Blog by Dr. Lori

3 Auction Selling Tips

3 Auction Selling Tips

Are you thinking or trying to sell your antiques with an auction house? Running into roadblocks or wondering how it might work best for you? I have three selling tips below based on my auction experience, reviewing auction sales records, assisting clients, and hearing from thousands of people at my events every year.

1. Sell Quick

Windsor chair

Do you want to get rid of stuff quick? Then, sell at auction, but you'll pay for that convenience. Auctions sell to the trade at low prices. Do you know the difference between auction and retail values? After you pay seller premiums photography, storage, and advertising fees, how much did you really take home? Plus, many auctions don't allow you to set a minimum selling price or reserve price. So what happens if your Duncan Phyfe furniture sells well under its actual value? Or, this 1,000 dollar Windsor chair sells for less? You are out that money.

2. Auction House Doesn't Reply

Are you calling and emailing auctions houses trying to sell your item, but nobody returns your calls or emails? Why is this common? There could be many reasons. The auction house's audience simply doesn't buy your type of antique. Auction houses specialize. Do you go to Home Depot expecting to buy a swimsuit? Of course not.

Another reason is many auction houses will not return your calls or emails because they can't make enough money off of your item. This is purely a business decision on their part. Just like you, they want to make a lot of money selling your antiques.

Does that mean you can't sell your antique? Does it mean your antique is worthless? No. I have seen 10,000 dollar paintings refused by major, big city auction houses. They actually reply to a potential seller and say no. Why? Some auction houses have a policy to only sell items worth at least twenty thousand or fifty thousand dollars. My tip: Try several places to sell your stuff, not just one big city auction house. Don't forget, just the way that you or your grandma bought blanket chests, somebody else will buy them, too. Find out what you've got and don't make the mistake of assuming your piece is not valuable simply if you don't receive a reply or are told an auction house isn't interested.

3. Get Documentation

If you finally decide to sell at auction and have selected an auction house, document all of the antiques you have left behind before the sale. Many of you have told me stories of pieces being lost. If you don't have proper documentation, you will be out your antique and the money it's worth. Some of you have asked me if I have pictures of your item since you brought it to one of my events for my evaluation. My Tip: Take your own pictures or video of your items at the auction house. If you don't, it is hard to prove what antiques you left behind.

Don't forget I can help determine value and provide listings of where similar items have sold using my online appraisal reports. This can help you determine the value for your item and see which places might have the right audience who is interested in buying your antique.

Got an idea for me to discuss in a future blog post?

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