When it comes to selling your antiques by auction, you have many choices, and many good auctioneers or auction houses.
However, regardless of who you are dealing with, first and foremost, you have to understand the terms and conditions of consigning, and especially the costs involved in selling your items. Consignment costs can vary greatly, and I have heard some disturbing stories from consignors who were not aware of all the costs, because they did not ask the right questions. I am working on a very nice living estate, and when I was there the other day, a family member asked if there were any hidden costs. And because I can be a bit of a goof at times, I looked at him, and said with a straight face “there are many hidden costs…but if I told you what they were…they wouldn’t be hidden anymore” He broke out laughing (which was good for me), and then I assured him there are no hidden costs when you are dealing with me. I quoted a commission rate, and told him the only additional cost, would be if I had to hire someone to help me load the furniture when I got to the house. I told him what the hourly rate would be. Cut and dried, very simple. The point is, he asked the right question. You don’t want your items taken to auction and then find out you are being charged for photos, packing, moving and storage. Some auctioneers charge for those services, and that is fair, as long as the consignor is aware of those charges beforehand. Recently, I heard from a woman who consigned her items to an on-line auction. She was pleased with the prices, but then found out she was charged for photographs, packing and moving, in addition to the commission, and when she figured it all out, it cost her 60% to sell her items. These are all fair business practises, but as a consignor, obviously she was not aware of those charges ahead of time. I have also heard of extreme cases where the consignor ended up owing the auction house money! This could very well happen if you are trying to sell low end goods. So the point I am making is…just ask. If you are not comfortable with the fees and commissions…shop around. There are plenty of good auctioneers around.