To sell to a collector, author Henry A. Hyman advises:

* Remember virtually anything can be collectible for any reason. An item may have value "not only because of what it is, but also because of what it is made from, when it was made, where it was made, how it was made, why it was made, and sometimes even for whom it was made."

* Don't overlook the potential of small paper items, often sought by historical researchers: "Pamphlets, instruction manuals, catalogs, postcards, photographs, letterheads and magazine illustrations."

* Send a clear photograph or photocopy of the item, or at least describe it as fully as possible. "The more I know about an item the more likely I'm able to pay a high price. I don't have to put in a fudge factor in case I get screwed."

* If you are unsure of what price to ask, get offers from two or more collectors.

* Expect flaws to reduce the value of any item. "All collectors want everything they have to be as perfect as the day it left the factory, but realistically will settle for something less."

* If you have doubts about a person, ask for references and check with the Better Business Bureau.