Use the downloadable documents below to guide you in your efforts to organize and winnow your paperwork and possessions and to find the best outlets to sell your things. Learn where to donate or sell furniture, books and clothing. And find a list of auction houses so that you can appraise and sell things of value.
And when selling your things, keep in mind some advice:
● Obtain a second opinion for appraisals and auctions.
● Opinions and appraisals cost money, the amount depends on the type of appraisal requested. If the appraiser is going to be legally obligated by the appraisal, it will be more expensive. Appraisals also differ according to the purpose: insurance, estate, retail, etc. Insurance appraisals will usually give a higher value than retail appraisals.
● Supply and demand drive value.
● As a rule, 90% of a collection's value derives from just 20% of the content.
● It’s possible to send photographs of items you'd like to sell to most auction houses to learn if they are interested in listing them.
● Expect varying upfront costs and buyers’ premiums for bringing something to auction and selling it thereafter. Find out what these costs are beforehand. All of these costs should be spelled out in the contract that you sign with the auction house.
● Books are very hard to liquidate. For a book to be considered old by a dealer, think 400 years or more! And for other kinds of objects, age does not always spell value.
● Hallmarks are very important. And so is condition. But beware of refinishing antiques, a process that can negatively affect value.
● Gold or silver in an object is not always indicated. It may have gold or silver content even if that is not clearly labeled; have an expert examine it.
● Signatures on artwork such as paintings, drawings, lithographs and tapestries are not always discernible, but they can often be detected by the expert eye. A signed piece can make all the difference in valuation.
● Antique clocks have value, as do “mid-century modern” items.
This information was presented at two BAiP panels. The March 24, 2011, panel "Getting Past the Clutter" featured Rita Golub, a Licensed Clinical Social Worker and Professional Geriatric Care Manager, and Kenny Weinberg, a professional apartment organizer. The March 22, 2012, panel "What's My Stuff Worth," featured George Lowry, Chairman of Swann Auction Galleries, and Michael Capo and Monique Merrill of Capo Auction Fine Art and Antiques.