The Estate Sales Circus

…or How to Drive an Estate Liquidator Crazy…

Cole Brothers Circus paper sign promoting The Great Florenzo

(Sold By Dan Morphy Auctions for $770.00)

I kind of think that most Estate Sales Professional start their day fairly sane – that they have a reasonable expectation that they will be civil and cordial to their customers while conducting their sale – that they will endeavor to try and sell their clients items to their estate sales customers in as easy of a fashion as they possibly can.

…but then something sometimes happens…

Houdini in the Amsterdam (Holland) Prison Jan. 1902 poster

(Poster Sold by Swann Galleries for $65,000.00)

The Estate Sales Process Gets Weighted Down By “The Haggle.”

Estate Sales Professionals have to walk a very taunt and thin tight rope. They have to satisfy two kinds of people. Their clients who want the most income for their personal property and their estate sales customers who are looking for the best, or in their minds “A reasonable purchase price.”

This leads to all sorts of Estate Sales Acrobatics…Like Tumblers at a Circus…

La Montie Family circus poster
Poster Sold By Cowan’s Auctions for $510.00

Part of the fun of going to estate sales is finding or negotiating for bargains. It’s intrinsic to the process. Negotiating the price helps me sell and my customers buy, about 90% of all the personal property contained in a home during a 3 day estate sale. So let’s negotiate. No problem there…

And let’s celebrate the conclusion of our negotiation as a Win for both of us….

Sterling Super-Bru chromolithographed tin sign

(Sold by Cowan’s Auctions for $1,667.00)

Three Negotiating Suggestions

  1. Stay Loose
  2. Remember there are two sides to the process.
  3. The other side is not the enemy.

Also, there are so many estate sales out there, and there is so much “Stuff.” If you don’t successfully conclude a deal at one estate sale you may find it at another just down the road.

If you want to learn more about Antiques and Collectibles Values, then read my post about how to get 10% off Prices 4


Martin Codina

Where to Purchase Our Book "Liquidating an Estate"

4 thoughts on “The Estate Sales Circus

  1. Martin, you are exactly right. I can usually tell what kind of day I will have by how the crowd is behaving before I open the door. The key is to have a well trained staff, wouldn’t you agree?

  2. Wayne –

    The Staff, well I am so very lucky in that department – Our Staff, so incredible…they are so patient. I am fortunate to have them.


  3. I have found that if I’m friendly and courteous, and ask nicely, the estate sale dude/ess will give me
    some slack on the price if they can and if I’m buying a decent amount of stuff. I also have the attitude that
    it’s not a life or death situation if I get a discount. As in, if I get a discount, great, if I don’t that’s cool too.

    I have seen people try and get a discount by dissing the product and estate sale people are way too savvy to this ploy
    to fall for it. It just makes them annoyed, and rightfully so!

    If everyone chills, everyone has fun, right? 🙂 And there is definitely some absurdity to the fact that we are sitting in
    someone’s house going through their stuff!

    Rock on!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *