Seeking Labels and Collections

Read this page for your own peace of mind!

Do you have labels to sell? How do you know what they are worth or whom to trust to tell you so? I have been collecting, and buying labels for thirty years, in singles, collections and files of printing companies and family heirloom labels, and have written numerous books and price guides about them. I have acquired basements of printing companies, fruit warehouses, salesman's samples, box-company inventories, "bureau collections", fruit inspector collections, and the files of growers and cooperatives including Blue Anchor and Sunkist. My interest is in paying you a good price for your labels and informing you about what you have! My particular specialties are apple, pear, citrus and grape and tree fruit labels of the Pacific Coast. I am also a thirty year historian of the lithograph and printing industry and published author on the subject. If you are aretiree of any west coast printing company, we have a lot in common, and i know about your company and what it produced. I can help! Many former employees of printing companies took labels home, and even uncut sheets of labels which former pressmen and salesman kept over the years. I can tell you all about them! I am not in a hurry to make a fast buck, I am here to preserve history and pay you a fair price for your items. Mostly, I want you to feel secure that you are hearing the truth. My first piece of advice is: Don't fall for ads that promise big cash for your labels. Do your homework first! Reading this page may mean a lot more money for you! Here are the companies I can tell you all about, <companies> and other forms of printing I specialize in: <specialties>. I specialize in Schmidt Litho Co, Traung, Mutual Label and Lith, H.S. Crocker, Carton Labels, Los Angeles litho, Union Litho, Louis Roesch amd Olsen. You see, I buy for posterity. My collections are going to institutiona and historical libraries and societies. I am not just trying to make money off of you, I am trying to preserve history, and I can pay you the same prices as other dealers who have far less interest in historical preservation. You see, ......

Out there in attics and basements, bureau drawers, and lots of abandoned buildings nationwide, are labels yet undiscovered -- even collections gathered by Grandma and Grandpas, parents, cousins and friends -- labels your family may wish to sell, or no longer want -- yet, labels you would like to see preserved. Well, Pat Jacobsen is interested! This is the only way to build his collection, keep the hobby going and serve posterity, as well! Everybody benefits! This page explains 99% percent of what you want to know if you have labels for sale. Even if you don't sell your labels to me, read this page for your own peace of mind and education about the label business. Good luck and Thanks!! -- Pat Jacobsen

My second statement about selling YOUR labels is this... Any dealer who tells you "don't talk to anyone else about these..." is AFRAID of you learning the truth. My recommendation is "GET LOTS OF OPINIONS FROM MANY DEALERS OF LABELS! Dealers who are honest, already know you will talk to several other dealers, and they do NOT fear you learning about what you have. They hope you will chose them! Whereas, dealers who want to cheat you will be in a big hurry to buy, cheap, and to tell you whatever they think you want to hear, just so they can get what you have. They will tell you not to deal with others, only them! Don't believe them! DO YOUR HOMEWORK! Call or email at least five dealers (I will be happy to give you names of MANY long standing well-recognized dealers). Any dealer in too much of a hurry, is someone you need to learn more about. There are over 60 dealers of labels, but only a dozen are "in the know", and only three of us have written books used by everyone! Protect yourself, ask a published author on this subject -- like myself. I will help you find my competitors and get the information you need. I do NOT fear competition. Competition is good for everyone -- especially you! And, I have written price guides to over ten-thousand label values, for over a decade, and i have computer databases of over 30,000 labels, which is 200 timese larger than any other dealer! I am happy to make this information available to you simply by asking me.

