American Society of Appraisers Offers Advice About Selling Antiques and Collectibles

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In uncertain economic times, people not only curtail spending but also get creative about ways to make extra cash. Many people find themselves looking around their attics and storage areas wondering what they could sell and how much it would sell for. The American Society of Appraisers offers advice to people who want to sell their antiques and collectibles.

American Society of Appraisers

Although I am not doing an appraisal, or providing them a value for each item, they find it helpful to know which items might be valuable and merit an appraisal, and which items could be sold at what type of venue.

In uncertain economic times, people not only curtail spending but also get creative about ways to make extra cash. Many people find themselves looking around their attics and storage areas wondering what they could sell and how much it would sell for. The American Society of Appraisers offers advice to people who want to sell their antiques and collectibles.

"I have recently had a number of calls from people who are thinking about selling valuables, but don't know what their items are worth or how to go about selling them," said Susan M. Golashovsky, accredited senior appraiser of the American Society of Appraisers. "There are a wide range of places to sell things, depending on what they are and their value, so it is important to understand what the options are," she continued.

Some outlets for selling collectibles and antiques include:

  • High end regional and national auction houses; this is for very valuable collectible items, antiques, or art work. These auction houses charge a percentage of the sale price as well as fees for insurance, catalogue photographs, etc.
  • Antiques dealers. Antiques dealers will either buy the piece from you outright and re-sell it, or they will sell it for you and take a percentage of the sale price. When selling to an antiques dealer, it is a good idea to have an appraisal by an independent appraiser of the item, or have a good idea of its value so you ensure that you are being properly compensated. Be sure to get a consignment agreement that protects your ownership and sets up the date by which you must be paid after the sale.
  • Local catalogue auctions. Local auction houses will include your item in scheduled auctions that feature similar types of property grouped together for sale. These items are offered in a catalogue which is often posted online. The auction house will charge a percentage of the sale price and for additional costs such as insurance and photography.
  • Local weekly auctions. Local auction houses also hold regular catch-all auctions that sell a     variety of items which are normally less valuable than items included in the catalogue auctions.
  • Consignment shop. Consignment shops will sell your items for you, but usually for a relatively high percentage of the sale price, and if things don't sell quickly they normally lower the price of the item to help it sell. Be sure to get a consignment agreement that protects your ownership and sets up the date by which you must be paid after the sale.

Do-it-yourself options for selling items include on-line sites like eBay and Craig's List, and at yard sales and flea market stands.

For people who have a greater number of items that they think might be valuable but aren't sure, one way to get an idea of where to sell them is to hire an appraiser to act as a consultant. Many appraisers will do a walk-through of a client's home, and for a consulting fee will offer suggestions as to the best types of places to sell items. This is different than getting an appraisal of the items. An appraisal will assign a value to an item and will give a description and background about the piece. An appraisal cannot be done on the spot.

"I do what I call a home triage," says Mark Grove, an accredited senior appraiser of the American Society of Appraisers. "I might spend an hour or two walking though a client's home, and while they take notes I advise them--this should go to a yard sale, or this can go to a catalogue auction." He continues, "Although I am not doing an appraisal, or providing them a value for each item, they find it helpful to know which items might be valuable and merit an appraisal, and which items could be sold at what type of venue."

When hiring an appraiser , hire only accredited appraisers from an established national organization like the American Society of Appraisers. Don't use an appraiser who offers to buy the items or charges you a fee based on a percentage of the item's value. That is a conflict of interest.

To find an appraiser or to learn more about appraisals, consumers can log on to http://www.appraisers.org.

About ASA
ASA is an international organization of appraisal professionals and others dedicated to the education, development and growth of the appraisal profession. ASA is the oldest and only major organization representing all disciplines of appraisal specialists, originating in 1936 and incorporating in 1952. ASA's headquarters is in the metropolitan Washington, D.C., area.

Press contacts:
Lisa Schaumann
540.687.5099/540.729.2114, or
Vicki Bendure, APR
540.687.3360/202.374.9259

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