Selling Discworld Figurines – few Dos and Don'ts

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Some Discworld figurines are selling for truly astonishing amounts. Since the demise of Clarecraft in October 2005, the resale value of many of the figurines has substantially increased. As a result, more and more people are looking at buying and selling Discworld figurines as an investment. It's too early to say whether this is a good idea or not. And not the point of this guide. But for those of you who do want to start selling off your collection, here are a few suggestions for what to do and what to avoid doing, to make your item as attractive to as possible to Discworld collectors.

1/ List It Properly.
Each Clarecraft figurine has its own name and code number. Use them! And get it right – most Discworld fans have an intimate knowledge of the books, and are rather scornful of people who refer to The Luggage as “a box with legs”. People usually search for the items they want by name and/or code number, so make it as easy as possible for the buyers to find you.
The name and code number is written on the small circular label stuck to the box and to the underside of the model.

2/ Is it Complete?
Most figurines were sold with a small cardboard tent card, with the name of the character and an excerpt from the relevant book. To get the best money for the item, it needs to have the original box and the tent card that goes with it, as well as the sticker on the base of the model. If you have them, say so! If not, say so. Some people can’t be bothered contacting you to find out, and the model will always be worth more if it comes with all the original packaging.

3/ Describe the Condition.
Resin figurines can be fragile. They can also get chipped, or rubbed, or faded from being in sunlight. Look the piece over carefully. Is there anywhere even slightly blemished? Be detailed and honest in your description. If it’s been kept in a display cabinet out of sunlight and dust, say so! If it comes from a non-smoking home, say so (believe me, it’s a bonus). Even badly damage items will generally sell, but no-one likes a nasty surprise when the item arrives.

4/ Price it Sensibly.
The starting price is up to you. But set the start price too high, and a lot of bidders will avoid it. You’re better starting low and putting a reserve on the item – you want as many people as possible involved in the bidding. You want everyone to think that they have a chance – that’s when the bidding war will really start. Go through completed listings, see what price you can realistically expect.
A Buy it Now price is worth considering. Sometimes people will be willing to pay a lot more to be sure of getting a particularly sought-after piece, so give them the option. So by all means, set a really big Buy-it-Now. You might get it. But don’t set your start price only a couple of pounds lower – that’s annoying. There’s been more than one occasion where someone has listed an item that way, only to see someone else with a lower start price raking in the bids.

5/ Use (Good) Photos.
Oh boy. Think about why you’re including the image – there is no point at all in including a photo is it’s blurry or shows more of your furniture/wall/floor/hand than it does of the model.
Some basic guidelines:

  • Make sure there’s good lighting. Turn on the lights if you have to. (Flash photography is ok, but tends to flatten the image a bit, making the details harder to see.)
  • Put the figurine against a contrasting background. A pillowcase draped over a couple of books, a piece of paper blu-tacked to the wall, a propped-up folder.
  • Make sure the camera is steady. Use a tripod if you have one, or rest the camera on something. If your camera has Macro options, use them – the closer, the better.
  • Crop the image. We aren’t buying your kitchen table, so don’t show any more of it than you need to. The figurine should take up almost all of the image. The bigger it is, the easier it is for the prospective buyer to see the condition.
  • Focus on the details. If there’s something unusual about the model – a different colour, a slightly different design – show it! The “sports” are usually worth more than the standard edition. If your model has any damage, make sure the photo shows it clearly. That way people will feel more confident in your description, and can decide for themselves.
  • Consider including a view of the back as well as the front. Give the buyers every reason to pick your model over the other ones.

6/ Don’t Go Over the Top.
Up until October 2005, it made sense to list older items as “retired” (meaning Clarecraft had stopped making and selling them – the longer ago the item was retired, the harder to find). These days everything is effectively retired, so don’t bother using the phrase in your description unless it’s an old piece, and you can say when it was retired.
A similar rule should be applied to “Rare”. Oh, and “Desirable”. Some of the figurines were limited editions, and so can reasonably be referred to as rare. But if they made/sold more than 1,000, it ain’t that rare. No, really. You lose your credibility if you inflate the description. If it is a numbered piece (756 of 1000, for example) then mention it. But don’t get carried away. And please, no more than one exclamation mark.

7/ Check Other Listings.
Have a look at how other listings have been presented. See what sorts of questions are being asked, and make sure you include that information in your ad. Use the other listings as a resource – do you have a rare version of something? Does your model have a particular feature that someone else has mentioned in their ad? Mention it in yours. It could be the one thing that makes the huge difference in price you get.

8/ Don’t list it in Discworld if it isn’t Discworld.
This is a personal peeve. Yes, Clarecraft made Discworld pieces. They also made lots of other figurines. Please, if it isn’t a Discworld piece, don’t list it here! Discworld collectors are not going to go “poot, I’ve missed out on a Draco Nobilis bookend. I know! I’ll buy this fairy!

9/ Check the Spelling.

Good luck!

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