I collect every kind of Fruit & Vegetable crate labels from around the world, especially California Orange box labels, Washington state apple and pear labels, all kinds of California labels -- food can labels, salmon can, cranberry labels, wine labels, product labels and many other kinds of labels, Vintage poster art from California (only), and more. I am particularly interested in all labels from California, Oregon, Washington, British Columbia, Australia and Spain. Especially California citrus labels and pear labels; Washington apples and pears; and Spanish citrus labels! I also specialize in the history of California Lithographers, especially San Francisco's many historic printers -- documents of nearly any type from these companies. So, I am interested in nearly anything printed by one of these main companies, from letterheads to ads, to posters, to labels. I also collect agricultural magazines and periodicals from the Western U.S. states. <WANTED>

I also own one of the five largest orange label collections, and have databased in my computer over 5,000 California orange and lemon labels. This list is constantly updated and I will make it available to anyone! So if you are selling California Citrus Labels, at least talk to me during the process if you want a fair price.

Over the past
28 years, I has travelled and researched the packing regions of the Pacific Coast and around the world (15 countries) , looking for labels in the wild, and written several collector's guide and price guides used throughout the hobby for over twenty years. Labels have been my fulltime profession for more than half my life, and I have purchased nearly 100 collections of various types of labels, over 25 years, valued between $500. and $85,000. Knowning about labels, and teaching others, has been my full time career! <More about me> I have appeared on the Martha Stewart Show, and the NBC National News about labels and myriad historical documentaries!

Prices for labels purchased are based on my extensive work, published in "Pat Jacobsen's First International Price Guide to Fruit Crate Labels," which features prices for over 9,000 currently available labels -- the most extensive book of its kind available -- based on thousands of sales, trades, hours of exhaustive research! My newest Millennium Guide to Fruit Crate Labels features 5,500 current label prices for commonly available labels on the Internet. If you have labels to sell, or trade, or just wish to know more about them, I am happy to help! And, if I am not interested, or can't afford it, I have a database of over 3,000 interested collectors, dealers, museums and interested institutions worldwide, which can be searched, to help you find others who are interested in what you have. I will be happy to refer you to others in the field.

Nowadays, most of the labels I buy are from private parties, like yourself. Please feel free to contact me with whatever you have for sale, and I will be happy to get right back to you.

MY MAIN GOAL: "A Fair Shake for Everyone"
To seek out older collections, built by people in the early 1900s, especially citrus labels from Southern California, Apple labels from Washington State, Can labels from the West Coast, and Apple labels from the Watsonville, Pajaro Valley region. Pear crate labels are our particular specialty. Between 1900 and 1950, many people worked in the fruit industry and/or lived in fruit producing regions. Many of these folks saved old labels sentimentally. Today, their children and grandchildren have become heir to these collections, and want to know more about them. Well, if you want information, I'll freely give you all I can. But, if you want to get a fair price for the collection, please, let me have a chance to see them. It can't hurt to inquire.

Here are some suggestions I make to people selling their labels:

GET TO KNOW WHOM YOU ARE DEALING WITH!! :Twenty five years ago, there were about 5 label "dealers", most everyone traded freely with each other. There was no internet, color copiers, nor fax machines, barely, and no price guides except one dealer's widely circulated list. Today, there are hundreds of dealers nationwide competing with each other for the same 500 to 1,000 commonly available images. Relative newcomers to the hobby, many found their first label of interest only in the past 5-6 years! There are so many dealers of the same inexpensive and plentiful labels, that they virtually flood each other's market with the same images. So most online dealers are newcomers, not veteran collectors from the "old days." This is important, because many of the labels collections coming up for sale since the year 2000, were built by families of fruitgrowers, or printing-house employees, long ago and they contain many, old, rare labels. These collections are what every dealer naturally wants to get their hands on. These collections are where the "good" labels are found, and where the seller meets the dealer. Please look over this website to get an idea of what it requires to be an expert in the label field. Please feel free to contact me with any question, and I will happily answer it to the best of my ability, or, send you to another qualified person who can!

The best dealers to tell you what a fair price for your labels, are the men who have been collecting and dealing since before the Internet came along, people with 15-20 years of qualifiable experience. Have they written books about collecting? Are they collectors themselves or simply dealers looking to make a buck. Do they have professional relationships with museums, and historical instutions and assist them in their preservation work? Did they get their education about labels from a book, or from 25 years of driving the Pacific Coast and sitting down with thousands of collectors? How do you know whom you are really dealing with.

