Liquidating a gamer estate

Options for efficiently liquidating a large collection of games, typically as part of an estate.

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Selling on eBay, Amazon, and Facebook Marketplace

Eric Engelmann
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Given eBay's requirement that you provide product descriptions and an original photo for each game you sell, including dimensions of the shipping carton and total weight, the process to sell a game is a lot more work that selling on BGG. eBay fees are much higher than BGG fees and, in my experience, you are much more likely to be cheated by unscrupulous buyers who get arbitrary support from eBay, where the buyer is always right. If you make a try for eBay, you'll need to decide between Buy-It-Now and auction style sales.

Although the labor is only about the same as for BGG, selling on Amazon is a challenge. Many publishers ask Amazon to ban any sales of games except by their approved vendors, ostensibly to combat sales of counterfeits. Amazon support for outrageous buyers is even worse than eBay's. I suggest you add an 8% fraud margin for typical board games into your sales margins.

If you are in an area with lots of gamers, Facebook Marketplace makes sense for the most popular games. It cuts out all the fees, potential chargebacks, and packing/shipping costs and stress. For obscure games, Facebook will work poorly. For Monopoly, Scrabble, Trivial Pursuit, etc., it may be the only thing that WILL work.
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Tue Nov 12, 2019 2:34 am
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Eric Engelmann
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This blog offers ideas you might use to ensure your estate, and the gaming community we love, get the maximum benefit from the game collection you've amassed.

Instructions to your estate executor https://boardgamegeek.com/blogpost/51139/instructions-your-e...
Menu of collection liquidation methods https://boardgamegeek.com/blogpost/51188/menu-collection-liq...
Preparing a collection for liquidation https://boardgamegeek.com/blogpost/51144/preparing-collectio...
Purchasers of Game Collections https://boardgamegeek.com/blogpost/51711/purchasers-gamer-co...
Selling on BGG https://boardgamegeek.com/blogpost/52746
Selling on eBay, Amazon, Facebook Marketplace, and Craigslist https://boardgamegeek.com/blogpost/96882
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Wed Jan 18, 2017 7:28 pm
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Selling on BGG

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If your estate liquidator has the time and ability to liquidate games themselves, they might try using BGG to do so.

The HUGE challenge for a non-gamer trying to do this is correctly and adequately identifying the games in the collection. I'm a pretty serious gamer, and STILL get it wrong on about one in fifty games from estates I buy. Organize and label your games, especially edition number! You could then list them all in the BGG marketplace with $1000 price tags (or set "vacation" on), so that all your survivor needs to do is change the price to be competitive, and then FIND that game on your shelves. You might include a shelf number with the notes field in every BGG listing. Things happen, so I also attach a very small sticky note with the shelf number to every game I list.

Packing and shipping can be pretty labor intensive, especially on a sale to a difficult buyer. The labor and re-shipment costs associated with a problem sale are significant, so do everything you can to help your survivors get every sale right the first time.

Unfortunately, the BGG Marketplace doesn't offer any method for importing data and its super-lame export function generates a text file that specifically omits any game notes (including any shelf or crate number) and can't be easily imported into anything else. I've made multiple requests for enhancements. Given how easy it would be for BGG to provide this functionality, I've concluded that BGG will never provide this.

Don't want to sell anything just yet? Place your marketplace on vacation and all your offers will be invisible until you switch it again. In addition to writing an Item Signature (under Inventory), I maintain stock text instructions I paste into orders. Here's the text I use. Your own text will vary, of course: "Please PayPal to info@emsps.com. In the message field, please include your BGG name, WHAT you are buying, a local phone number in case of a delivery problem by the carrier, and confirm that the shipping address used by PayPal is correct. Thanks!"
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Mon Apr 4, 2016 3:45 am
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Purchasers of Game Collections

Eric Engelmann
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This is the very beginning of an attempt to build a list of links and comments on potential buyers of large gamer collections.

Congress of Gamers, my own company. We'll be more competitive on Euro games in the mid-Atlantic area, but any large collection of any type (RPG, war games, euros, etc., 200+ games) anywhere in the continental USA is of interest.
BGG User Brad Miller (https://boardgamegeek.com/user/Windopaene) buys collections in the Seattle area.
Noble Knight games buys large game lots. http://www.nobleknight.com/SellingTrading.asp
http://www.finegames.com/trade-in.htm (Mainly just war games?)
http://www.trollandtoad.com/ But I only see CCG purchasing. Am I missing something?
http://www.towerofgames.com/trade.html buys board games, RPG, and CCG material
https://boardgameco.com/trading/ Their focus is trading, but they will also buy a collection.
Dragon.Eggs@RetailBusinessServices.com Dragon Eggs buys game collections of all sizes, primarily roleplaying and board games (family, euro, and war games), from vintage to new, and from a few modules to hundreds. No CCG's.
BGG user OfficeGlen (https://boardgamegeek.com/user/officeglen) buys wargame collections or sets in Canada.

Any other recommendations? PM me or leave a comment here.
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Thu Mar 3, 2016 2:45 am
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Menu of collection liquidation methods

Eric Engelmann
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Here's a list of options. Details for each will be in separate posts.

