Junk In Your Trunk
The Etiquette of Valuing and Hocking Your Treasures
- This month - We have a saying in the antique business: "It's only worth what someone will pay for it."
We have a saying in the antique business: "It's only worth what someone will pay for it."
That phrase usually passes over my lips once a week, mostly when I'm attempting to educate someone who is seeking my advice on selling an item. The fact is, the sentiment you attach to Grandma's depression glass might not fetch the wealth you'd imagine at auction. On the brighter side of things, if it happens to be a rare piece of Anchor Hocking, then you might have something on your hands.
The best resource to find out how much your antique item is worth is your local antique store. Most of the time they are happy to look at your item and tell you it's history. But please call and schedule an appointment first! Some shops offer this service for a nominal fee, and include printed information and resources. You can also schedule an appraisal for items of high value. Please do not show up at a store on a busy Saturday and ask the owner to abandon their post to come view something in the trunk of your car. That's so Ted Bundy.
Any reputable antique dealer will offer you a fair price for your object, but be warned: this offer only stands in that moment. While you do reserve the right to shop around for the right buyer, remember that you're dealing with a tight-knit community of antique enthusiasts where phone calls are faster than feet. So if you're courting all of the shops on the same street, chances are the shop owners know who you are and what you're selling before you even walk through the door. Much like the dating world, you might get the cold shoulder in a situation like this.
TIP: When viewing items on eBay, select "Sold Listings" to see what the item has actually sold for. To calculate an idea of value, average the lowest and highest sold items. By doing this, you can determine a (very superficial) fair market value. If you find the items on auction pages, some will reveal the selling price of an object. You may look at predicted auction prices to get a broad scope, but in reality- it's only the selling price that counts.
You must remember that your items matter most to you, and if you have any hesitation to sell, then don't. No dollar sign will ever replace the regret of hocking a piece of a loved one or a special memory. If you do have items to sell, call your local antique stores to schedule an appointment for viewing. See the the Cleaver's exclusive Bay-Waveland Antique Directory for local stores.