KEEP THE COLLECTION TOGETHER: Most sellers know the obvious value of keeping a collection together, and never selling off just the best or "cream" of the collection to one dealer than try to sell the rest to another. My beliefe is that collections should remain intact if you plan to sell them.

GET SEVERAL OPINIONS AND DON'T BE IN A HURRY TO SELL: Ask at least four reputable dealers to review your list of labels and make a reasonable assessment for you. And, take our time, don't ever be pressured to sell, some dealers are very pushy! Veteran dealers do not fear each other, and if their offers and information are fair and honest, they will be hearing from you again! If not, it's best for you to take a little time to gather information. REAL dealers and collectors are not in a hurry to get what you have, but someone who sniffs a profit most likely will be pushy with you. Enthusiasm is one thing, being obnoxious is another -- and, unfortunately, there are a few out there who ruin it for other more legitimate dealers with their aggressive and abusive approach to sellers, which make all of us look bad!

PRICES ON WEBSITES -- NOT ALWAYS ACCURATE: If you take the prices off of websites for your labels over $25.00, be aware that most rare labels are not listed on websites! Just because a website says one thing, something else may be true. Make sure the dealer you are working with has published price lists on paper and that other dealers are using them. All dealers study their competition, and they all base their prices upon each other's web sites. Don't take the word of someone who "prices by whim," but seek out a buyer, or collector who make public his lists of prices for all to see, and has done so for a good long time.

AUCTIONING YOUR LABELS ON EBAY: Don't, unless you know what you are doing. Many people make the mistake of thinking "if these guys do it, so can I..." Unless you have successfully sold on eBay for at least a year, I do NOT recommend you auction you collection on eBay for two main reasons. eBay is mostly becoming a place where dealers buy from each other to resell. Secondly, very few of the world's serious label collectors are on ebay, because many don't use computers, and many others who do, don't use eBay. There are hundreds of serious collectors, willing to buy your labels but they do not use ebay, and so you can't find them. That's where dealers can offer years of lists of clients they have built up, which gives you 100 times the marketplace eBay provides, as far as labels are concerned. I have sold successfully for over 5 years on eBay and 25 years off-line, and I know very well how it all works. Let someone who is already successful in the label business and online, give you advice on selling. eBay prices vary week to week, dealer to dealer, and based on condition and other factors. DON'T RISK YOUR LABELS TO EBAY WITHOUT FINDING OUT ABOUT THEM FIRST. If a dealer can convince you that your labels are not rare, and that ebay is a good place for them, then so be it. But, find out first!!

HOW MANY LABEL DEALERS SEE MAKING OFFERS: Most dealers don't want to engage in a bidding war with each other, because the more they spend, the less they profit later. So they don't really want to actively bid against each other. Some might even caucus together and decide not to bid, so one of them can obtain your collection, and then split it between them. So, get bids from dealers in several geographic locations, and compare them. Dealer's simply want to see a list, make an offer, then make a counter offer. Some will offer a 5-10% premium to the seller, above whatever the highest reasonable bid is. Which is unfair to other bidders. It should be "the highest bid wins." But, based on fair offers not enticements to unfair trade. Sure sellers want to make the most money, but if everybody offered a 5-10% premium on each other it would never end, and eventually both the seller and one buyer will strike a deal anyway. Dealers will want the entire collection, good, bad and indifferent, for one fair cash price. Sellers should think along this line, too. But sell to the person you feel best about, not just the guy who offers you the most money "plus a premium" to beat out other dealers. The best destination for your label collection is not always the guy who inheirited the most money. Many people of lesser means also have funds to buy your labels. Offering a premium is just an aggressive tactic to beat out other dealers who made a fair offer already! It is a tactic that only appeals to one's sense of greed, in my humbe opinion.