1. Sell the bulk of the entire collection to a dealer. If the collection is in good order and catalogued, you can solicit quotes for a quick sale.

2. Sell yourself using BGG, eBay, Facebook Marketplace, Craig's List and Amazon.

3. Donate to a local gaming group, which will likely keep some and then sell or otherwise distribute the rest.

4. Sell at board game convention auctions and/or auction stores

5. Some few "brick and mortar" local game stores may buy games or sell on consignment, but it's unusual to find one prepared to accept a collection of 200+ games.
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Mon Feb 15, 2016 10:58 pm
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Preparing a collection for liquidation

Eric Engelmann
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Some gamers have highly organized collections. Most don't.

When estates are liquidated, appraisers will attempt to define them and assess their likely sales value, but also the labor, storage, and time required for liquidation. The easier you make it for a dealer to assess and prep for sale, the more money you can potentially get for your collection.

Here are some factors an appraiser familiar with boardgame sales will use when making a purchase offer:

Liquidity:
Some games are easy to sell. If you post a like-new copy of Terraforming Mars on BGG at below the best available price, it will sell in a few days. If you post a like-new copy of HeroQuest: Elf Quest Pack, at below the lowest offered price (perhaps $400), it will almost certainly sell, but it may take a year or more.

Labor:
Some games are easy to uniquely identify and describe. A shrinkwrap copy of a popular new game is easy to identify and doesn't need to be checked for completeness. A worn and dished box labeled "Civil War" can require 20 minutes of labor to prepare for sale, or get returned after sale because it's missing some of its many components. If the collection owner places a note in each open box defining its state (complete, missing XXX, YYY Expansion included, etc.) it will make it easier to sell, and thus more valuable to an estate buyer.

Storage:
A box of sleeved and boarded S&T Magazines is easily and very compactly stored, inventoried, offered for sale, located, packed, and shipped. Badly dished game boxes with torn corners bleeding parts much less so. BTW, buying magazine sleeves and boards and properly storing your unpunched magazine games is worth the effort. Magazine sized sleeves will cost about $.10 each for 100 sleeves. https://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_sb_noss_1?url=search-alias%3...

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Preparing Your Games:
Catalog: an up-to-date BGG collection is a huge help. Make sure you share the collection link along with the instructions (and password!) for your executor. Use tinyurl.com for a simple link. If your surviving spouse will liquidate games via BGG's marketplace, you could list EVERYTHING you have in the marketplace and set a VERY high value. Your survivor would then just need to adjust prices to competitive levels when ready to start selling. Be sure to show them how to do that in advance, or give them contact details for a friend who can guide them through a few sales to get started.

Repair: Here are details for box repair. https://boardgamegeek.com/geeklist/20894/surgery-board-game-.... This is easily done on a box-a-day plan. If you are willing to trade a few minutes of your time for a dollar or more (sometimes much more) of increased game value, you should systematically repair most dished and split-cornered boxes.

Trash: Organize and segregate low value games and parts that can't be sold on BGG. These could be donated to a local game group or sold in lots at board game convention auction stores. A bulk estate buyer will probably see them as a labor, transport, and storage burden, and they will likely reduce the overall quote you get.

Shelving: Label your shelves and indicate locations in your catalog, so that it's easy to find a game when it sells. A veteran gamer can scan multiple book shelves and find Puerto Rico by sight in a few seconds. A non-gamer selling off pieces of your collection will have to spend a lot longer. Try to shelve games so that tops don't collapse over time. One way to do this is to have the entire stack be the same size. Another is to store games on edge instead of flat. Rubber bands can make a mess after a few years. Best to avoid their use in any games you don't regularly play. For games you seldom play, buy a roll of 18" wide food wrap plastic like this: https://www.cleanitsupply.com/p-3845/boardwalk-18-pvc-food-w... to easily wrap and protect boxes from light wear, insects, and moisture.

Ghoul's list: If you have some advanced notice of your retirement from gaming, you may want to designate some specific games for your gamer friends or clubs. A post-it note with the gamer's name and contact info can be placed on any designated game. You can keep enjoying them while being fairly sure they'll end up in a good home.

RARE stuff: If your collection is blessed with really obscure games, and you have lots of time, be sure to create entries for anything so rare that it has no BGG listing. If yours is the only copy for sale ANYWHERE, at ANY price, why not spend the 10 minutes to add it to the Geek and price it at $999?

to be continued...
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Sun Feb 14, 2016 8:49 pm
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Instructions to your estate executor

Eric Engelmann
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Will your estate executor recognize the value of boxes of S&T magazines, RPG books, and old, obscure board games? If they do, will they know what vehicles should be used to liquidate the various parts of your collection?

This blog will share ideas you can use to ensure your estate gets the maximum benefit from your collection.

================
Just attended an estate sale (a sad case where a young family was wiped out in an auto accident) with a decent games collection. It was the first time I've attended an estate sale where management actually looked up game values on eBay. So, I'll no longer say that estate sales agents NEVER price gamer collections appropriately. Of course, prices ran from way-too-high to that's-a-steal, since eBay prices are often just asking-price snapshots, and versions and conditions aren't easy for estate sales assistants to assess.
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Sun Feb 14, 2016 8:04 pm
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