Auctions Distort Estate Item Pricing

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March 23, 2013
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April 30, 2013

Auctions Distort Estate Item Pricing

This is a follow-up to our earlier blog about pricing antiques and collectibles.

As stated in that blog, something is worth what you can get for it on the day your are attempting to sell it.  And there are a number of factors affecting this price.

We also mentioned the folly of the estimated price ranges provided by famous auction houses and how in many instances, the actual price paid is either way above or way below the estimated range.  Now we have some proof to offer.

Take a look at this page which appeared in the March 2013 issue of Architectural Digest.  Click on it to enlarge the page for easier reading.

The Stickley settee shown at the bottom of the page had a pre-auction price range high of $12,000.  At auction this settee sold for $24,000.

The blue and white vase shown on the left side of the page was expected to sell in the range of $500,000 to $700,000.  At auction the vase sold for $5.2 million dollars.

Again, you can read about the other items shown on the page by clicking on it to enlarge it.

The point here isn’t to marginalize the experts working for the auction houses.  The point to be made is that it is near impossible to determine an accurate selling price for older, used merchandise like antiques, collectibles, and vintage items.

So when someone asks you what something is worth, simply tell them it is only worth what someone will pay on the day you are attempting to sell it.

And if you hope to get the maximum amount for your item, try selling it on eBay or with one of the major auction houses.

In an auction environment you are counting on finding two people with lots of money who both want the item and will pay way more than it is probably worth.



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