Category Archives: Estate Sales Resource Articles

Estate Sales? Auctions? Which Is Best?

The Short Answer: Both Are Best!

I have spent the last 16 years selling and marketing Antiques and Collectibles for clients throughout the San Francisco Bay Area.

In that time I have sold every conceivable kind of item that you can find in a home – endless stacks of Tupperware, dishes galore, burnt Teflon pots and pans, and especially treasures…

I have been fortunate to have had the wonderful opportunity to sell Quarter Million Dollar Paintings, Sterling Daggers for close to $100,000.00 and Coin Collections for as much as $358,000.00

I have found money, sometimes stacks of it, in the strangest and oddest places. I love a treasure. I expect to find them. I never doubt that I will.

I act solely on behalf of others, their big picture, their goals, what they want. I am a Professional Estate Liquidator; modern in every sense – the internet, and the myriad ways it can be used to further my clients goals is where I spend more time then I’d ever care to admit.

Whether To Sell at Auction Or In An Estate Sale Depends On What You Have

If You Have A Valuable Painting

Painting of Early Berlin by Eduard Gaertner ($243,000.00)

Then You Sell It Through An Auction

This is a painting we sold for a client in Antioch CA. We found it the most average of track homes, out in the suburbs, in one of the last places you might expect to find something so valuable…

But If You Have A Cabinet Of Sterling Silver

Sausalito Estate Sale (See Pictures)

Then You Sell It Through An Estate Sale

Of course there are some exceptions to this rule…but it is mostly better to sell your sterling through an estate sale rather than at an auction, unless that sterling is in a rare pattern, or by a significant maker.

Here Is What Auctioneers Won’t Tell You

  1. Big and Prestigious Auction Houses Only Want Your Most Valuable Stuff.
  2. Small and Medium Auction Houses Want Your Most Valuable Stuff Too, But Can’t Really Hope To Get The Big Bucks These Items Deserve!
  3. Auction Houses Charge You To Sell Your Items and They Charge Buyers a “Buyers Premium” In Order To Buy From Them – This Could Mean That Buyers Are Willing, Only To Pay Less At Auction…

Auctions are best when you have an item that has so much hidden or not so hidden value that it needs a larger marketplace of buyers in order to generate that value. Most things in most houses don’t have that kind of value.

Use Caution: If your estate has a few items of high value and you consign those items to an auction house in order that that high value may be realized, then you may run the risk of devaluing the estate so much so, that the rest of what you have is not easily marketable, because your estate’s residual items will be too costly for a Estate Sales Professional to organize and stage an estate sale on your behalf.

Solution: Hire someone who knows how to separate Auction Items from Estate Sales Items.

Here Is What Estate Sales Professionals Won’t Tell You

  1. That They Pick Or Pre Buy From Estates They Represent (Ask them, and if true never hire them)
  2. That They Don’t Have Sound Accounting Practices.
  3. That They Pre Sell To Dealer Friends.
  4. That They Really Don’t Know How To Conduct Effective Research.

Estate Sales are best when the professional you are dealing with correctly knows the difference between something that belongs in an Estate Sale and something that belongs in an auction – when Estate Liquidators  can explain their research capacity, and can demonstrate with records their past successes combining estate sales with auction placement strategies.

Use Caution: The Estate Sales Business is Unregulated. There are almost no laws governing an Estate Liquidators activities. There are unscrupulous so called professionals out there.

Solution: Only use Estate Sales Professionals who can provide you with recent referrals. Only use professionals who can show evidence of their past estate sales.


All The Best To You,

Martin Codina

CEO Fine Estate Sales

415-235-7238

Where to Purchase Our Book "Liquidating an Estate"


Are Auctioneers Like Pickers?

In a Word…Yes!

Most medium to large Auction Houses are Antiques and Collectibles Pickers who want only your best!

(Michigan Auction – June 1938 by William Vandivert From Life Magazine)

Question: What will you do with the rest?

When Skinners, Bonham’s and Christie’s come knocking on your door, make no mistake, they are looking for only certain kinds of antiques and collectibles. They want “Stuff Worth Lots of Money,” and once they get it, they will leave you to fend for yourself – trying to figure out what to do with the rest.

