I'm looking to sell a large collection of HO scale cars and locomotives. About half the freight car collection is custom painted and detailed, and all are weathered. There are several ways I know of to sell but each has a distinct disadvantage.
eBay: A look at comparable items shows items not selling, reasonably priced even quality items. Not to mention the cut they and Paypal take.
Swap meets: Take the cost of a couple of tables and time at the meet, the cost and time of loading/unloading twice, and driving, gas, etc. Also, everyone wants quality items and low prices. A person would have to sell 100 cars to make it worth the $ and effort.
Online outfits that buy entire collections. Although you get a check up front, it isn't going to be much after the buyer has to ship, sort and sell everytime. They are a business and have to make a profit, and don't think they're becoming millionaires.
I want to find a way to sell my trains at reasonable prices and still get more than 2 bucks for a quality car. Any suggestions?
I've run out of boxes to put the cars into. Does anyone know of a source of boxes?
Your suggestion about donating some of it is something I've been considering. The folks who run the beautiful HO layout at the Washington State Museum in Tacoma might furnish a home. They model the Pacific NW in 1955. A number of my cars are just right for that era. My collection is mostly Eastern stuff, so while hoppers wouldn't be applicable, certainly boxcars, gons, reefers and flatcars would be OK.
Buying a model railroad is not an investment. Explore your stated options and take what you can get. If you donate the collection to a club or museum maybe you can profit from a tax deduction.
Lackawanna Route of the Phoebe Snow
If you go the Ebay route, I know I'm more likely to buy something if I can buy a couple of things at the same time from the same buyer. It doesn't hurt to have a 'buy it now' price on everything, so somebody can buy several things at once (and hopefully save a little on shipping costs - and save you trips to Fed Ex).