I am going to sell my collection of T parts, probably this year. I am getting up in years and no longer have the desire to restore any more cars. About the most I enjoy is taking a T out once in a while. Since I have no one in the family that cares about Model Ts, its about time to unload them. Its a decision many of us will make at some point. So here's the question. How do you divest yourself of tons of parts? Ebay is fine for the small stuff worth the trouble. But what about the volume of parts one collects over lifetime. It would take me a century to sell the stuff at swap meets and I shudder to think of all the work involved. Any suggestions would be welcome.
You just made your best bet right here. Someone on this forum will buy or knows some one that will buy the entire lot for an agreed price. My long time model T buddy told me the best way to find model T's and parts is to drive around in one. People will start conversations about the cars and let you know who has more parts or whose looking. If you were in Massachusetts, I'd come over today at look at your collection.....
You will need to decide if you want to sell to collectors or a dealer/vendor. As a general rule a dealer needs to buy at 50% of what he may get. The up side of selling to a dealer is they usually will take it all. Where are you located.? If close I may be interested. You should also contact the clubs in your area and see who the big players are. The ones able to buy large collections. Do a little home work. If you do not want to sell to a dealer, then swap meets are an option. But they are a lot of work and the good stuff usually sells and the marginal stuff and common stuff does not. You can also take a lot of pictures of the whole collection, and put it on e-bay with what you want for it as a start price. But be reasonable, If it is mostly common stuff it will not bring you a fortune. You can also list it on the Forums classifieds and deal with a lot of sales, or list it as a complete collection. If you have enough parts, and "put the word out" that it is for sale, "they will come" but again, the best stuff will go first and the rest will usually need to be sold in bulk... Some people use Craigslist, but I have found out it brings out the "crazies" people you really do not want to deal with. But there are also good sales made thru Craigslist. Im going to have to do the same thing in a few years. I have already started letting some of my "personal hoard" go to make it easier. But I am still buying .. It is an addiction ...
Hold an auction and move all the merchandise in one or two days depending on the size of your collection. It will take a lot of prep work to have it done properly but when it's over it's over. You wouldn't be dragging out the reduction process by having dealers, vendors, or people promising to come to look and never show and when they do they want to pick and choose. Contact a few well liked auctioneers ask for references and set an agreed fee as well as what you are hiring them to handle (in writing) and let them do their job. But be sure they properly advertise!
I have no idea what mark @ Model T haven would offer, but I know he makes regular trips to pick up parts and regularly buys large lots. You might give him a call.
You will realize the best price between eBay and Craigs list (and sales on the Forum's classified) ..... but it will take a longtime to dispose of everything.
I agree with Dennis. A well-advertised auction is probably your best bet.
Richard you bring up a good point. Probably more of us 2nd generation Model T collectors than we realize are thinking the same thing.
I haven't quite got to the point of selling it all but getting in my mid 60's+ I have begun to thin things down. I have 2 son-in-laws that are pretty mechanically inclined but they are a different generation. My health is still fairly decent after prostate cancer but I'm not 30 years old anymore and priorities do change.
I know of a local long time T collector who died and they sold it all. They kept 1 car and that was it.
I will keep my Grandfathers 24 Coupe but will probably sell the other 2 T's and thin down my parts here and there.
I would hate to see my cars and parts just given away for a song.
I have a neighbor who mows lawns and about 30 who was given a real nice 30 Model A Coupe for doing a widowed lady's yard work. The car was restored and looks pretty good. It was her car of course but still>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>
Richard, there are 3 ways as I see it. Have a model T swap meet or auction at your house. Sell all your collection to a dealer or take it all to Turlock or Bakersfield.
If most of your parts are early, and you price parts to sell, you can do pretty well at swap meets.
Eric Barrett bought all Ron Browns parts and sold at both swap meets, his prices were fair and he seemed to do pretty well.
I'm going to be in the "same boat" very soon myself, Richard and I've been a city/state licensed Model T business for nearly 12 years now. I've been on this property for 24 years and it's now time to relocate and I'm not moving all this stuff ! Anyone in this great hobby knows that this stuff appears out of nowhere or magically follows one home. Attached photos are just a small portion only in one shop and there are two, my 20' container stuffed to the gills and the upstairs of the house is my "display" area ! Most the marginal parts or any parts I wouldn't put on my own T gets scrapped and I've scrapped tons over the years ! I remember meeting Bob Bergstadt Sr. near 25 years ago (or more) at the Towe auction in Deerlodge, MT when he traveled around the country buying "loads of T parts" - he was one of the few fellows buying up "collections". Not sure what I'm going to do either !