DEALERS WILL WANT TO SEE THE MERCHANDISE: Start with a list of brand names. If the dealer needs more, he will ask for xerox copies, photographs, or scans. NEVER send the labels in advance of payment, to anyone who is not a dealer of 20 years standing in the label collecting community, and has a stellar rating amongst his peers and on eBay's Feedback Forum! Even then, REGISTER your packages through the U.S. Postal System, and get an email from the dealer stating he is expecting your package at the post office. You do NOT want your labels going to any dealer of short-reputation, nor to someone other dealers cannot recommend, even if he is a competitor! Feel free to contact me if you have questions about the standing of any dealer in the label hobby. <> Regarding scans, dealers will only want 72dpi .JPG scans sent to them, not full size scans. Digital camera pictures on a Picture CD is perfect to get the image to the potential buyer. Never let anyone come and photograph or scan your collection. Once you sell the collection, the person who wants to photograph it, can be put in touch with the new owner. But, even scans of your label may be worth money, so don't allow it withou learning more about this aspect.

APPRAISALS AND ASSESSMENTS: Some dealers would have you believe free appraisals are unrelieble. Well, if you buy a price guide for labels, and price your own list from that book, are YOUR notes unrelieble, of course not. You can do an excellent job of assessing your own labels, by asking for price lists, or quickly researching on the available web sites as a place to start. That will give you a starting idea. That is reliable information, isn't it? Next, ask the dealer to put the prices he feels your labels are worth, in writing on an actual piece of paper with the title of the label and their offer in writing. This you can compare with other dealers, or you can contact me and ask if it is a fair offer. And, to be perfectly honest, often a buyer or dealer is also a collector and wants to get a good price on your rarer labels (possibly for his own collection) and doesn't want to go broke doing it. Which, to some degree is to be expected, after all, that is one of the profitable fringe benifits of being in label collecting :) These are usually rarer, expensive, labels (though not always!) The dealer should expect to make some profit from the deal, and this is one form.

Selling a few rare labels does reduce the value of the collection, BUT, value is still value and even without those few pieces a collection still maintains it's worth for the most part. If a dealer wants to "pass" on your collection, let him. Someone else will want it. Any pricing information is good information, even from a dealer who is afraid to commit himself. Because once they do, you can check these prices with others and see how different dealers appraisals vary.

NEVER SELL ON TERMS -- GET CASH: Never sell your collection on terms. Get cash and be done with it. But beware of pushy people or offers of "immediate payment" or "highest prices paid for your labels." These tactics are just not realistic if you are looking out for yourself! Get plenty of information and be sure you trust who you are dealing with. For large transactions the dealer may want to come to you and inspect the collection before handing over the cash. It may be at your home, or place of business, or other mutually agreed spot. Maybe an airport coffee shop. If they send a check, be sure it clears before sending the labels. In the case of an honest, well respected dealer, you may generally feel safe shipping the collection to them once an agreement has been made, because they may not trust YOU. After all, they do not know who you are, or where you live, or if you are a legitimate seller! Whereas, they have years of business contacts, a web site, a store, a shop, and they are entrenched, planted, scrutinized by everyone in the hiobby. A trustworthy dealer (including myself) will want to handle the material before blindly sending off a check for a lot of money! Any smart person would!

PAID APPRAISALS: To avoid conflicts of interest, some people offer services and say "for a fee, I can appraise your collection, but I can't bid on the labels myself, as that would be a conflict of interest." But, that does not mean once the collection is sold, he won't end up with them any way. Make sure your appraiser is well respected by many other label dealers and not working TOO closely with your perspective buyers -- even if they are a seperate entity. Or, an appraiser may want to make an appraisal then make a fair offer to put on the table with all other offers, which should be seen as acceptible and accepted or rejected based solely on its merit. For twenty-five years people across the country have asked me to value their labels and make offers, and i often do both. But, my reputation and credentials speak for themselves by now. I freely give this very dependable information, and I tell them which labels i am interested in and why, and which labels I will sell to make the deal work out. I believe the more forthcoming a dealer can be, the better everyone feels about the transaction in the end. JUST REMEMBER: Don't get someone to appraise your labels if they are not IN the label business. I cannot appraise antiques, nor rare clocks, nor sail boats -- I am not in that business. Go to someone who IS IN THE LABEL BUSINESS.

