Do not rely on
information supplied by self-anointed 'dealers'.
Do consult with
reputable individuals, dealers and collectors, and get some feedback. Remember
'dealers' will give you a price that is lower than market value, they need to make a
profit. 'Collectors' usually offer the best price quotes. Auctions will usually give you
the best price available when an 'in demand' collectable or antique item is offered for
Pick an auctioneer that you can trust.
Ask 'regulars' at auctions for references.
Before you decide
to take items to
auction, make sure these are items that you no longer need or
Make your plans known to the auctioneer
approximately 3 to 4 weeks before the schedule auction. This will allow time for
preparations and advertising (if he determines that certain items are worth
Have your items in the original containers (if
applicable), packed in an orderly fashion and in clean condition. Items in the original
container and in clean and operable condition will bring better prices.
Let the auctioneer know if anything electronic
or mechanical is in working condition. Again, the extra time you take to clean
items and make sure that it works will greatly reflect in the price.
Take the items to auction yourself, if
you can. Auctioneers will charge more money for pick-up.
Remember, do not take items, that are similar
to items that have been sold at the last auction. The most common mistake people
make when taking items to auction is trying to duplicate the price that an item of the
same type has brought. In a few instances, your item may bring a similar price. But for
the most part your going to be very disappointed.
The more variety you have, the better the
reproductions. No sure fire way exists to determine if an item(s) are
reproductions. However, you can use these as guidelines: quality, quality and
Play the fads or trends. If everyone
wants beanie babies, sell beanie babies, but moderation is the key.
Try to pick an auction after pay days.
After the 15th and 31st of the month. People will have more money during these periods. My
preference is the first weekend of each month.
Be seasonal in the items you want to
sell. People do not want to buy lawn mowers or air conditioners in December or
snow blowers in June.
Ironically, the best money making auctions I have attended occur on the Sunday after
Thanksgiving and on New Years Day. If you plan on buying these days, chances are
slim that you'll get what you want (unless, of course, expense is no object). At the end
of the year some dealers will get rid of their stock and start over
Auctions held during the winter months bring in
more money than auctions held during the Summer months. During the summer,
competition from yard sales and flea markets lower profits.
Personal items, (i.e. electric razors,
old hair dryers, curlers, curling irons) and other personal hygiene products, do not sell at auction. Throw the items away. People do not buy
these items at auction.
Old hats (especially female) and scarves do
sell at auction. Make sure they're clean
Old furs occasionally do well at auction if
they are in good clean condition. However, beware of fanatics. I don't agree with
killing animals for their fur, but I wasn't around fifty - eighty years when these animals
were killed. These items do have a market value as well as a place in history. I won't say
anymore about it.
Do not take
rusted, damaged, abused, broken, chipped, neglected and otherwise dirty toys, pots, pans,
stuffed animals, glassware, toaster ovens or any other item that belongs in the garbage.
Some auctions do accept these items as part of a household or storage lot (why people
would pay to store this stuff amazes me) and will display it. Not only does this make the
better stuff in the lot look bad, but lowers your overall payoff. Trust me, don't do
If you have clothing, it is best to donate them
to charity or have a yard sale. People do not go to auctions to buy clothes. Unless
they are considered 'vintage' clothing. When I say 'vintage', I'm referring to clean older
items of clothing at least 30 years old. The 60's and 70's are popular
Do ask the auctioneer if and where he
advertises. Advertising means more individuals will see the items for sale, which
does have an effect on sales.
When buyers are shopping the auction listings they are usually
looking for specific items or in general a lot of good quality merchandise. Usually there
are many scheduled auctions within a 60 mile radius on any given day. Advertising plays a
key role in the development of a successful auction. If you have a 'quality' piece(s)
notify the auctioneer well before he plans on running an ad. This is very
Local auctioneers are usually generous in
helping with and selling your items. If not, find another
If you have an estate or large quantity of
items for sale. Do some homework and search for the right auctioneer. This sounds
simple, but it can be the difference between success and failure. Contact many auctioneers
for price quotes. But remember, most auctioneers are not registered appraisers. They can
tell you reasonable price estimates for their respective auction. It can vary differently.
Each auction house has they're own group of 'collectors' and 'regulars'. These people are
key in the success of selling items at auction.
When you take a large quantity of items for
sale, make a mental note of the dollar value that you like to achieve. When you
show up for the auction, do not get upset if certain items are bringing less money than
you thought. Some things will bring less money and others will bring more than you'd
expect. This is typical. Remember the nine conditions. The total amount of goods sold is
your real concern. And in my experience, you will receive more money than you were hoping
to achieve. But set a realistic goal.
Remember to take into account any fees or
commission that the auction charges, in establishing a reasonable mental price for
the items you plan on selling.
If you have unusual or unique pieces for sale
(old pottery, civil war items, etc..), take some time and look
through books and collectors publications. These will give you an IDEA as to age and
Remember when using collectors books or price
guides, They are exactly what the say, price guides. These publications (most) take
their respective price quotes from higher, well established auction houses. Some auctions
sell only certain items (i.e. depression glass), others are Antique auction houses. Prices
vary differently in these situations. Specialty auctions are geared towards a certain
topic or items and are designed for the collector. Antique auction houses are designed for
the well established individual who has an income proportional to their taste for the
finer things in life. These auction houses will bring higher prices for their respective
Do not expect to receive bids that are
comparable to prices in collectable books and magazines. As stated earlier, these
publications get their prices from a variety of sources. Depending upon the location of
your auction, the type of auction and the nine conditions, the prices you receive for your
merchandise will vary.
No one person can assure certain prices for
your merchandise, unless a ridiculously low price is quoted. Quotes from
auctioneers are meant as a guideline for establishing a reasonable dollar value for your
The more information about an item(s) that you
can tell the auctioneer, the better the price paid for your merchandise. Many
people who attend auctions like to here the story behind items, especially anything
relating to historical events.
If your unsure as to what items to take to auction, consult with the
auctioneer. He is the final deciding authority. Be specific, when possible, about what
items you have for sale. You will be surprised at the items that may be worth money. But
remember, QUALITY and CONDITION is EVERYTHING.
Navigation is accomplished by using
the main menu on the left. Just click on the red
help book next to the words Auction Guide
and the topics will unfold. Or you can use the index below.