WE BUY COLLECTIONS!
People often ask "Where do you guys get all of that stuff?" The answer is simple: we are very active buyers of militaria. In fact, much of what we buy comes from other collectors. We buy single items, complete collections, and even the occasional military museum.
What kind of items do we buy? Good, quality general line militaria - just like you see in the catalog.
How much will AGM pay for items? This depends on the item. If it is an item that we need for a specific catalog cover, we may pay more than we will sell it for! On the odd occasion when we find an item that is neat, but of extremely limited collector interest, we will buy it but only if it is quite inexpensive. For vast quantities of low-end material: i.e. the 'lifetime supply' of GI shoelaces, the purchase price will need to be literally pennies on the dollar since it will be decades before the items are finally all sold. However, some items that are in very high demand (or we just fall in love with) will be purchased for as much as 70% to 80% of expected sale price. In most cases, though, for normal good items we try to pay 50% to 60% of the expected retail sale value. This allows us to make a small profit after expenses are met.
Bear in mind, once you sell us your collection, you're finished. In all probability, the transaction will have taken about 2 hours of your time. You can open a beer, find something entertaining on television, and put your feet up. For us, though, weeks and months of work have only just begun.. and no matter how nice the collection, only a certain portion of it is going to sell when we bring it to market. The items that remain will need to be taken around to shows, and eventually sold at a discount below the original retail price.
Wholesale Pricing: There are a number of excellent, reputable militaria dealers in the business who will treat you well. There are also, unfortunately, quite a few who will try to take advantage of you. Everyone has similar expenses. All need to buy at wholesale and sell at retail. The difference usually is in the approach: If you are asking $80 for an item that would retail for $100, a good dealer will look at your item, acknowledge that it is a $100 item, and offer you $50 or $60 depending on how quickly it is likely to sell. The rest will look at the same item, tell you that for whatever reason it is really only worth $50, and graciously offer you $35. You will feel better selling it to the second guy... until you find out what he wasn’t telling you.
How should one go about selling to AGM? For one or a few items, give us a call or send an email with a list and description of the items that you have. (Photos are very helpful.) Note the price that you would like to get for them. If they are interesting items and we feel that there is a reasonable profit to be made, you will have a sale. For a large group of items or a complete collection, call with the details. If it sounds like a promising deal, we will travel to your location.
Why should you sell to AGM? Two reasons: quick results, and fair treatment. As soon as the catalog comes out, our attention turns directly to one goal: turn the money from this catalog into new stuff for the next one! Rather than deal with the time, work, and expenses involved in selling each individual item yourself, you can get your items sold quickly and profitably dealing with AGM. This is not a side business for us - it is a career. For us to be successful in the long-term, we must make sure that the people who we buy from are happy. The best advertising we could hope for occurs when the people that we buy from say nice things about us to their friends and fellow collectors.
When should you NOT consider selling to AGM? There are usually as many as a dozen or more collections for sale at any one time, so to some degree we have the luxury of choosing where to spend our $$. Here are a few scenarios that almost always guarantee that we will pass on a potential transaction:
> If you are contacting a bunch of potential buyers all at once. Resources are limited for all militaria dealers, and if we travel to view your collection with the intent of purchasing it, it usually means that we had to pass up an opportunity to go somewhere else and look at a different collection. We prefer to work with folks who are dealing exclusively with us until the deal is either done or not done.
> If you don't have a price in mind, but expect us to submit a 'bid' which will then serve as the start of negotiations with yet another potential buyer.
> If you want to hold an item-by-item negotiation for a large collection, starting with the flotsam and debris and eventually working your way up to the nice pieces. We're going to look at a 1000-item collar disc collection, evaluate it, and buy it as a collection, not one disc at a time.
> If you have already sold (or are about to sell) a number of the premium pieces of your collection to other buyers, collectors, family, friends, etc. We're willing to buy the whole collection, to include the pieces that we would normally not be very interested in.. but we also expect to get the premium pieces as well. (Call me crazy..)
Bottom line - we're pretty much 'all cards face-up on the table' sort of folks. If we offer you $1,000 for something, it's not because we're secretly willing to pay $2,000, but enjoy a good theatrical production of haggling. Normally I like to cut to the chase and offer the best possible price right away. It's so much simpler. If we're close, and you need to suggest minor adjustments, by all means feel free.. but don't assume that we start at one point and slowly work our way up like they do on television. It might be good for ratings and suspense, but in real life, it's just a painful waste of everybody's time. I like to say that I know the offer is a fair one when I am half afraid that the seller will say "yes." We've certainly over-paid for more than a few collections in the course of our business, but that has earned us a tremendous amount of good will, loyalty, and happy referrals.
We look forward to hearing from you!