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Liquidating a gamer estate

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

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Eric Engelmann
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Maryland
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This blog will offers ideas you can use to ensure your estate gets the maximum benefit from your collection.

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 Gamer Collections https://boardgamegeek.com/blogpost/51711/purchasers-gamer-co...
Selling on BGG https://boardgamegeek.com/blogpost/52746/selling-bgg
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Wed Jan 18, 2017 7:28 pm
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Selling on BGG

Eric Engelmann
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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, 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.

Packing and shipping can be pretty labor intensive, especially when you sell to an especially 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.

More to come.
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Mon Apr 4, 2016 3:45 am
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Purchasers of Gamer 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.

I'll start with Congress of Gamers, my own company. We'll be especially competitive in 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 and eBay.

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 Sandworm version of Dune, at below the lowest offered price (perhaps $200), 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 Splendor 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...

================================================================
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 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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