Is it time to find new homes for your miniatures?

 

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Before I file my final entry on our miniatures, I wanted to open up a discussion about what to do with your miniatures when you can no longer keep them. Over the years, many of you, or your relatives, have collected valuable items that you hoped to pass down, only to find that no one in the family is interested, or has the room (especially for houses).  It’s a difficult topic to consider, because for most of us there’s an emotional connection to our pieces—we remember when and where we bought them, all the ways we have played with and displayed them. Usually we know, or know the history of, the craftsperson who made them, which strengthens the emotional connection. Sometimes we have pieces of great monetary value, but the value is recognized only within the relatively tiny miniatures market. We love our miniatures so much we save up for months for them, and sometimes we even fudge a little (a lot?) on the price to our spouses because they don’t understand the market, and would absolutely not understand why a tiny silver tea tray cost more than last month’s root canal. I know you all have your own stories…

So how do you go about finding homes for your treasures? If you value your collection, it’s good to start looking ahead, so you aren’t rushed, and make a plan, to make sure your things wind up where they will be 1: cared for, and/or 2: valued, as in sold for a good price.

My first suggestion is to contact the artisans directly, if possible. There is no better way to acknowledge the artisan than returning one of their pieces for them to re-sell. Most craftspeople are not earning a living at miniatures, nor do they charge what a piece is worth, and this gives them a chance to recoup some of their losses. To contact them, Google their names, or check with the International Guild of Miniature Artisans (IGMA) website at www.igma.org for addresses. While you’re there, explore the Forum page on the site, which includes information on auctions, shows, and other miniatures resources on the web. Also check the N.A.M.E. website, which may have similar resources.

The next suggestion would be miniature shops—they will know the value of your collection. Often, they will sell on consignment, or will buy outright when it’s a rare piece, or is made by a famous artisan. This is a good resource if you are trying to sell something big like a house—they may have a list of people looking for houses by specific artists. Two shops that come to mind are:

Larrianne’s Small Wonders

http://www.larriannessmallwonders.com

3457 Telegraph Rd.

Ventura, CA 93003

Larrianne has been in business for eons, and knows her miniatures.

 

Another is a newcomer to me, who recently successfully re-sold one of our early houses:

Connie at CJN Miniatures & More

http://CJNMiniatures.com

23030 Hwy 99

Edmonds, WA 98026

Check the internet–there are plenty of other shops, and it’s best if you can find one near you to simplify getting your pieces to them for inspection.

Another resource is miniatures museums—they may be looking for unusual pieces for their collection, or for donations for their own fundraising. The two I know most about are:

The National Museum of Toys and Miniatures in Kansas City

http://www.toyandminiaturemuseum.org/

 

The Mini Time Machine in Tucson

http://www.theminitimemachine.org/

Another resource is auction houses—Do an internet search for Dollhouse Miniatures Auctions and you will find plenty of places to start. Don’t assume your collection is too small for an auction house–they often auction off multiple collections when they have enough.

Doing a Google search for “selling dollhouse miniatures,” I found a forum on selling on the Greenleaf Miniatures website: http://www.greenleafdollhouses.com/forum/?app=forums&module=forums..

If you are enterprising, energetic and techno savvy, you can look into selling your pieces through ebay, or Etsy. And there are online miniatures forums like The Camp and Small Stuff where you might get advice, and even help in dispersing your collection. As with anything else in life, it’s a good idea to make sure you are dealing with reputable people.

Those are just a few suggestions. If you have questions or suggestions, please add your comments below. I take no responsibility for sales or exchanges, but hope this might be a help in getting your thinking going.

About smallhousepress

In 1974, my husband Noel and I began building aged miniature houses for collectors and museums. We were 70's dropouts. We quit our careers in advertising--art director and writer, respectively--and escaped Los Angeles in a VW camper and a Bug for a simpler life on the coast of Washington State. From a tiny studio in our home, we built 64 houses and buildings. Our specialty was aging--making a structure that reflected the scars and wrinkles of time, the elements, and human habitation. In the 80s we began teaching our techniques in workshops around the country, and I began to write our how-to's in Nutshell News and Miniature Collector. In 2000 we migrated across the Columbia to Astoria, OR, where , in 2011, we retired from miniatures. We are Fellows of the International Guild of Miniature Artisans and taught at their annual school in Castine, ME. By avocation I am a writer and poet. The blog is my way of working back into a writing routine, as well as recording what we did, and what we learned along the way.
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2 Responses to Is it time to find new homes for your miniatures?

  1. Debbie says:

    Carol of SPminiatures

  2. Kim Narog says:

    Thank you Pat! I have been giving this some thought lately and you have given me some fresh ideas. I had never even thought of giving the item back to the artist. What a fine way to express your appreciation for their contribution to the hobby that has brought such pleasure.

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