Collecting matchcovers is like one gets into it to get rich! The vast majority of matchcovers are literally worth only pennnies to collectors. Still, if it makes you feel better, if a cover goes for 4 cents, and it was orginally obtained for free, then it's appreciated 400%! Not bad!
"4 cents! But this cover is 46 years old!" True, but 'old' in this hobby means at least Pre-War (1941 or earlier), and even then most 'old' covers are still considered run-of-the-mill. Most of the exceptions are disscussed on the Treasure page.
"4 cents! But this business doesn't exist anymore!" True, but the vast majority of businesses that once existed don't anymore. So, defuct businesses are the norm, not the exception.
"4 cents! But I used to go to this place all the time when I was a kid!" Perhaps you even used to visit that store, or theatre, or restaurant , and thus have a personal connection to it...memories...sentiment. To you, that cover is exceptional...but not to others. When selling covers, the buyer doesn't deal in sentimental value.
Also, as with any collectible, condition is very important. Buyers aren't going to be interested in struck or damaged covers, so that 4 cent cover may not even be worth that.
Thus, if you're looking to sell, and you're a non-collector, you need to be realistic. Also keep in mind:
  1. 1. There are no set values on any of this material. What a cover, accumulation, or collection eventually sells for is strictly whatever the buyer and seller have agreed to.
  3. 2. Most buyers are looking for one of each cover, so, if what you have consists of lots of duplicates of the same covers, that will bring the overall price down even further.
  5. 3. Selling in bulk brings a lower price, since the buyer is paying for what he doesn't want in order to get what he does want. Even so, it should be noted that almost all non-collectors sell in bulk, simply because selling everything at once is the easiest and fastest method of selling.
Even many collectors aren't realistic when it becomes necessary to sell their collections. I've seen it many times over the last 30 years. The collector believes his asking price is reasonable, but, in fact, it's outrageous. The seller has the last say in whether he will sell or not, but the buyer has the final word as to the price. If buyer and seller can't agree, then there's no sale. What invariably happens in such a case is that the collection doesn't sell, and either the seller later brings the asking price significantly down, or the seller's family eventually disposes of that part of the estate for a much lower amount.
All of which brings us back to our opening statement about not expecting to get rich with matchcovers. Any collector would know, but if you happen to not be a collector of anything, it might be harder for you to grasp, but the real value of collecting is not in the collectibles at all. It's in all the thousands of pleasurable hours spent in finding, acquiring, organizing, and lovingly caring for those collectibles. It's in the invariable sense of accomplishment that comes with putting together a collection that garners respect by your peers. It's in the realization that, with all that time and effort, you've become something of an expert in your particular field. And, it's in the many lasting friendships formed over the years. Just recently, in fact, a fellow collector happened to remind me that we have been steadily trading with each other for 35 years.

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