If you are going to have an auction you have to have enough desirable items to make it worth while for the bidders to attend, for the auction company to make a profit and for the prices of the better items to carry the lesser items so it all goes away. Make sure the auction company is knowledgeable, has ample time to advertise and is working at a high enough commission rate to make money. That is what they do for a living. If you hold out for cheap commission that is exactly what you will get for an auction. Cheap service.
If you are thinking of an auction get on www.Auctionzip.com and see who is doing business in the type of items you have to sell. Don't hire an antique auctioneer who sells pearl buttons and dolls to sell your cars and parts. Don't hire a livestock auctioneer. Don't hire the guy who is running a Tuesday night consignment auction in his back yard unless he is also a car guy. Etc.
Ask to see copies of their advertising, check their web site and contact prior clients to see how their auction went. Check the state auctioneer's association listing of auctioneers in your area. Discuss commission last. It doesn't make any difference to you how much money they are making if you get what you want.
I would a lot rather pay the auction company 30% of $100,000 than 10% of $40,000. The right crowd, brought by the right auctioneer on the right day to the right location with the right merchandise sold in the right order with the right lots, the right product knowledge and the right bid calling techniques can make that much difference in your auction's final results.
Make sure you are involved in the advertising. Give them names of people who should receive a brochure, collector specific media they should advertise in, items to highlight in the advertising, knowledge about special items to be mentioned during the auction and well as in the advertising, etc.
Make sure you do your part in the advertising. 100 brochures mailed to special friends, people you have done business with, vendors you have bought from, etc., will bring people to your auction.
In 33 years in the auction business I have seldom found anybody who was happy that they hired the low bidder instead of the best auctioneer. I've heard a lot of stories about how somebody barely lifted a finger before the auction, showed up with no help, didn't do much advertising, didn't have much of a crowd, didn't get much money for anything, didn't even have porta potties for the bidders, took three months to settle the proceeds and on and on and on and on. Virtually every time they hired the low bidder.
None of us is going to live forever. This is not just for Richard but for every one of us who have piles of parts, tools, cars.............. all that stuff.
Somebody is going to own it after you are gone. Your heirs might not be interested in your T parts but I will guarantee you they are interested in the money from them. They might not want to deal with helping to get rid of them but they will cash the check.
Your wife, husband, son, daughter, brother or somebody should KNOW who you want to sell your collection and how you want it done. If you don't want an auction, tell them you want it sold all in one to somebody or given to the car club, whatever. If you do want an auction, tell them who you want to conduct the auction.
I lost a huge auction years ago because the 96 year old 30 year friend of mine didn't tell his wife that he wanted me to do the auction. She hired the first guy that showed up knocking on the door for the commission he quoted. He didn't know the difference between a carburetor and a piston or the Nash Ambassador and the Model A but he had a contract.
If you have an illness that is going to kill you three years from now you can get things organized. But what about the guy who collapses at the mall and never comes back home or the guy who smacks that new Powerstroke into a bridge rail?? What does your family do next with all that crap in the Quonset and all those cars, including the ones you were working on when you went to get parts?
I believe everyone who has a collection that will need to be sold needs to have instructions on who to call to conduct an auction or otherwise dispose of the parts.
Personally, I'm an old bachelor with no relatives within a couple hundred miles who could even find my house without an address and a GPS. I'm like most of you, I need to have clear instructions, in writing, to leave behind.
However, right now I have to get out to the shop. It is a good time to think about it tho, it's the last day of another year.
One more thought. You know me, I have lots more. But only time this morning for this one.
If you are going to have an auction, don't high grade it. Don't pull out the good parts and sell them off first. Don't sell the 5 ball Kingston on ebay and don't let all your friends come and lowball you on your good stuff. Don't have a garage sale and haul stuff to every swap meet in the country for two years and then expect to have a good auction. Bite the bullet. You might only get $600 for the 5 ball but it will help sell those boxes of L-2's and L-4's that you can't give away any where else. Sell that Ruckstell at the auction, not to the guy who comes and tells you that you'll never get what it's worth at an auction. Think about that. If it's going to sell cheap at an auction, why doesn't he wait for the auction and get it cheaper than what he's offering today???