These Auctioneers will pick your estate: No doubt about this. Do they really care about what you are going to do with the rest of your inherited property, the dishes, the pots and pans – all the everyday books – your Mom or Dads furniture? No they don’t, at least not in ways that will be helpful to you.

So ask yourself, Do I want an Auctioneer who Picks only my best?

(Michigan Auction – June 1938 by William Vandivert From Life Magazine)

Large Auction Houses Want Only Your Best: They want – have to have, your big ticket items; without them, they loose prestige and income amongst their peers.

So make no mistake – Auctioneers, especially those who represent the medium to large auction houses pretty much only care about a handful of your heirlooms.

Auctioneers who are Exception to this, are the smaller regional auction houses: They will accept many more kinds of items to include in their upcoming estate auctions. A few, and I do mean a few will actually leave your home broom clean for you. This is what most average people need, an auction service which will leave the house empty.

When Contemplating Auctioneers, here are 3 Questions to think about:

  1. Does the Auctioneer have a comprehensive plan to help you with all of your personal property?
  2. Does the Auctioneer have a through understanding of your overall objectives?
  3. Does the Auctioneer have a resourceful way for you to deal with your estates residuals or remainders?

Final Thought: If your estate has a vast array of medium valued items with a few items of exceptional value, then consider the following two suggestions:

  1. Work with an Estate Sales Professional who understands how to properly meld an effective auction placement strategy in combination with the sale of your personal property at an on-site Estate Sale.
  2. Work with one of the medium sized regional auction houses that understands their own limits – which has no objection to their placing of a few of your exceptional, and high valued items in one of the larger auction houses upcoming auctions; in this way helping you achieve maximum benefit for your high valued items while at the same time helping you with all of the rest of your personal property.

Good Luck,

Martin Codina
CEO Fine Estate Sales and Estate Liquidation, Inc.

Where to Purchase Our Book "Liquidating an Estate"


A Reader Asks…

“I’d Like To Know How To Work In The Estate Sales Business”

As you might imagine I get at least a few questions about how to work for, or how to start an Estate Sales Business every week. People are looking for different ways to generate additional incomes as a side jobs or they’re looking to start whole new businesses…the following post is my answer.

Let Me Just Say: There are far easier paths to cash than to start your own Estate Sales Business

Starting in The Estate Sales Business Is Like Entering a Maze


It’s Complex, Sometimes Difficult, and Always Challenging…

Here Are The 4 Questions from our reader:

  1. How do I go about working for an Estate Sales Company?
  2. What are the jobs that may be available in the Estate Sales Business?
  3. If I work with someone just starting, where online would we find free appraisals?
  4. How much would a starting part time hourly wage be?

“How do I go about working for an Estate Sales Company?”

The Estate Sales Business is a trust business, all of it, from the first entrance into a home to set it up, to all of the customer interactions, All Of It Is Based On Trust.

Expect any job inquiry of an Estate Liquidator to be met with a bit of skepticism. If you want a job in the Estate Liquidation Industry, first develop a relationship with them. The best way to do this is to go their Estate Sales from week to week – have them get a chance to know you before asking if they need any help.

“What are the jobs that may be available in the Estate Sales Business?”

The least known job in the Estate Sales Business is that of the marketer – if you have experience as a marketer or experience as a PR Person – especially if you have a demonstrable track record – I imagine, you could pretty much get a job with an Estate Liquidator any day of the week.

Estate Sales Professionals Want…

More Business… If you can help them get more business – You can have a job!

To be Better… If you can show them how to be more effective – You can have a job!

Increase Incomes… If you can help an Estate Liquidator make money – You can have a job!

If you want a job in the Estate Sales Business, then prove to an Estate Liquidator that you can do the above.

Other Jobs In The Estate Sales Business: Set-Up Staff – On-Site Sales Staff – Outside Consultants – Cashiers….

If I work with someone just starting, where on-line would we find free appraisals?

Free Appraisals are only worth their cost: In other words to find out how much something is worth you are going to have to either pay for it, have the experience to know already, or you are going to have to invest your time.

Here are two places to conduct research – by the way there are others: Our Research Antiques and Collectibles Pages, and a site I use everyday – Prices4Antiques.Com – If you like Prices4Antiques.Com then click the link to find out about a discount code for them.

How much would a starting part time hourly wage be?

