Taking My Hacks

A Bird in the Hand...

Joe Orlando

Most of you have heard the old saying...

A Bird in the Hand is Worth More than Two in the Bush.

One of the biggest challenges that we have as collectors is deciding between the bird in the hand versus the chance to own something down the road. I used to wonder what the heck that saying meant but, in the world of collecting, it really applies. What you can own or do own right now is worth more than an uncertain opportunity in the future. That is merely my hobby interpretation of the saying.

I have struggled with this concept for years. You know how it goes. The auction season rolls around and you become inundated with catalogues. Sometimes you find numerous items that would fit nicely in to your collection and, other times, you might only find a handful of items. Regardless, unless money is absolutely no object, you are in the same boat that I find myself in. Most of us have to make tough decisions.

First, we have to narrow the items down to ones we can ACTUALLY afford. Some collectors will move forward anyway and soon find themselves in serious debt. Hopefully, most of you do not let your collecting urges take your personal finances down the toilet. Believe me; I know it can be a struggle to fight the urge.

After you have narrowed your sights to the items you just have to own and the ones you can actually afford, you have to think about your bidding strategies. For example, if I get outbid on this lot, maybe I can swing my available funds over to this lot over here. If I win an item in this auction, I may not be able to bid on the item in the following auction because my "allocated hobby funds" are depleted. I think you get the picture. For most of us, it's just part of the bidding experience.

Now, let me throw a new wrinkle into the mix. You have just received all of your auction catalogues, which contain a host of great items to bid on, when you are suddenly offered another great item. This time, the item is offered to you privately. You are quoted a price that appears attractive or is at least close to affordable to you. If you pull the trigger, you can own the item right now or you can pass on it to keep your options open for the upcoming auction season.

What do you do?

I have gone through this time and time again. It is a very difficult dilemma for those of us on a budget and I do have my share of regrets. There have been situations where I had the chance to either buy something privately or bid more aggressively in an auction that day but passed for the mere chance at winning something later. When I passed on the items that were within my grasp, unfortunately, I ended being outbid on the items I patiently waited for. I ended up with nothing.

Please, take my advice on this issue. Learn from my experience and from the holes that still exist in my collection. If you are offered something great today or have the chance at owning something by bidding more aggressively right now versus the possibility at owning something later, take the bird in the hand. You will be glad you did.

Never get cheated,

Joe Orlando

Joe Orlando
Editor In Chief