We are all bowerbirds, some more than others. Each week I will explore the joys of collecting and try to answer some of the many questions we receive.

Collectors drive their partners mad (unless you’re fortunate enough to have a partner who also collects). Every nook and cranny becomes filled with your collection. Your partner endures your conversations about some ‘interesting’ specification of your collection. When traveling you have to call into every possible shop in a 20km radius chasing the holy grail of your collection whilst your partner and children sit ‘patiently’ in the car. How many times have you said you will only be 5 minutes? And of course, the more expensive it is, the harder you must justify it to your partner as to its worth or rarity.

Of course, some collectors have been known to tell their partners a few ‘porky pies’ as to just how much they have paid for something. Not that I have ever done that!!

Collectors can’t help themselves from buying several of the one item because it was a bargain. The most important thing as a collector is to do it for the right reason – enjoyment, not for its value. Too many people get caught up in ‘what’s it worth?’

Remember, it’s only worth what someone else is willing to pay for it, don’t get fooled by television antique shows or glossy catalogues with exorbitant prices. In Tasmania, often these prices are far from realistic. At auctions, people get carried away with outbidding others, but there are many factors determining the value. Why do people get caught up in what it’s worth? They often think Christie’s of London needs to know about it.

The true worth of any item will be determined when it is sold and there are many resources you can use to determine value; the library reference books, guides such as Carters, online researching, eBay, and observing similar items selling at antique stores or online. Remember, older items are often unique and CONDITION plays a big part in its value. Insurance/replacement value will differ greatly from selling at auction, garage sale or to a dealer.

Auctions expect to pay about 18% selling commission and most auction rooms have a buyers premium too. A dealer will expect to make a minimum 100%  as they have expensive overheads, often need to clean/repair items and need to be flexible in their final price. As a rule of thumb, at the auction, garage sale or selling to a dealer, expect a price of about ⅓ – ½ of what its selling price will be.

I’m very fortunate to have a career which allows me to treasure hunt and find amazing collector’s items all over Tasmania. We have a huge variety of collections in store; stamps, coins, cameras, books, fine china, maps, dolls, comics, LP records… and I continue to bring in new collections every week. If there’s something specific you’re looking for, visit us in store as we may have it hiding amongst our many treasures! 

Happy Treasure Hunting,

John Cole