Tips for newbie collectors of most anything

Whether it involves celebrity autographs, movie posters, fine art prints, baseball cards, postcards or antique figurines, collecting can be good clean fun for boys and girls of all ages. However, all areas of collecting have fakes, reprints and scams.

The following is a brief but important list of tips that the beginner should read before jumping into the hobby with open pocketbook.

1) Start by knowing that there are reprints, counterfeits, fakes and scams out there. If you start by knowing you should be doing your homework, having healthy skepticism of sellers’ grand claims and getting second opinions, you will be infinitely better off than the beginner who assumes everything’s authentic and all sellers are honest.

2) Learn all you can about material you wish to collect and the hobby in general. The more you learn and more experience you have, the better off you are. Most forgers aren’t trying to fool experts. They’re trying to fool the ignorant.

3) Realize that novices in any area of collecting are more likely to overestimate, rather than underestimate, the value of items they own or are about to buy.

4) Get second opinions and seek advice when needed. This can range from a formal opinion from a top expert to input from a collecting friend. Collectors who seek advice and input are almost always better off than those who are too proud or embarrassed to ask questions.

5) Start by buying inexpensive items. Put off the thousands dollar Babe Ruth baseball cards and Elvis Presley autographed photos for another day.

Without exception, all beginners make mistakes. From paying too much to misjudging rarity to buying fakes. It only makes sense that a collector should want to make the inevitable beginner’s mistakes on $10 rather that $1,000 purchases.

6) Gather a list of good sellers. A good seller is someone who is knowledgeable and trustworthy. A good seller fixes a legitimate problem when it arises, and has a good authenticity guarantee and return policy.

It’s best to buy real expensive items online from good sellers, including those you have dealt with or those who otherwise have strong reputations.

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