And that 5 ball might bring $1500!
If you are not the kind of person who can roll the dice and see how they fall or see who buys the next round or pays for dinner you probably should not be having an auction. Just run garage sales & put stuff on Craigslist until you have shown every derelict in the country what you have in your garage and house, let them know when you won't be home, stand around hour after hour while people dig through your parts and make lowball offers. But after you have done all that don't expect a good auctioneer to be interested in doing your auction or if he is interested; doing it for the commission he would have before you took the easy money and ran.
I sent you a private message.
Ron the Coilman
What about the Auburn Swap meet or Turlock? They are not far from where you live. Take some of your collection with you and make some flyers to distribute telling about what else you have.
We have several people in San Diego area who are always looking for parts. They restore cars and do work for others in the area.
I'm sure that there are people in the clubs throughout the country and the world who would be running to be first to see what you have and would buy it.
However, don't set the price too high! Especially is that true if you want to sell it all together at one time, because they would then need to buy a lot of things they don't need. They are usually looking for a bargain.
One of our club members passed a few years back. After the business part was sold the relatives are left with a lot of part that he had collected over the years. To the best of my knowledge the parts are being sold piece meal but they were/are for the most part stored outside, which in western Oregon is not the best way. Right now in Oregon and the northwest there is just not enough need to sell that way and what's there might only bring scrap prices if sold auction style.
I like many of us in the hobby, we don't have room or money to just buy the lot to save it all. At some point the city is going to come in and tell them to clean up and we all will loose. If anyone wants to contact me off line I will pass on the sellers contact info if the Craigs list ad is not up.
I'm drooling over here...
I have been collecting parts for a number of years and I am also getting old, but I have two sons that are into T cars more than I am. I am not going to worry about the parts, they will be taken care off. No grand kids yet, but that will be theirs to worry about not me.
Google collector car auction houses. These guys can inventory your parts, get the right customers to attend and run the auction. It'll cut into your profits but the flip side is you can sit on your duff and watch the storage space grow.
I recently decided to thin my collection out, because my cars and parts started to own me in the end. I did the simple math and realized that there will not be enough weekends left in my life to finish everything. I guess its like filling your plate at a buffet, you pile your plate high, only to realize you can't finish it all as planned in the end.
Just my opinion,
Two ways, the first, offer it as a job lot for x amount of dollars with an agreement that whoever gets it remove all items with-in a certain time frame and cleans up all junk at their expense. (probably need a lawyer to draw up a contract.)
Second; go the Auction route but remember, you may get to do a lot of work this way, along with paying a percentage and advertising expense.
I went the auction route a little over ten years ago and was very pleased with the results, there is no protecting yourself with the auction method, I just had to let it take it's course and it worked out well.
good luck Robert
What about the guy that got his parts business back recently? He might need inventory.
Stan is 100% right. the most important part of his comments is carefully decide which process is going to work for you whether it's auction or other, and mainly don't sell off all the good stuff before making that decision because you'll end up scrapping the common heavy iron that no one will even take for free. At least with auction you don't have to haul anything anywhere and your good friends that wanted that special item can come to the auction and buy it. And at the end of the auction......it's all gone!
Ed aka #4
Well I am fixen to be 48 in a few weeks. My collection of parts is not near as nice as most seen here but still,I use what I need from it on my projects. I have no idea where my stuff will go, but I mentioned something about that to my 80 year old dad and he said "you are to damn young to worry about that yet". I dont feel a day over 84 :>)
But it aint just my T stuff that bugs me,it is my old radios and such. I have couple early 1's along with alot of stuff from the 40's and Parts out the ying yang,like resistors and such.And my 8track collection along with the Lear Jet player recorder. I mean really,most if not 99.9% of the people would push the stuff in a green box and it would be lost for ever.
Alot of folks gather and collect stuff and sadly they the only 1's that care about the stuff.Alot times I see and hear tell of wives selling their husbands stuff to the junk man before the grass is grown back over the mans grave. Simply because she was always jealous of the time it took away from her. Kids,sell stuff for pennys on the dollar for dope money.
Sent a P/M