Spring Cleaning For Cash

  RESTON, Va.— For people looking to raise some extra money, this year’s spring cleaning could lead to a few extra dollars.  The American Society of Appraisers offers advice to people wondering how to cash-in on their extra knick-knacks, antiques, collectibles and fine art.
“Many people have items that they would like to get rid of, but they don’t know what they are worth, or how to go about selling them,” says Laurance Triplette, accredited senior appraiser of the American Society of Appraisers.  “There are actually lots of options for selling antiques and collectibles; however some options are better than others depending upon what the items are worth.”

Some outlets for selling collectibles and antiques include:
Consignment shops.  Consignment shops will sell your items for you, but usually for a relatively high percentage of the sale price and if things don’t sell quickly they normally lower the price of the item to help it sell.  Be sure to get a consignment agreement that protects your ownership and sets up the date by which you must be paid after the sale.

Local weekly auctions.  Local auction houses hold regular catch-all auctions that sell a variety of items which are normally less valuable than items included in the catalogue auctions.
Local catalogue auctions.  Local auction houses will include your item in scheduled auctions that include similar types of property that is grouped together for sale.  These items are offered in a catalogue which is often posted on-line as well.  The auction house will charge a percentage of the sale price and also for additional costs such as insurance and photography.
Antiques dealers.  Antiques dealers will either buy the piece from you outright, or they will sell it for you and take a percentage of the sale price.  When selling to an antiques dealer, it is a good idea to have an appraisal by an independent appraiser of the item, or have a good idea of its value so you ensure that you are being properly compensated.   Be sure to get a consignment agreement that protects your ownership and sets up the date by which you must be paid after the sale. 

High end regional and national auction houses are for very valuable collectible items, antiques, or art work.  These auction houses charge a percentage of the sale price as well as fees for insurance, catalogue photographs, etc.
Do-it-yourself options for selling items include on-line sites like eBay and Craig’s List, and at yard sales and flea market stands. 
If consumers want to know more about the value of their items, they can consult an appraiser. Appraisers can either do an appraisal of an item, or they can be hired as consultants.  If an appraiser is hired as a consultant, they will do a walk-through of the home, and for a consulting fee will advise people about which things might be valuable and offer suggestions as to the best place to sell the items. This is different than getting an appraisal of the items.  An appraisal will assign a value to an item and will give a description and background about the piece.  An appraisal cannot be done on the spot.

When hiring an appraiser, hire only accredited appraisers from an established national organization like the American Society of Appraisers.  Don’t use an appraiser who offers to buy the items or charges you based on a percentage of an item’s value.  That is a conflict of interest.

Keep the appraisal report with your other legal, estate planning documents. Appraisal reports are recognized by courts as reliable testimony to the value of your possessions. They combine in one place the documentation, identification (including photographs) and a value for your property.
To find an appraiser or to learn more about appraisals, consumers can log on to www.appraisers.org.
About ASA
ASA is an international organization of appraisal professionals and others dedicated to the education, development and growth of the appraisal profession. ASA is the oldest and only major organization representing all disciplines of appraisal specialists, originating in 1936 and incorporating in 1952. ASA’s headquarters is in the metropolitan Washington, D.C., area.

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