Article updated: 2019.05.10
There are times you'd like to sell your miniatures. You might lose interest in gaming entirely, change armies, or in dire need of money - you'd like to change your collection into something more useful to you.
Where can you sell your used miniatures?
Besides eBay there are several other places you could go to swap or sell your miniatures. There might be miniatures trading markets in your area, and there are usually opportunities for this at gaming conventions. If you'd like to sell your stuff online, I've gathered some possible places to go:
What are your miniatures worth?
I often see posts on online forums requesting the evaluation of the worth of their miniature collection. That is a very tricky thing, but you have to keep in mind the rule of trading - the worth of anything is the amount of money someone is willing to part with to get that thing. There are no set prices out there, even for miniatures that are in production.
When you ask someone who is interested in the miniature, they will be biased to say a lower price as part of the haggling process. If you ask someone who is not interested in them, it can be dismissed most of the time, as they have no real idea. If you ask someone who sells miniatures for a living, why would they help you for free?
In production miniatures: The maximum price you should ask for them is the amount of their original price plus the shipping cost to the part of the world the buyer lives. Most likely nobody will be willing to pay this price, but it's good to know your limits. As there are always sales and bargains in several webstores, consider a -10-20% off from this maximum price if the item is sold widely all over the world. If it is close to Christmas time, there will be 50% sales too. Buying an original one usually doesn't get cheaper than 50%, so if you set that as a starting price, it's not a bad idea.
Out of production (OOP) miniatures: There are no set prices any more, so the worth of them is totally random. Anything that is not easily available can be worth a lot for a dedicated collector. However the same miniature can be a useless junk for gamers that stick to the newer rules, newer sculpts that are probably being in production. No matter what you see on eBay, those prices only show the amount of money someone once spent to get that product. If that person doesn't want a second one badly, they won't pay the same amount next time. And you can't know if there are people that will need that mini at all. It all depends on your buyer:
- Collector: The amount they are willing to spend depends on their pocket. As long as they need it and it's hard to get, they might be willing to pay a lot.
- Average gamer: Take a look at the market, see what a similar new miniature would cost. If someone needs a mini for their army, they would buy it for that amount if it would be available. For similarity, consider the material, pose and quality of your own miniature and the ones you are comparing them to. An old metal sculpt is probably worse than a new plastic one, unless someone prefers that kind of aesthetic.
- Cheap gamer: Take a look at the market, see what a similar new miniature would cost, and use the percents mentioned for the in production miniatures (going with half of the new one is a good base for a starting price).
Unused / unassembled / new on sprue (NoS) / good quality miniatures: These miniatures are still in their original condition or close to it. Most of the time you can get the maximum amount for these.
New in box (NiB): Being in the original packaging can worth a lot for serious collectors. For every other buyer it's worth only as any other unused one, with an added hassle to spend time open the box. If you have time, you can try to ask an insane price for it, you might have luck and find someone who is willing to pay that.
Assembled: If the miniature is not a multi-pose one, assembly doesn't really change the worth of the mini, although for tricky miniatures it might raise it a little bit, especially if there was a need for fillers to fill the gaps (old metal GW monsters and warped Forge World products come to my mind). For multi-pose minis, it really depends on the buyers tastes how do they like the poses, and how easy will it be to disassemble them if they'd like to change that.
If you have conversions in your assembled miniature, it can change the price. Some gamers like a wide variety of models in their army, others try to stick to the official builds and poses. If the additional parts don't come from the same manufacturer, it might change the legality of the model in official tournaments.
Primed: Sometimes having a layer of primer can get you a higher price if it's the right colour, as it makes it easier for the buyer to start to paint it. However, I don't recommend to prime your models just to drive the price higher, because it can also detract from the price if the buyer wants to have a different base colour.
Painted: A good paintjob can multiply the amount you can get, or subtract from the original price. If it's a bad paintjob, it can even lower your chances of selling it because people will feel bad just by looking at your pictures. Before you sell your mini, you might even ask the potential buyers what would they pay for the mini if it were stripped of paint, and if they would like that more, get rid of that old paintjob.
