We hear the question all the time in the auction business, "how much is it worth?"
Many times people trying to liquidate items through the auction process simply don't know what an item is worth. Most of the time when asked, they throw out a dollar number that they feel
an item is worth. The dollar number is usually based on nothing more than an emotional guess based on what they initially paid or the famous "I saw it selling on eBay for that much". There really is not much research on the part of most sellers when it comes to valuation of collectibles.
So let's clear the air and see if we can recommend some ways to help put a more accurate value on your collectibles. First off "Selling on eBay" and "SOLD on eBay" are two totally different numbers that rarely match. "Selling" on eBay is what the asking price is if the buyer purchases via the "Buy it Now" button. "Sold" on eBay is what items have actually
sold for either through Buy it now or the auction process. We have had many sellers use the "selling on eBay" line hoping they will get more money. They usually wake up When we show them the "sold" listings for their type of item and they are hit with reality that their item is not worth what they thought on an open market.
eBay can be an OK place to start with a simple ballpark figure but certainly not a solid number that has some backing. In the auction business we usually start with eBay then work our way out from there. We recommend researching local auction houses "sold" listings, as well as either current or the original retail value. Also research the history of the item to see if there is any historical significance such as, owned by someone famous or in a war or major historical event. History of an item can sometimes make the difference on whether or not the item is worth much or little.
Another issue to consider is condition of the item. Some people have a notion that if something is "old" no matter the condition "it must be worth good money". Unfortunately, condition is everything when selling collectibles in today's market. A vintage Roseville ewer in excellent condition can yield over $300 or more at auction. Likewise the same ewer cracked and chipped may bring $25 at best.
Also consider whether the items were mass produced or a limited run or a one of a kind. The JFK assassination newspapers are brought to us repeatedly with sellers thinking they've hit the lottery. Unfortunately the JFK assassination was on every major and minor newspaper front page worldwide, they are not rare and only worth a few dollars in good condition. On the other hand a "Dewey defeats Truman" newspaper has "sold" on eBay anywhere from $360 to $2695 because they were a misprint and only a very limited number were made. If you have a "Dewey defeats Truman" newspaper, please contact us as we take consignments
and would be happy to place this in our auctions!
The best way to obtain value is through an experienced certified appraiser
. A good appraiser will properly research the item and place a viable market value on the item.
Ultimately, the value comes down to the final drop of the auction
hammer which yields a true " Fair Market Value or FMV
". Auctions have been setting collectibles values hundreds of years and will continue to in the future. Contact us today to consider liquidating your collectibles.