoping that I will be left with a manageable size collection that wont drive my kids nuts when its my time.
    They have expressed interest in some pieces which they will get to choose what they do with.

    I really don't to burden them with working out wtf to do with everything.  Its my obsession, not theirs, hence my problem, not theirs.


  • "I really don't to burden them with working out wtf to do with everything.  Its my obsession, not theirs, hence my problem, not theirs."

    That is the biggest favor any parent with a large collection can do for their kids. Trust me. ALL they will care about after you are gone is the dollars (or marks or francs or whatever), and if they make the wrong phone call they can be mightily screwed by someone who later brags what a great deal they got.

    Either sell or greatly reduce your collection while you are around, or leave a very clear plan. Your heirs will thank you!
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