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Buying and selling hunting and fishing collectables

Welcome to the inaugural column on Hunting and Fishing Collectibles. Minnesota is blessed with a multitude of opportunities for anyone wishing to delve into this fascinating and profitable arena. My mission is quite simple-to-provide factual information to assist readers in their efforts to purchase or sell hunting and fishing collectibles. Never underestimate the demand for such items. In the current issue of Hunting and Fishing Collectibles magazine there are numerous examples of purchases that for the average person are hard to comprehend. Let me share one.

During the Copley Sporting Sale, July 15-16, 2009, a nesting Canada goose by A. Elmer Crowell (1862-1952), East Harwich, Mass., c. 1910 sold for a staggering $661,250! This clearly illustrates the huge demand for the right product in the open market.

Before we go much farther, we need to set some guidelines. I will preface my forthcoming comments with a very basic and ugly truth. Any item you have, no matter how valuable you, your friend or what some book says, is only worth what an individual is willing to pay. Remember that and you'll save yourself some grief later on. Next, a very basic premise for all collectibles that determines value is the maker, condition and rarity. That statement is the backbone of most transactions in this field. Back to our earlier example. Any carving by A. Elmer Crowell is as good as money in the bank. If you find the price for the goose hard to believe, consider this. Two of Crowell's decoys were recently the first birds to break the one million dollar barrier. That's correct. Over one million dollars each, for two of his carvings. Most of us can't comprehend those figures. However, a lot of people have a great deal of money. Understand, I won't spend much space discussing sales like the one mentioned. I share that to get your attention to the magnitude of this effort across America.

All of us in our daily purchases understand the law of supply and demand. So it is with hunting and fishing collectibles. High demand and low supply will almost always drive up the cost. This is what you look for when selling. In reverse, high supply and low demand will almost always drive down the cost. This is when you buy. Sounds a lot like purchasing stocks and is a good analogy. Thus, there is a right time to sell and a right time to buy. The challenge you face is when to do either. I learned quite some time ago I can always sell an item in demand, but the devil comes due if I ever wish to replace it. Keep in mind when you sell something it's gone-that's the end of it. Make sure you have a good use for the money you get in exchange. Otherwise, I recommend you don't part with an item that is near and dear to you.

Most collectors start out with their purchases being a hobby. Somewhere down the road many realize this hobby as a form of diversification with their financial portfolio. Sounds odd, but is a very accurate statement. How many of us lost money in the stock market over the past ten years? I did. I know hindsight is always 20/20, but had I put the funds I lost in sporting collectibles, I would much farther ahead today with my portfolio. Please don't think for a second I am suggesting you drop out of your current financial strategy. I just want you to be aware of an additional way to invest your money if you are fortunate to have excess funds. On the other hand, if you wish to have more funds to do business with your financial advisor, then selling such items is a means to accomplish your goal.

I don't consider myself an expert in this field as that is a dangerous mentality. However, I spend considerable time with this passion of mine. I have a multitude of resources, which assist me in my efforts. My personal goal is to help you in making informed decisions on whether you want to buy or sell hunting and fishing collectibles. Please consider what I share as a type of smorgasbord. If you like the information then by all means use it. If not, then don't waste your time with it.

In closing, a brief explanation on future articles. I propose to share very specific examples on hunting and fishing collectibles that many of you will be familiar with and often geographically relevant. For example fishing lures by Creek Chub, Heddon and the like. We will talk about fishing decoys, shotgun shell boxes, duck decoys, duck calls, knives and so much more. I will share resources for you to read about, locations to buy and sell collectibles. Finally, I will end each article with what I call, "Oh my word!" Simply stated, I will provide you with a recent sale of a hunting or fishing collectible that will have you scratching your head and asking yourself, "what were they thinking?" I think it's time to stop -- for now.