I hear and read those words far too often. Next to the over used “RARE” attached to everything on eBay, the phrase “What’s it worth?” is my number two pet peeve of collecting. Over the years, I have collected, sold, re-bought, flipped, and re-re-bought so many things. People would ask me how much something they had was worth, and they they are faced with a tl:dr explanation from me.
The worth of an item is an arbitrary thing. It’s based on the individual who is willing to pay for it. Sure, there are other factors such as, how many were produced, how many still exist, and the most important… is it in demand? Just because something is old, or of a certain franchise, isn’t always a guarantee of big money
(I’m looking right at you “Star Wars” seller of “rare” vintage items. By “rare” I mean there are only 500 of them listed on ebay on any given day 😏. By “vintage”, I am referring to the seller who doesn’t understand the word and uses it for anything older than 5 years.)
It’s worth is what someone is willing to pay for it. Price guides are cool, but the market fluctuates so often that a guide couldn’t keep up. Like it or not, things do go down in value. Right now I am fortunate enough to have a decent paying job, in an industry that isn’t showing signs of slowing down. For the foreseeable future I won’t be needing to sell anything that I don’t want to sell, so the “worth” of my collection is much higher to me. If I am faced with having to ever sell again, I’ll figure out the market price and list items accordingly.
So in the end, the questions isn’t “What’s it worth?”, the most important question is, “What’s it worth to you?”. Collect what you like, and share your passion with others 🙂