Liquidating Your Collection
We at the DGMG often receive emails like this one –
I wanted to reach out to see if your organization might have any ideas. My father-in-law recently passed away and one of his interest was lapidary work. I still have a few boxes of some nice stones. Do you have any ideas on how best to sell these stones?
Here are several suggestions:
Yes, don’t overlook the obvious. Yard sales can be a great way to sell your rocks, especially for “lower end” specimens. Some of our members were known for their yard sales and have done quite well with them.
Pro Tip: Be sure to advertise your yard sale to any and all of your local rock clubs Their members are always interested in hearing about bargains on more rocks! You can find your local clubs through the American Federation of Mineralogical Societies website. You should contact them at least two months before your sale, so that they have ample time to spread the word to their members.
Below is the list of Mineral Clubs in the Denver CO area:
Flatirons Mineral Club
Littleton Gem and Mineral Club
Colorado Mineral Society
Mile Hi Rock & Mineral Society
Friends of Mineralogy
Western Interior Paleontological Society
Denver Gem & Mineral Guild
Lake George Gem & Mineral Club
Colorado Springs Mineral Society
The advantage of a flea market over a yard sale is that you should have many more buyers come your way. The disadvantages are that there will be fees and you will need to haul all your goods, along with tables to set them on to the flea market location.
A note about taxes – according to the IRS, if you sell your personal possessions at a yard sale or flea market for less than the original purchase price, the federal government requires no tax payment.
And Colorado State law requires that any vendor selling more than five times per year at any flea market in Colorado, must have a sales tax license to collect and submit state sales tax.
Estate Sale or Auction
Estate sales are more formal and are meant to get rid of a late family member’s entire estate. You may choose to conduct this yourself or hire a company that specializes these sales. These companies may typically charge between 25 – 50% commissions from your sale. Another alternative would be an Estate Auction. Check out this article from the Washington Post for a comparison of the two methods.
You can do a google search for estate sale companies near me or estate auction companies near me to find them.
Again, for sales of a significant rock collection, be sure to notify any local rock clubs well in advance of your sale.
To learn more visit the website of the National Estate Sales Association or the National Auctioneers Association.
Mineral Club Silent Auctions
For much smaller collections you might want to consider the auctions held by your local mineral club. Most of these clubs hold an annual silent auction and will allow non-members to submit a limited number of minerals for sale. The club will usually require a commission of 50% of the final sale price.
Here is the list of Denver area clubs and the month that they (usually) hold their auctions:
Flatirons Mineral Club – April
Littleton Gem and Mineral Club – October
Colorado Mineral Society – May
Mile Hi Rock & Mineral Society –
Friends of Mineralogy – May
Western Interior Paleontological Society – December
Denver Gem & Mineral Guild – October
Lake George Gem & Mineral Club – November
Colorado Springs Mineral Society –
Ebay offers you a national or international audience with over 180 million active buyers and 2 billion daily transactions. Lots of rocks and minerals are sold here! They charge buyers only a small listing and transaction fee. It may take considerable time however to photograph and list your items and then to package and mail them.
You can find just about anything for sale on Craigslist including lots of rocks and minerals. Started by Craig Newmark in 1995, it now covers 70 countries.
The advantages of selling on Craigslist is that there are no fees to the seller and you will be dealing with a local audience so there is no need to pack and ship. Here is a good online article to get you started. And of course there are several YouTube tutorials.
FACEBOOK is the largest social network with over 2.5 billion monthly active users, and users over 65 are the fastest-growing group. There are at least 4 different ways to buy and sell rocks on Facebook:
Facebook Pages: Anyone can create a Facebook page and list things for sale there. It is completely free. There are no listing fees or commissions to pay. (At least 3 of our DGMG Mineral Show Dealers have Facebook pages, including: Costigan’s, Amethyst Rose & Morgan Trinkets.) On your page you can create posts showing what you have for sale and you can have customers send you a private message to ask questions and discuss payment and delivery terms. The biggest drawback is, with over 42 million Facebook pages, how will you get people to find yours?
Facebook Shops: For more formal selling you will want to add a Shop to your page. This will provide for automated online payment. To learn more about this option read: How to Sell on Facebook in 2020 [Tutorial for Beginners]
Facebook Marketplace: is basically an online classifieds site. Until last year, Facebook Marketplace worked much like Craigslist with buyers and sellers meeting in person. But they now offer an option to pay online with buyer protection, similar to Ebay. And like Ebay, this option will charge the seller a transaction fee. Check out this Guide to Selling on Facebook.
