Dog has long been man's best friend and many popular collectibles have developed from their relationship. One of the most highly priced and highly prized on eBay is dog collars.
The rarest and most expensive British collars date from the 15th to 18th centuries and were usually made from iron with spikes to protect working and hunting dogs from being savaged by wolves and boars. Most such collars were highly unattractive, more functional than decorative, but can be worth up to £2000 each. Compare this to collars made in Austria and Germany which were ornately carved from precious metals and packed with rare jewels, serving mainly as status symbols and also worth high prices today.
Like almost every old and modern canine collectible you'll rarely find dog collars going unsold on eBay, even at grossly inflated prices, making this a great product to target individually or as part of an overall doggy-related venture selling vintage canine memorabilia alongside modern items like dog beds, kennels and recent manufacture dog collars for practical or decorative purposes.
Despite the fact some early specimens are valued in hundreds or thousands of pounds, they can sometimes be found at offline auctions, especially country sales and auctions disposing of farming and family estates extending back over several generations.
For example, a dog collar I saw recently at a country house sale in Darlington went for £50 against a possible value of several hundred pounds for similar items spotted in ‘Miller's Collectables Price Guide’.
Sadly I knew nothing of the potential of that collar which went to a dog loving individual, not a dealer, and doubtless a far higher price could be achieved by targeting a world packed with dog lovers, on eBay, where recently:
- An antique English dog collar from Cromer Hall in Norfolk went for £77.55. The seller added a neat touch that must surely have increased value and interest in the collar by mentioning Cromer Hall as the place Sir Arthur Conan Doyle visited while researching ‘The Hound of the Baskervilles’ and apparently he also used Cromer Hall as the backdrop for the book. Consequently the collar appealed not only to dog lovers but also to Conan Doyle devotees and topographically to Cromer Hall and Norfolk enthusiasts.
- A sterling silver dog collar engraved ‘1938’ and apparently used for Greyhounds fetched $356.99.
- A leather dog collar with pouch for messages carried by dogs on active service during World War II fetched $246.50.
- Even books about collectable dog collars fetch staggering prices on eBay in the UK, notably 'Four Centuries of Dog Collars at Leeds Castle', published in 1979, which recently fetched £123, £100, and several lower but nonetheless very attractive prices. If you can afford it the book is well worth buying for a wealth of fabulous pictures and articles to help you describe and value dog collars on eBay. In itself the book can only grow in value should you decide to sell it later, making it a very good alternative investment.
* Premium prices are fetched for collars with names and other engravings especially for well-known owners and rare accomplishments, as well as of local topographical interest. Collars engraved with place names and well known owners fetch the highest prices at auctions close to their area of origin. So a collar engraved, for example, 'Towser, William Jones, Gateshead' bought in London might be expected to fetch more when re-auctioned in Tyneside (yes, you should consider selling at local auction as well as online), but it should fetch even higher profits on eBay.
* Many early collars are decorated with motifs and symbols pertaining to a specific era which greatly benefits the dating process.
* Dog collars are often wrongly identified as collars worn by prisoners or slaves which are actually much rarer and more valuable than collars worn by dogs. But there's good news for anyone able to identify the more uncommon slave and prisoner collars from items selling mistakenly and undervalued as dog collars and then selling those items with more accurate descriptions on eBay.