I am a collector. I collect: gather, sort, store, appreciate . . . . . and occasionally resell.

Resellers rarely collect except to "stock up" for resale at a later date. I have nothing against resellers who honestly appreciate the value of what they are doing from a point of maintaining something cultural or significant. Those who merely search out and buy something collectable as cheaply as possible only to resell it as expensively as possible, degrade collecting and destroy the market for everyone who treasures the items they love and the process of attaining them.

My main focus, for over 30 years, has been toys and games. Board games are by far my greatest collecting passion. Among them, Monopoly is clearly my top priority. Of my 4,000 plus board games, nearly half are Monopoly and Monopoly variations, including foreign language, licensed special editions and all sorts of knock offs.

Something that I learned long ago is that anything collectable has three different monetary levels; Price (what someone is asking for it) Cost (what someone is willing to pay for it) and Value (the actual cash value despite what others may think or say).

  In appraising antiques, I used to give my clients all three. “You should ask $200 for the item, it would probably sell for closer to $150 but it has a fair every day actual cash value of $100 to $125”. That’s just an example and the dollar amounts are generally much closer, and it isn’t always in the same declining situation. Many times in the world of collecting, an actual cash value could be higher or lower than what someone is willing to pay for it. The old term “whatever the market will bear” comes to mind. But you can resell anything you want at whatever price you want, and it doesn’t matter if you make money or lose money at that point.

  Professional resellers, of course, don’t see things that way. While a collector can decide to over spend or under charge for their item, a reseller will rarely let themself take less than a 25% profit on everything they sell.

  As a collector, my advice is to always shop wisely. If there’s an item out there for $50 and that price is firm, there’s probably another one just like it in as good or better shape somewhere for $25 or $30 if you’ll just be patient. Get to know what it is that you collect and get to know the numerous sources for these items in the secondary marketplace so that you can build your collection without going broker in the process. The money you save on average purchases just might be the amount needed to really step out there when that rare, mint condition goody shows up.