Facebook Groups: If your Facebook Page is not getting any traffic, you can join a Facebook Group that already has traffic. Selling on a Facebook Group is completely free – no fees or commissions. Dealers will often go live on these groups so that buyers can ask them questions in real time. For details on selling in Facebook Groups check out How do I sell something in a Facebook buy and sell group? , 5 Ways I Use Facebook Groups to Sell My Stuff Online, and Facebook Buy/Sell policies. Finally, be sure to watch this video of a lady who makes $90,000 a month selling on Facebook Groups. I’ve listed some of the more active rock and gem buy and sell Facebook Groups below.
Gems and Minerals Kingdom 9625 members, anyone can watch, must join group to post or comment. This Group is only for Minerals, Crystals, Specimens and also Faceted gemstones. Members can post 3 items per day. This group is created for sale and purchase aspects. Regular posts and live stream.
Gemstones Worldwide 5620 members, 1500 posts per month. Join to post or comment. Buy and sell. Join to post or comment.
Minerals Treasure 9,286 members, 1000 posts/month. Join to post or comment. Minerals Treasure is an Open group where the members can Post their Items for sale and discussions. Maximum 3 Posts are allowed per day.
Gems Stone Auction Buy/Sell Group 15,887 members, 3,200 posts a month. Must join to view/post/comment.
Gemstones & Minerals Around the Globe (Buy & Sell) 14,246 members, 2,550 posts/month. Join to Post/comment. You can post here anything related to Gemstones and Minerals (Crystals, Rocks, Minerals, Gems, Jewelry, Wirewraps Rough & Cut).
Stones (buy/sell) 21,825 members, 1,900 posts/mo. Join to view/post/comment. Buy and sell gemstones.
Minerals (sell / buy) 9,463 members, 1000 posts/mo. Join to view/post/comment. Posts may contain only the description of goods, pics, price, conditions for payment and delivery and phone number or whatsapp or email but no links to other sites (ebay, etsy, etc.).
Minerals & Gemstones Connections 7,941 members, 2,200 posts / month. Join to post/comment. Group for sharing minerals and gemstones for sale and discussions.
Gems Minerals and Rocks Buy and Sell 15,588 members. A common Place to Buy and Sell Precious and Semi Precious Natural Stones, Rocks, Minerals, Crystals & Specimens from All Over the World Without Limitation. Synthetic Stones are not allowed.
Crystals & Gemstones – Buy/Sell & Trade 14,599 members, 6700 posts/mo. Join to post/comment. Created for crystal lovers by Crystal Dreams! An international new age store based in Montreal, Canada. You can sell, buy or trade your crystals or gemstones. Discussing, selling, sharing, identifying, metaphysical and just plain beauty of Crystals & Gemstones Group.
Fossils, Rocks, Relics and Minerals for Sale 10,037 members, 2,100 posts/mo. Join to view/post/comment. Post what you want, when you want, however you want, but no spam and no links.
Other Online Sales Channels
Etsy: Lots of rocks here, many with free shipping. (at least one of our DGMG Mineral Show dealers, Orca Minerals, sells there) For sellers, starting an Etsy shop is free, but there are listing fees, transaction fees and payment processing fees. There is also an advertising fee for sales that come from offsite ads. For more information read: Beginner’s Guide to Selling on Etsy & Top 30 Tips for Selling on Etsy From the Pros.
Pinterest: Even if you are not out to buy or sell, just go there and check out the AMAZING Pictures! But be careful because 87% of Pinterest users end up buying the items they see. (At least one of our DGMG Mineral Show Dealers is on Pinterest) For details on selling there see: How to Sell on Pinterest and Explode Ecommerce Sales & The Secret to Selling on Pinterest and Growing Your Brand.
Sell to Rock Shops or Dealers
If all of the above is more complicated than you want to deal with, then one of the easiest ways for you to divest yourself of your rock collection may be to sell out to an existing rock shop or dealer. Just be aware that they will need to buy your rocks at a price that will give them room to cover all of their many expenses and still sell at a competitive price which will make them a profit.
Watch the video to the left to hear what one dealer – Jeff Lines/JBL Minerals – has to say about that process. You can find Jeff and many other fine dealers at our February Show.
For any rocks you are unable to sell, please consider the possibility of donating them. Many schools or local museums may be happy to accept them.
Also remember that your local rock club, including the DGMG, is always happy to accept donations. They will work to find a new owner for your rocks, who will love and care for them as much as you did.