Blog by Dr. Lori

3 Estate Sale Mistakes

3 Estate Sale Mistakes

When I hear that someone shopped and bought something at an estate sale, I immediately think "Oh, this poor person thinks they got something great and most likely they overpaid for it." Yep, that's my first thought. If you've been to one of my appraisal events, you can see it all over my face ... I don't play poker.

I know that you are thinking that I shouldn't be such a skeptic, but if you need to tell the difference between the good and the bad, you can't be a pushover. If you've ever met me, you know I am no pushover. Get the Real Story about Estate Sales.

I hear a lot of estate sale stories--some good, unfortunately some bad. Here are three of the memorable estate sale stories fans have shared with me during at my appraisal events and when I visit their homes for in-home appraisal visits:

1. Picasso at Estate Sale

Picasso drawing

A woman in Kansas City, MO bought a drawing signed Picasso for 2.50 dollars at an estate sale. She had me appraise it in person and it was the real thing--a Picasso drawing worth 50,000 dollars. Moral of the story: Does your estate sale person know what they are selling or are they just good at putting tags on pieces? Watch video of me talking about how pricing at estate sales works

2. Theft at the Estate Sale

A man in Virginia Beach, VA had an auction company arrange an estate sale in his late mother's home. He installed security cameras to monitor the shoppers at the sale and to prevent theft. When he watched the video, he saw no wrongdoing by the shoppers, but the auction company staff that he hired to conduct the estate sale had damaged and removed objects from the home. Read my tips on how to prevent property theft.

3. Celebrity Estate Sales

I appraised a painting that was purchased from the estate sale of a well known celebrity. The owner of this painting--a big fan--paid a pretty penny for it because he wanted an object that belonged to the star. What the buyer didn't know was that estate sale organizers regularly add objects from other estates to a high profile estate sale. Buyers think that all of the items offered for sale are from the estate of the wealthy movie star when some objects in fact are from other sources like the dilapidated trailer park from the next town over. I had to break the bad news about the painting.

I will continue to share estate sale stories in this blog as fans share them with me at my appraisal events. Share your stories with me and others on my social media channels so others don't fall victim to the same mistakes. Did you get a bargain or pay too much? Ask me, I'll shoot straight with you.

Schedule a Dr. Lori Event

Dr. Lori events
Dr. Lori presents her popular Antiques Appraisal Comedy Show around the world at 150 shows a year entertaining audiences. Ask us how to book an event for you.

Dr. Lori's Blog

Dr. Lori reveals insider information and tips about the world of antiques. Subscribe here »
Stories about Antiques Dealers

Stories about Antiques Dealers

Tips and real stories involving dumpsters, actual appraisal values and eBay that you can use to separate the reputable antiques dealers from the not so reputable. Many antiques dealers run upstanding businesses, but some do not. Here are some examples of the not so reputable.

Read More »