IF YOU DO DECIDE TO BREAK UP THE COLLECTION: Some dealers will offer to sell your labels for you, for a fee or commission, usually about 30% of price realized. You may or may not get the highest prices, depending on who your seller offers them to. If they offer them to close friends, you may not realize the highest offers. eBay offers a sound market, EXCEPT most of the serious collectors are not on ebay! That is where dealers with decades of expertise and contacts are your best choice. I deal with over 3,000 collectors, dealers, and historical institutions nationally, internationally, and regionally throughout the collecting world -- which is one of the largest networks for label art known. I bring 25 years of successful dealing to your service, as well as a sterling reputation on ebay. Keep in mind, too, that if you break up a collection it may involve a long time to accomplish. A dealer would have to do it for himself, if he buys your collection. Doing it for you, and selling off labels he would like to have owned, may not foster much enthusiasm for them to move your merchandise at a very swift pace. What I tell people is this: "Unless you want to BE in the label business, then just sell your collection to someone who already is." It is much easier and more profitable for everyone.

CONDITION IS IMPORTANT: Condition is of paramount importance to selling your labels. Mint, perfect, undamaged labels are a premium. But, even a rare label worth $250. in poor condition may only RETAIL for $35-40. A label worth $15. with a tear on the edge is still probably worth $15. But a $4,000. dollar rarity in perfect condition, may be worth $350-1,000 if folded, torn, holes punched in it or worse. Condition is VERY critical to dealers, as it should be. Even in American stamps and coins there are nationally published grading scales and accordant prices. The same is true in all collectibles. Please be aware of this!!!

ASKING PRICE, SELLING PRICE, WHOLESALE PRICE, STARTING BIDS... Let's say I have a $100. rare apple label. I might sell it at a paper show, in a sleeve for $95. If it didn't sell, I might list it on eBay for $80. and see if it sells or gets even higher bids. Another dealer may ask me if I can spare one for his client, so I "wholesale" it to him for $50. He may then put it on ebay and surprisingly gets $275. for it between some aggressive bidders. The full-retail-fair-market-value of any label is what it sells for. In my price guides I collect data of what things sell for and publish it. There is no ONE price for a label, there are MANY dynamics at work regarding any label. Some $100 labels are "RARE" Some $100. labels are NOT rare at all, just gorgeous, and people will pay that much for it. So there is no one price for a label -- only its "current recorded market value based on actual prices realized" not JUST some dealer's opinion or bid.



To learn about Pat's appraisal services <click here>. To learn more about Pat <click here>. To obtain his Price Guide <click here>. To see a copy of our WANTED POSTER for all the items Pat Collects! <click here>

To call for quotes: 530 / 637.5923

Pat Jacobsen -- Fruit Crate Labels (dot)Com
Please call between 8:00 AM and 8:00 PM California Time.

Please DO NOT send graphics to me via email,
unless you contact me first. I can usually tell you about your labels, via email or the phone. Graphics overload my email box, and they can take 20 minutes to load which is very time consuming and interferes with my normal email answering for the day. Please contact me first for info and possible instructions. One morning recently, someone sent me four graphics, which took 40 minutes to load, and it turned out they were common labels. Thanks for understanding.

Trade cards, seed packets, or fruit "stickers," that is, the little sticky tags that come on individual pieces of fruit. But, I know people who do! I'll be happy to give you there names. -- Pat

(update: 7/06)