Odd paintjobs can be tricky. If your miniatures are painted in an army colour that is popular, selling it will be easier. If it's painted for an army that no one is interested in, then it can take a long time to sell the mini at a price that includes the paintjob as an increase, even if it's painted to high standards. If it is painted in a non-canon colour, your chances of selling the miniature are very slim, so you could start to calculate your prices for an assembled and unpainted miniature.
What is more important to you at the moment?
Need money quickly! - If you have to get money fast, you won't be able to wait around for good offers. Ask your local friends what would they pay for them, as you can just trade them in person and get money immediately. If they aren't interested, try to find online trade groups (you can find a list of them here) - you might find interested buyers in a few hours after you put up a post. If there's still no interest, you can try eBay. You'll probably won't get the maximum amount you could get out of them if you'd take your time. Also, selling the whole as a lot is a risky idea, but it's not bad one. If someone really needs something you are about to sell, they might get tempted to buy the whole lot just to get that. If you sell your minis individually, make sure you get enough money from your first sells, as you might not be able to sell the rest.
Just want to get rid of them! - If it takes up space, have bad memories of them, or want to get them away fast for any reason, you can try giving them to gamer friends or local clubs for cheap. You"ll get some social bonus points for that. If they don't need it, next stop could be the aforementioned trading groups - people are always on a lookout for good deals. If you still can't get rid of your minis, you can contact us, as the Games Nexus always tries to get a wider range of available miniatures and games.
I'd like to get as much money as possible! - Sometimes you don't have to rush things, but you'd still like to make the most out of your collection. It will take time, and it will involve lot of work and haggling on your part. As evaluating a real worth of any miniature is practically impossible, start with a high enough number, and put it on eBay or advertise it on the trading groups. In this case eBay might be a better solution if you have a fragile ego, as you might get harassed and ridiculed on trading groups for your greedy desires. (It's just a tactic on their part by the way to get better prices from you so don't listen to them.) Don't rush things, take your time. You can never know when will someone feel the need to pay an insane amount of money for that particular miniature. Selling the miniatures individually is probably the best way to maximise your profit. If you wait a year or two and there are still no takers, lower the price a little bit to find out the right one.
The worst thing you can do - No set minimum price
There are some lazy traders who don't set minimum prices, and leave it up to the bidders to say the right amount. The same can be done with eBay with a secret minimum set as a Reserve price, so even if you outbid everyone, you can still lose. This is a bad idea as it could anger people who got involved in the bidding.
- It makes sure you look like someone who has clearly no idea about the real worth of your wares.
- Those who don't like to haggle a lot, won't even look at your stuff.
- Those who start bidding can feel like you are just toying with them instead of treating them seriously.
- You'll still get the minimum amount with a lot more bargaining, because the bidders will start at their own minimum price, not yours, but they will have to bid and bid and bid, until you nod that it's enough.
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Resources - Selling used miniatures
Peep Laja (from ConversionXL): Pricing Experiments You Might Not Know, But Can Learn From: Article about setting prices.
Eric Ravenscraft (for Lifehacker): How to Set Prices For Your Stuff When Selling Online: Article about setting prices.
Alan Henry (for Lifehacker): The Complete Guide to Selling Your Unwanted Crap for Money: Article about setting prices and places to try to sell your stuff.
Leo Giannini (from GMargin): First timers guide to pricing items you want to sell online (Archive.org): Article about setting prices.
Iffy (at DakkaDakka): Acquiring Second Hand Miniatures: Article about the worth of a second hand miniature compared to a brand new one out of the box.
Lee Jerrum (from Talk Wargaming): Selling Wargaming Miniatures on Ebay: Article about how to sell your minis.
Rob Baer (from Spikey Bits): 4 Ways To Get the Most Resale Value For Your Miniatures: Article about how to get the highest price for your miniatures.
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Have you ever tried to sell your used miniature collection? What are your experiences? Do you still have questions about it? Tell us in the comments!