An important part of collecting antiques and collectibles is the selling of some of your items. Although most avid collectors buy far more than they sell, there are times when it is desirous to offer pieces for sale.
The reasons for selling vary and can include:
1. to make a profit;.
4. to make space for further collecting;
5. to raise cash.
Whatever the reason for getting rid of your antiques, the procedure is the same: Find a buyer, and negotiate a sale.
Your first option is to sell the items yourself. This requires you to market or advertise your item, offering it for sale. You then wait for a potential buyer to contact you. After someone expresses interest in your object and you provide more information by telephone or e-mail, he or she may ask to see the item.
Following a physical inspection, the negotiation process begins between the object's owner and the potential buyer. The owner of the item proposes an asking price, which is either accepted or rejected. The buyer may present a counter-offer, or simply walk away. Sometimes the negotiation is fast and easy, while other times, it can be time-consuming and take days to complete a transaction.
The first step in this process requires advertising your object. This alerts potential buyers that your item is for sale.
Common places to advertise the items offered for sale include:
1. classified ads in local newspapers;
2. classified ads on Web sites such Craigslist.org;
3. listings on Web sites;
4. ads in specialized newspapers and magazines for collectors.
The purpose of the advertisement is to attract awareness of your object and to pique someone's interest in possibly purchasing it from you. The general rule is to place as many ads as possible and as often as needed until the item is sold.
In Person versus Online Sale
In today's world, a seller has two choices: either sell the item in person or sell it online. This second option is a situation where you never meet the buyer. The transaction is completed via electronic communication, via Web sites or e-mail. After payment is received, you ship the item to your buyer. This has become an increasingly popular and regular way to sell antique objects and collectibles.
When considering online sales of your objects, there are other concerns. They include:
1. Be careful of fraud. Some people prey on others via the Internet. Take the time to learn about the scams, and protect yourself by not falling for the latest trick or scheme designed to separate you from your money.
Hire Someone Else to Sell Your Items
Another way to sell your antique or collectible is to hire someone to do this for you. Some common options include:
1. Place your object in a dealer's shop on consignment. You will find a variety of consignment agreements. Some dealers charge a straight commission, which can be as much as 50 percent of the purchase price on items sold. Other shops charge space rental plus a commission. Others charge a flat space-rental fee. Many dealers handle unsold items differently. For items that do not sell quickly, some shops require that you mark it down within a specified time or remove your item. Be sure to ask what the policy is for the consignment before you turn it over for sale. Also, be certain to get the terms of the consignment in writing.
2. Take your object to a public auction house. The auctioneer will sell your item, taking a commission on the amount received. The amount of the commission varies between 10 percent and 20 percent.
Determining the value of an object is important when selling it. It is always up to the owner to set the asking price. Someone may quickly agree to pay that amount. After the sale, the owner may realize the value was far more than the asking and selling price. Of course, when this happens, it is too late.
Typically, an older item will sell for higher prices, especially if it has had a long and well-documented history. Unlike other items in today's market, antiques and collectibles will appreciate, or increase, in price by approximately 2 percent a year. It is important to consider this when considering a potential sale.
What Are You Really Selling?
Before selling an antique or collectible, first find its value. EBay and other online sites can help quickly find a fair market value of the object. With a free eBay account, you can view recent sales on eBay, as opposed to active auctions that may double in price in the last minutes. Online is a fast, easy, and convenient way to get good value for an antique.
However, in some cases, an item is often not available or may be too rare to be searched, which may make it difficult to determine value online. Other items may not necessarily have brought the best price at the online auction because of shipping concerns or costs.
Price guides are often available in libraries or bookstores if you only need to know prices on a few items. One of the problems with price guides, however, is that after spending $35 or $40, your item may not even be listed.
A local antiques or collectibles dealer who is not interested in buying your item can also provide a quick opinion as to the value of an item. Other resources can be local collector clubs, magazines, or newsletters.
Another good way to determine the value is to seek a professional appraisal. An antiques appraisal, much like any other, will contain an image of the item being valued, a description, and a value for either each separate piece or the entire group as a whole. When seeking an antiques appraisal, it is best to select a professional who has a lot of experience in the field of antiquities and particularly in the field directly related to your object. For instance, you would not want a furniture expert to give you an appraisal on your glassware. Instead, you would put more reliance on an appraisal for glassware from an expert in that field.
Some people think they cannot afford a professional appraisal, but an expert can prevent a seller's costly pricing error. For example, a Royal Doulton Top o' the Hill figurine is worth $750. One uninformed seller sold this item for just $10. A professional appraisal would have identified the item and set a realistic value.
There are numerous examples that show items being sold far below true value. One item was a Jiminy Cricket animation cell. Sold for $25, its true value was $5,000. A Tiger maple dresser was bought for $100, while its value was $1,250. It is clear that in some cases, sellers of collectibles and antiques cannot afford to be without a professional appraisal.
An antiques appraisal can be expensive, which is why it is important to shop around and compare prices from several different professionals. However, there are often opportunities to obtain professional appraisals of an object for $10 or so. These opportunities exist at antique and collectible shows and events.
Appraisal research is often more than finding a list with numbers beside each item. You must:
1. correctly identify your object;
When self-evaluating a piece, be cautious not to use faulty research or base the appraisal solely on a price list. If you do, you could lose significant money. It is important to conduct good research and use correct information to evaluate the probable value of a piece.
Getting the Best Price
Once you have a value in mind, the next step is to get the best price. The highest price paid will be always from a collector who is after a certain category and does not yet have the item you are selling. Yours may be in better condition, or perhaps it is a rare form or color that the collector values.
The collector, and not a dealer, will always pay the highest price for an item. Avid and active collectors are likely to be the best customers.
Keep in mind that some items will bring a higher price seasonally. Halloween items sell best in September and early October. Political buttons sell best during a major presidential election campaign. Hollywood star items sell best when the star dies. Anything to focus more people on the item you are selling increases its value.
To sell for the top dollar, remember, collectors will pay the most only for the rarest and best. On midgrade items that collectors already have or will later trade away, they may want the item, but they also want a good deal. You cannot expect to get the most for items that are not as rare or in mint condition. Realize that holding out for the highest price for an item works only when your item is rare and in great condition. Expect less for lower quality or easy-to-find items.