Sean and I hear it often in our Pokémon adventures: “I wish I would have kept that!” and it’s happened to us too. We’ve sold a card that we later regret selling. In the end, we are happy for our buyers, because the cards went to the right home. Now we ask ourselves, do we really want to sell/trade this? How do we know if we will regret it in the future? How do we decide if we should sell something or keep it?
Some cards are easy. If we have multiples, or a specific buyer, or are fulfilling a list, they go into the sell box without issue. Even some of our favorites will go to new homes. Our buyers truly love their cards and take great care when picking them out. Their happiness and excitement make it easy.
Then there are the cards that go into the keep file. Pokémon like Buizel and Greninja will never get sold, no matter how many copies of one card we have. Cards from our friends, things from surprise mail, certain holo swirls, and a few others go into a special binder. We cherish these and know that no matter what, they will always be with us.
So how do you decide if you should sell your collection or to keep it?
When it comes to that fine line between “yes, lets sell/trade/give this away” and “jeez, we aren’t so sure,” we’ve hit some bumps in the road. We’ve come up with a few ways to make it easier to decide what we’re okay with letting go of and what should be held on to for further consideration in the future. You can think about these things with any type of collectible — but as we specialize in Pokémon cards, we’re going to use that as the example. Here’s how we make faster decisions:
- One of us isn’t sure we want to let it go. The other will agree immediately as neither of us ever want to sell or trade something that the other isn’t okay with.
- One of us loves the art or the wording, or just the entire card, and that may make it a keeper.
- We are both on the fence about it. No questions asked, it gets set aside to be considered later
- One or both of us fell in love with it but might be okay with selling it in the future
- Other reasons: We only have one additional copy of it, we don’t have a specific collector in mind; we don’t know much about it; we just found out something unique about it.
Yes, let’s sell/trade/give away this:
- We have multiple copies of it, and they just keep coming
- Neither of us cares much for the Pokémon, the art, the wording or the card in general
- We are fulfilling something for a specific buyer or collector
- It was found as part of our card hunting service for someone (no matter how much we love it)
- It is a popular Pokémon or card type to collect
- It is very cool, and we think someone else will love it too
- We are close to someone who likes that Pokémon or card type, and we want to send them surprise mail
- It will make someone genuinely happy, even if we love it and want to keep it
Keep What You Love
Keeping something as part of your collection is a personal choice. We all collect differently, and what we like may not be your kind of thing. I haven’t found anyone who is in love with Buizel like I am (he may be my soulmate), and Sean is wild for Celebi (she may be his soulmate). We are also very fond of high-quality Japanese cards and are very picky about PSA graded cards. We prefer most of our cards in raw form. We like to put them in special cases ourselves. In our private collection, we focus on 1999-2010 and specialize in those when selling. Our friends and our buyers are all into different things when it comes to Pokémon, and that makes each collection unique and special.
I always tell people who ask for selling advice the same thing: “if you love it, keep it” because those are the items you will regret selling. Too often, someone will sell something that they truly love, only to regret it and eventually they will repurchase it. While you can almost always find it again, it most likely won’t be the one you originally had (although I have seen that happen) and the feeling may not be the same.
Often, the money you get for your item isn’t worth the regret you’ll feel later. Chances are, you spent time hunting it down and were excited when you finally added it to your collection. It was, and still is, very special to you, and it should stay that way. When it comes to being a collector, there are more investments than just money. You invest your time and your emotions as well.
Sometimes You Don’t Have A Choice
Sometimes life hits us hard, and we have no choice but to sell parts of our collections. This can be due to money problems, moving into a smaller place, or other emergencies that warrant selling. There are few things more painful than selling when you have no other choice. Unfortunately, I have worked with people going through these circumstances, and their pain stays with me. I empathize, but I can’t imagine what that is like.
When this happens, I try to recommend selling what they love the least, but still has enough value to help them. That way, the most loved items are still in their possession, and they have some time to work things out. This increases the possibility they might be able to keep what they would have the hardest time parting with. If this happens to you, and you can afford to do it, work your way from least favorite to most. It will ease your pain, and the entire process will be easier for you emotionally and mentally. You’re already struggling, if you can avoid further stress — it’s better to do so.
Take Your Time
I will always advise against spontaneously selling something because someone offers you money for it, or trading because someone offers to. Really weigh what you’d feel. Once you sell or trade, that item is gone. If, and only if, you are confident you’d be okay with the sell or trade, go forward with it. However, if you are more unsure than not, hold on to your collectible for a while. There will be another buyer/trader (or the same one) that will come along should you change your mind. There are always people looking to expand or complete their collection. If someone tries to make it seem like there won’t be another buyer, they are trying to push you to act before you’re ready.
Remember, if you love it, keep it. Your collection is your own, something you have built over time with a lot of thought and effort. It may be something you do with your significant other, like Sean and I. It may be something you do with friends, which we also do as well. Maybe you collect with your kids or a local group. Or, you perhaps you collect on your own! No matter how you collect, be proud! And if you love it, keep it — then show it off on Gemr!
Gemr is the #1 free app and website for collectors. It’s the best place on the internet to meet fellow fans, show off your collection, talk all things geeky, and buy and sell cool stuff with people who love the same things you do. If you’re looking for the only place on your phone (or the internet) built just for collectors — this is it!