In the San Francisco Bay Area, we likely pay more per hour for our estate sales staffing then most places in the country – at Fine Estate Sales we pay our staff between $12.00 – $18.00 an hour.

But I feel certain that in other parts of the country you’ll likely find that wages for Estate Sales Staff are lower.

Sign Me: Grateful To The Estate Sales Industry,

Martin Codina
CEO Fine Estate Liquidation, Inc.
San Francisco Bay Area

Where to Purchase Our Book "Liquidating an Estate"



Our Top Ten 2009 Estate Sales News Articles

Our Top Ten 2009 Estate Sales News Articles

We owe you our readers a big ol’ incredibly large handshake. A standing ovation!!!

2009, was such a hard year for so many…

But antiques dealers, collectors, and all of you vintage collectibles people, you still came to our Estate Sales, you bought stuff, and you read our estate sales, antiques and collectibles articles. It’s because of you that we are still here, and for that we thank you from the bottoms of are ancient but highly collectible hearts.

Here are the Top Ten Estate Sales Related Articles You Read Here In 2009

1. Audrey Hepburn’s Wedding Dress

2. Estate Sales The Billion Dollar Business
….You Need To Know About

Pile of Morgan Dollars

3. At Estate Sales, Be On The Lookout For…

4. Stuff to Look For At Estate Sales

5. Vintage Clothing At Estate Sales

6. Estate Sales or Auctions?

7. The Lone Rangers Gun, Plus The Pistol
….I’d Have If I Were a Vaquero

8. Civil War Colt Model 1851 Navy
….Revolvers Found in New York

9. The Estate Sales Circus

10. Religious Objects at Estate Sales

So 2010 Here We Come!

Fine Estate Sales and Estate Liquidation is just going to keep bringing you all the latest and best Estate Sales, Antiques and Collectibles News and Information that we can get our hands on. We have big plans in store for you our readers.

Many more features are on the way. Keep coming, join our Estate Sales Newsletter, and by all means use the Research Links we have found for you. Our every intention is to continue making the gathering of research information as easy, painless and profitable as possible.

Good Luck Out There – Happy Hunting…

Martin, Valetta, and The Fine Estate Staff

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Antiques: Absinthe Spoons, Business Machines and Cigar Bands

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Research Your Antiques and Collectibles By Clicking On A Letter

Some Reviews Of Antiques and Collectibles Research Sites

Because we at Fine Estate Sales and Estate Liquidation are absolutely committed to aiding and assisting you in making the right choices with regard to the proper valuation and sale of your Antiques and Collectibles, we created this list of research and resource sites. From time to time we will add reviews of some of the sites you will find by using our Antiques and Collectibles Research links…

Absinthe Spoons

The Virtual Absinthe Museum

The Virtual Absinthe Museum is an all in one Antique Absinthe Resource and Research site. If you are looking for a rare Sterling Silver absinthe spoon like the one pictured above or an Absinthe poster, which by the way are all truly glorious to look at, then this site, with its super easy to use navigation is the place you either want to shop, or use to research your Absinthe Collectibles.

Business Machines and Office Equipment

1885 Dixon Lamson Pencil Sharpener from Office Museum

The Early Office Museum

The Early Office Museum is my kind of site. Look at the above 1885 Dixon Lamson Pencil Sharpener; so different than what is available to sharpen pencils today. In the 1880′s when it came to office equipment, the two things they had not a lack of were aesthetics and functionality. This antique sharpener has both in spades.

If you have a true Antique Office Rarity, you should drop them an email with some photos, who knows, they may be interested.

Also, and this is kooky, if you have one of those old office staplers, and you wonder who on earth has staples for these things, then your search is over. They sell them. Wow, imagine that.

Cigar Bands and Boxes

Cigar Box Labels.Com

Cigar Box Labels Dot Com is chock full of the most amazing cigar box labels and cigar related ephemera on the internet. It might literally take you days to plumb and investigate its depths. Their site has an easy and flowing Gallery Style Navigation system, making your task of cigar label research so much more fruitful, as well as so much more manageable.

It all here, from the most expensive to the modestly priced. And the visuals just don’t stop; page after page of the best in cigar boxes and labels – representing some of the best illustration the cigar advertising and marketing world have ever produced.

This is also a great place to buy cigar labels if you are a collector, or to make sales inquires, if you have a collection you want to sell.

Reviews By

Martin Codina

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