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 Рwhen 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"


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