How to Sell Fossils

By Contributor
Make a Fossil Kit

Collecting fossils to sell appeals to amateur and professional paleontologists alike. In fact, many trade shows where collectors can purchase or sell fossils are visited by members of the scientific community, as well as hobbyists. Knowing the best ways to sell fossils can help make the process more personally rewarding, financially profitable and more significant than just a labor of love.

Learn How to Sell Fossils

Understand that fossils can range in monetary value from priceless for the very rare to utterly nothing for common fossils. For instance, sea shell fossils specific to the Great Plains of the U.S. are so commonplace that they can literally be found lying on the ground, so they have no real monetary value. On the other hand, the value of the complete mastodon skeleton recently unearthed in upstate New York is beyond measure. (It is now housed at the Museum of the Earth in Ithaca.)

Appreciate the fact that fossils to not depreciate. So, dealing in quality fossils is a wise investment. After all, unlike many commodities, the supply of available fossils cannot be replenished. Therefore, their value continues to increase over time.

Participate in fossil and mineral shows, either as a dealer well equipped to sell premium fossils, or as a spectator to learn more about how to trade and sell fossils at such events. In the U.S., there are annual fossil shows held on the east and west coasts, as well as several very well attended shows in Colorado and Arizona. Visit Martin Zinn Expos to learn more (see Resources below).

Consider advertising in a trade journal or publication to sell your fossils, such as the 'Journal of Avocational Paleontology' (see Resources below).

Take advantage of one of the Internet's largest marketplaces: eBay. Many dealers successfully sell fossils through this online venue, or even entire collections (see Resources below).

Tip

Invest in quality display cases if you're going to sell fossils at shows. Any retailer or dealer will tell you that product moves much better if it's merchandized with care. Fossils are no exception.

Warning

Make sure the fossils you want to sell are actually fossils. Integrity matters in the fossil trade community, and it's your responsibility to know if your fossils are authentic or not.