“Stuff, stuff, stuff” – What do I do?

Most people call us because they don’t know what to do with their “stuff.” They are overwhelmed and don’t know where to begin and who to trust.

When we started business in 1996, we would spend 20 or 30 hours on one kind of collectible.We did this with stamps, coins, jewelry, figurines, art, furniture, silver, crystal, china, books, toys, sports memorabilia.. One dealer spent three days teaching us about fine china, antique china, crystal and silver. This gave us some  information as to what to look for.

We would take items like stamps along with books on stamp collecting, magnifying glass and the internet to find out as much as we possibly could. We would then contact a purchaser on behalf of the client on the understanding that the dealer or collector would give us an hour of their time and teach us what to look for and avoid. The offer was presented to the client who could accept or reject it. Because of our research we only submitted fair offers.

Unfortunately now most prices are very low. Boomers are downsizing and simplifying their lives and they really do not want the “treasures” the family had amassed. Many relatives refuse to take items that have been in their families for generations. It is sad but it is the way it is.

People purchased collectible, numbered prints for hundreds and thousands of dollars. The market became saturated and now they are lucky to get $50 to $200 for them. Figurines that cost $600 now sell for $50 to $100 unless someone really wants them.

Are there still “treasures” out there? YES, but you need to know what to look for. At times it is very wise to hire a reputable appraiser at $100 an hour. Ask for a realistic price that something could sell for within 30 days. We suggested that an elderly client pay for an art appraiser and her family agreed. Many of her tiny pictures were worth $200 each. One 9 inch by 12 inch colorful oil painting was worth $5000. She had always liked it and decided to keep it.

Sometimes when people know something is worth a lot of money they will keep it. Other times seniors or family memebers will sell items because they do want the money.

There are items that are seasonal. People purchase dining room sets before a holiday when the family could be coming for dinner. Desks ofter sell in late summer. Skis do not sell in the spring and golf clubs don’t sell well in the fall.

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