My 50th high school reunion occurs this year. Oh my! As it approaches, a former classmate kindly is serving as the hub for a “bio-fest” and is coordinating short life summaries since high school for the class. Very interesting reading.
But, as often happens, when people hear I am in the business of antique and collectibles, they want to know “What can I do with___?” or “How can I find out what___is worth?” This happens at our booth in the antique mall, in emails to our online store, and in conversation with friends and family. In these days of a population with grown kids and downsizing, it certainly makes sense. And people are generally less inclined to toss into landfills but would rather to find a good home for their “stuff”.
This is not an easy question to answer. It depends on the items and where you live. The internet, of course, has a lot of useful information…and not so good information. Not only is there misinformation out there, but identification of an item frequently depends on visual inspection of subtle differences. There are a few places online like Replacements (china, glass, and silver) who will buy for resale. You can always ask.
To sell high end items (sterling silver, genuine gems in gold, paintings by known artists), there are good auction houses in large cities who can evaluate the item and sell it for you. Otherwise, it can be taken to a local appraiser for a fee.
If you have no idea what you have, it becomes more problematic. You probably don’t want to pay a fee or you might have many items. One possibility is Antiques Roadshow if you are lucky enough to go as we did once. Sometimes auction houses or antique malls will have a free appraisal day or can get you in touch with someone willing to identify your treasures.
If you have everyday household items, small auction houses will sell them in an “estate” sales. But returns will be low. We buy most of our inventory at these auctions – but then, we do enjoy a good auction!
Here’s wishing your treasures are rare finds!