People often approach me with Insurance Appraisals that they have had completed in the past. Now they are trying to sell their items and they were told once on an Insurance Appraisal that the item is worth $25,000. What many people do not realize is the amount something costs which is what is usually reported on an Insurance Appraisal is not the same thing as what an item will sell for if you try to sell it.
There are many reasons for this. When you go to sell the item it is in the secondary market. That is the market that dealers go to in order to buy items to sell in their shops. They have to purchase an item at a low enough price in order to cover their advertising costs, rental costs, storage costs, employee costs and then make a little profit in order to make it worth all the time and effort it takes to sell the item.
Also as the marketplace has changed many aspects of selling antiques and fine art has changed. The demand for antiques, such as china, crystal, furniture, figurines and lamps has gone down. There are several reasons for this. Baby boomers are getting older and they just don’t need all this stuff anymore. They want to be free from the maintenance and time it takes to store, clean and take care of items. Their children don’t want much of the stuff because their tastes have changed and they see antiques as just old stuff. They are not getting married in the numbers that the baby boomers once did and they are looking for experiences instead of material possessions.
As a result many people come to an appraiser to try to get a handle on what kind of value their possessions have because they are considering selling them. There are several different venues for selling an item. The important part is to make sure that the item you are selling doesn’t have a particular specialty market. You want to sell your item where the collectors are for that item. If you have a California regional artist then you may consider sending it to California if that is where most of the art for that particular artist is sold. That way you ensure that the collectors of that artist are aware of the sale.
Auctions come with both the potential upside of a higher price than expected and the possible downside of a disappointingly low price. If the value of the items is high enough the auctioneer will come to your home to take the items to his gallery for the sale.
The fee to sell at auction varioes depending on where you are and how the sale is conducted. Generally, the higher the value of items being sold, the lower the commission. Commissions commonly range from 10% to 25% of the hammer price but may be as high as 50%. Plus, there may be fees for transportation, storage or marketing.