How to find a buyer and a fair price for a childhood rock collection?
June 17, 2020 9:00 AM   Subscribe

As a boy, I devoted my allowance money to rocks, minerals, and gemstones. The resulting collection fills a medium-sized tackle box, and includes some cut gemstones and large crystals. I'd like to sell it, but I have no idea how to find a buyer, nor how to choose a fair price once I do find someone. I don't even remember what most of the objects in this collection are, making it very hard for me to just scour ebay or whatever. Any tips?

Some stipulations:

- I don't have the time or inclination to figure out what each item is, assess its quality / grade, and find comparisons for pricing,

- I'm more interested in unloading it within about a month than I am in maximizing the purchase price, and

- I would rather sell it as a package than piece by piece.
posted by dbx to Grab Bag (8 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
Honestly, this sounds like a Facebook Marketplace kind of thing. Unless there's something special about the collection, it's probably going to just be some random person buying it. FB (or Craigslist, if people in your area still do that) would be the quickest way to get rid of it. In terms of price, post a listing with a price that seems a little high to you, and see if anyone bites. If not, repost and lower the price. Basically, you're looking for someone with a young boy to pass it along to.
posted by kevinbelt at 9:15 AM on June 17, 2020 [3 favorites]

Not sure where you are but there are definitely 'rock shops' for minerals (and usually beads, semi-precious gemstones, crafts). The other type of rock shop also sells rock tumblers, etc.

Either should be able to give you a ballpark or an idea of whether its worth anything to anyone. A medium sized tackle box is luggable enough that you could just bring it in with you (if the shop is open again).
posted by porpoise at 9:39 AM on June 17, 2020 [2 favorites]

So as an experiment, I searched ebay for "rock collections" and checked the "sold" listings. I did not find any collections of rocks that have sold as a group (though people list them - it's important to always do the advanced search to check what has actually sold). I found a lot of individual large rocks and crystals. If you do that, you'll get a sense of what people are buying and how much they're paying. You can also see if you think any of your larger crystals are worth the trouble to sell individually.

You can also search "rock collection" on Etsy. There are people who are selling collections, so you could compare your collections to the listing there and try to determine a price, then list on whatever is available in your local area and see what happens.
posted by FencingGal at 10:58 AM on June 17, 2020 [2 favorites]

Best answer: Post a picture and I can give you a guess at what you have and what I'd be willing to pay for it if you were local.

But yeah, your area rock shop might be the best bet.

If you aren't hurting for the money, you can see if the local museum would be interested in a donation for something like children's programs.
posted by Jacen at 11:12 AM on June 17, 2020 [5 favorites]

Best answer: If you aren't hurting for the money, this is exactly the kind of thing you could earn a bunch of karma by finding a rock-loving kid (or a group of rock-loving kids) and giving them the box. Ask them to follow up by figuring out what the rocks are and sending you a list.
posted by spacewrench at 6:28 PM on June 17, 2020 [5 favorites]

Best answer: Or to follow up on the idea of donation, is there a school in a poor area of town with a teacher who might appreciate the rocks? Could be a concrete step to support Black Lives Matter. At least worth asking.
posted by frumiousb at 6:36 PM on June 17, 2020 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: I'm feeling sheepish that I needed someone else to give me the idea of paying it forward. Thanks all! Thanks especially Jacen for offering a casual internet appraisal.
posted by dbx at 8:09 PM on June 17, 2020 [4 favorites]

Sometimes the things that were so important to us are hard to let go of easily.

-someone who still has most of her rock collection displayed as well
posted by Jacen at 1:25 PM on June 18, 2020 [1 favorite]

« Older Looking for a quote about the destruction of...   |   Help me find some country music that I'll like! Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.