If you truly do want to turn your hobby into a profitable side business, or just want to make sure you get the best deal possible there are a few things that I recommend you bring with you.
1. Ain't technology great! You probably have this with you already. A cell phone with picture taking capabilities, (close ups if possible) and the ability to get on that new interweb thing. You can truly do research in seconds and find out actual values and what to look for. IE: Did you know that according to experts, 80% of the signed sports memorabilia on ebay is fake? Do your homework. If you're going to shell out a hundred dollars or more for a signed card or book, check out the signature to make sure it's real.
2. Simple to carry, cheap to buy. A jewelers loupe can be picked up for about 10 bucks. Not only great to actually check out jewels to check real from paste, but also to get a close up look at that signature.
3. An electronic scale. I know, who wants to wander around carrying a huge scale. Not a bathroom scale (which I avoid at all costs) but a small electronic scale that measures grams. A typical gold ladies ring weighs between 2.5 and 10 grams. It's important to know if you're buying for scrap weight if it's 2 or 10. At 18-19 dollars a gram for 10k gold, you could be out a chunk of money in a hurry.The scale also comes in handy when calculating shipping weights for ebay parcels
4. The cheapest of them all. A notepad. If you've picked out 6 or 7 things at the preview you want to bid on, it's extremely handy to take down any notes as it's easy to forget. Like, did that tin toy come in a box? What were the markings? Trust me, you won't want to forget this one. It's also really handy to take down other collectors info as they may have what you want and visa versa.
5. Ok, this one is actually for between the preview and the auction. Reference books. I've created quite a library on all things collectable. From books on silver makers marks, to comics, to rare books, to beanie babies, to pottery, to tin toys etc. I seldom spend more than a buck or two as all I'm trying to do is get a feel for the particular item. For instance, an original Robbie the Robot Japanese made tin toy has been reproduced for quite some time. If you can buy one at an auction for $30-$40 you can almost be guaranteed it's a reproduction. ( Robbie can go for over $2500 in the box). A good reference book will tell you how to tell the difference.
Most of my reference books are out of date so the pricing is totally wrong but I know if the item is listed it has a history and I can check the pricing trends if not the actual price.
So, looking forward to the preview on Wednesday, if anyone needs help or any questions answered, give me a call. Happy picking!