More antiques are entering the market now than ever before. Many Boomers are downsizing, and other people are simply looking to increase their cash flow in a tight economy. You may be inclined to jump on the resale bandwagon, but be cautious: Supply is increasing, but demand for antiques is diminishing, especially when it comes to large pieces of furniture. You will need to take proper actions in order to get the best price for your items.
Due to the aforementioned supply and demand disparity, antique dealers that used to typically pay about half of an item’s retail value when purchasing privately are now inclined to pay less. Here’s some advice that should help you to get the most for your items.
Offer what will sell
First and foremost, understand that dealers are not interested in purchasing common, damaged or otherwise undesirable items. If you want to raise a reasonable amount of money, offer them what they can readily resell. This includes finer items like artwork and jewelry, true antiquities from the 19th century or earlier and popular collectibles such as military and political memorabilia. Understand that most dealers are not interested in paying much if anything for your old jelly glasses, mismatched pieces of china and bric-a-brac. There are buyers for this type of thing, but these items do not command high prices and are best sold at a yard sale or donated to a charity.
Get your antiques clean and repaired
Next, make sure that your items are ready to sell. Dealers will pay most for items that are clean, complete and free of damage. Consider having damaged items properly repaired before offering them to a dealer. If you are unsure about how to properly fix an antique, contact a place that specializes in such things. This may get you a higher price when you go to sell it, but beware paying more for a repair than the item is worth.
Above all, do not attempt repairs yourself! A bad repair is usually far worse than no repair at all. When sprucing up your antiques and vintage items, avoid over-cleaning that could remove the item’s natural patina. Often, those marks of age are what will set your item apart from similar things on the shelf.
Do your homework
Finally, do some research so you understand what your items are and what they might be worth before taking them to a dealer. If you know the origin of your items and when they were obtained, make sure to tell the dealer. Keep in mind that subtle differences between your items and others you’ve seen can greatly affect value, so be realistic. Listen carefully to the dealer’s assessment, and don’t begrudge him or her a fair margin of profit when it comes time to determine a price. Remember, they have to sell your item to someone else, which takes time and effort, not to mention space on the shelf. You’re paying for the convenience of getting your cut quickly, not hustling to make top dollar yourself.
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