Whether you are a discerning collector or someone helping settle a family estate you always wonder what your options are when it comes to selling. When bringing any antiques or collectibles to market you have several avenues from the random Craigslist Ad “Buying Your Modern Furniture” to estate liquidators, auction houses, or your own hard work, sweat, and tears. I will preface this article that working in an auction house environment does tend to make me biased, but that is because I always hear the private selling horror stories!
Let’s investigate the options. There is no denying that selling outright is certainly your fastest and easiest option. You make the phone call or email, the buyer shows up or maybe you take it to their store, a price is offered, cash is accepted, and you carry on with your day. If you are too busy of a person or don’t care to wait for consignment this is the option for you. However (with major emphasis), just know you are going to be selling the items at a great discount. A private dealer or store owner is someone who works for their best interest, not your own. A dealer’s goal is to buy at the cheapest price possible to maximize return. It is just the nature of the beast. Again, some people don’t care, and I have delt with several of them, they just want whatever cash they can get and continue on. I will note though that there are good dealers out there who are upfront and honest who do treat people fairly, but unfortunately that is the minority. Make sure to do your homework on who you are dealing with!
Prime example, and one of my favorite stories while working at Bruneau & Co… Last year we were referred to an original owner collection in New Jersey from another auction house who did not deal with comic books. Prior to being introduced to us, they planned to sell the books to a local comic shop. What at first sounded great as a $30,000 cash offer turned into over $100,000 at auction after having the collection properly managed. That is the benefit of consignment. When working with an auction house it becomes a team effort, the more you make the more the auction house makes. Now depending on value and work involved you may need to pay upwards of 30% commission, but that will ultimately get you the most money in the end. It will take time, but if you can wait it is worth it. The biggest piece of advice I can leave you with is do not rush into anything. Take your time, do some research, and find the option that is best suited for you.
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