Learn how to find the value of your antiques and the best way to sell antiques you no longer wish to keep.
How do I determine what my antique is worth?
There are several ways to determine the value of an antique, here are a few simple options.
Meet with an expert.
A certified appraiser with experience can give you insightful information on where a piece was made, how it was used, and what its retail and whole sale value is. A written appraisal is important to obtain for high value antiques and will be necessary in order to insure the piece. An appraiser giving you a thoroughly researched written appraisal will charge $90-$250 per hour. Appraisers can be found in most cities and contact information is readily available online and in telephone books.
One of our favorite appraisers in Michigan is http://www.appraiseyourart.com/
Verbal appraisals from a certified appraiser can be equally insightful and cost significantly less, however they cannot be used for insurance purposes. Verbal appraisals can cost anywhere from $5 - $20.
Certified appraisers will be offering verbal appraisals at
- Rotary Antique Show - November 2nd, 5pm-9pm, $5 per item.
- Grand Rapids Antiques Market – January 5-6, 2013, $5 per item.
For larger pieces, bring high resolution photos of your item. Be sure to include any maker's marks along with measurements.
Using The Internet
Ebay can give a quick determination of what an antique may sell for online. This is very helpful for mass produced items with large popularity and easy name recognition. For unmarked items, one of a kind pieces, unsigned art, folk art, or large furniture this can be difficult to search and sell for less. To research what an item is selling for at Ebay.com, go to the advanced search function and after entering your keywords, choose “completed listings” box. This will display the final selling prices, if any.
Other sites also selling antiques:
www.Etsy.com Etsy sells hand crafted and vintage items at prices set by the seller.
www.RubyLane.com also sells antiques at prices set by the seller.
If you have a large quantity of items or an item you suspect is very valuable, a subscription to WorthPoint.com may be helpful. WorthPoint will give you a more descriptive background of how the items are selling at auction.
Selling Your Antiques
Here are options for selling your antiques
- Auction Consignment – This is a quick and easy way to sell. Most cities have several auction houses. To get top dollar, submit your pieces for sale at an auction with similar items. IE: if you are selling a Civil War artifact, ask the auction house when their next military auction will be. Auction houses typically take 20%-40% of the selling price. A list of licensed auction houses in Michigan can be found at www.MSAA.org Schmidts Antiques in Yipsilanti Michigan is a reputable auctions house that is highly recommended www.schmidtsantiques.com
- Consignment at an Antique Shop – some antique shops take in antiques on consignment for their showroom floor at 20%-40% of the selling price. The benefit of selling at an antique shop is that you can work with the shop owner in determining the sale price which can sometimes be higher than that of an online or live auction.
- Self Listing Online Auction – ebay is the most popular of the online auction sites. This can be complex for first time users, but for large quantities it is useful. Some cities will have a local online auction house that your will photograph your antiques and list them on their online service.
- Online Auction Service - recently many online auction services have emerged to sell a variety of new and used goods. www.MichiganOnlineAuctions.com
- Craigslist – This is a simple and easy way to list an antique for sale, but the process does have its vulnerabilities. Often it works as intended and gets a high selling price that you negotiate directly with the buyer. However, there is spamming, phishing, and the potential danger of inviting strangers to your home. Take sensible precautions when inviting people to your home, and only accept cash offers.
- Estate Sale – If you are planning on downsizing a huge collection or have inherited an estate, an estate sale is a profitable option. Estate sale services are often provided by antique shops, antique dealers, non-profit organizations, and professional estate sale companies. Experts recommend calling at least three estate services to find the best commission percentage and inquire how they will advertise your sale. If the sale is well advertised you will have more buyers and receive a higher selling price.
- Other Options – other options include pawn shops, flea markets, garage sales, or a classified ad in your local newspaper.