If you have some antiques, or even one that you would like to sell, where do you go to sell it? This is mainly for individuals not in the antique business although it could apply to antique dealers also. Before you even try to sell your item(s), please do your research first. You need to have a pretty good idea of what you want for your item. You may be thinking , “Duh!” But I can’t tell you the number of times that someone came into our store wanting to sell us something, but said they didn’t know what they wanted for it. But if I offered them $10, they quickly said “No.” So there was a price they had in mind.
So once you have done your research, now where do you go to sell the items. Let’s start with my above example, try to sell your antiques to an antique dealer. This usually is at a antique store or antique mall. Some stores and malls have a policy against buying from individuals, but many don’t. When you did your research, you might have found retail prices for your items. Unfortunately television shows like “Antiques Roadshow” causes many people to think their things are worth a lot more than they really are. If you are selling your things to an antique dealer, remember that he has to buy it at a price where he can make a decent profit. When they sell something, they usually have to discount it. They have credit card fees, rent etc, so if you see a price of say $100 on an item like yours, you could expect to receive about $40 for that item.
If you want full price for your items, you can always become a dealer and rent a space in an antique mall or go to a flea market. I was just saying this tongue in cheek, I know most are not going to do this. Another good source to sell your antiques is to a consignment store. Try to find one that has other antiques so they know the value of antiques. They will usually charge at least 30% and maybe more to sell your item for you. The longer your item stays in the store, the more they will reduce the price. It usually will be reduced on a set schedule. This helps to move the merchandise out the store so their will be room for new stock. I might add that some, but very few, antique shops will take items on consignment.
Craigs List is another good place to try to sell your antiques and collectibles. They allow photos of your antiques, which makes it more attractive than listing in the classified section of your newspaper, which is another option. If you are in a small town away from a city, there might not be a Craigs List for your community and then the newspaper classified section might be the best option. You could also list your items to sell in the classified sections of trade magazines such as “Antique Trader.”
There are several other articles on this site about where to sell your antiques. I am sure I probably did not cover all of the options, but hopefully I have written about the main ones. If you have done your homework and are realistic in your expectations, you should be able to sell your antiques and collectibles. But being realistic in your expectations is a big part of this. Like right now, in this economy (early 2011), antique furniture is a difficult sell. Just like new furniture, antique styles have periods of great popularity, and periods where they are not as popular.
About ten years ago, dark heavily carved Victorian furniture was very popular. But starting about three years ago, it became much more difficult to sell. Does that mean you can’t sell it, of course not. But it will take longer and you can’t get the prices we once did. I still love it, but don’t buy it like I once did. And condition means everything in antiques. Damage can make something almost worthless. Of course that depends on the piece and the damage. Just be as realistic as possible and I know it is human nature to think your things are more valuable than they really are. But there is a reason you want to sell it whether you just don’t want it any more or you need money more than you do the piece. As antique dealers we face this all the time when we price things. And there are times when we just get tired of something that has been around too long or we need some cash to buy new inventory or just to pay bills. So antique dealers need to be realistic also. Those price guides that we might use to price things never have bought a thing from me. So antique dealer or not, find the best place for you to sell antiques and be realistic in your expectations.