Friday, May 30, 2008
Selling Antiques, Collectibles & Fine Art Part II: Where to Sell Common, Everyday Items
What do you do when the item you want to sell isn’t worth a fortune? Placing it on a shelf and waiting for someone to come and find it isn’t the answer. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying you can’t make money with a shop or booth at a mall, but we’re aiming in a different direction. We’re aiming to transform our lives into a life of wealth secured over time. This simply can’t be achieved today by waiting for customers to find your item.
In today’s business environment, waiting for customers will limit you tremendously, and hamper your prosperity. It’s completely opposite of the guidelines I write about in my book, 31 Steps to Your Millions in Antiques & Collectibles, and opposite the guidelines 31 Club Members follow to build wealth buying and selling antiques, fine art and collectibles. I’d compare the “waiting for customers” thinking that some have to those who think the horse and buggy will be the transportation for the future. Today, you must market your items where they best fit.
Where to Sell Your Antique, Collectible, and Fine Art Items
Today, there are many places you could choose to market your more common and less valuable antiques & collectibles. Let's tackle the biggest fish first, eBay, and then some of the others.
Without this company, I wouldn't be in the Antique Business today, but I only use them on a “when needed” basis. I’ll explain. After I’ve researched an item, if I still don’t know its identity, then I list it on eBay. You see, with the following eBay has, nothing listed there will go totally unnoticed. The pros will see it listed, and even though it might not bring retail, my item will get a fair price. Yes, eBay’s commissions have skyrocketed, but if you use it selectively, not listing items that more than likely won’t sell, this is still a good venue to use. But, listing items that have a high probability of not selling will eat up your profits on the items that do sell. It cost money to list, and it’s not as inexpensive on eBay as it once was. With the kind of items I buy, eBay is usually my last resort, and as you ascend the steps of our program and are buying and selling more rare and valuable items, you will use it less and less as well. I will, however, use eBay to sell when they feature a special – like no listing fees. Then, I jump all over it.
Local Auctions are a good place to sell your antique & collectible items that aren’t worth a fortune or are not very rare. Our goal of turning our money quickly can be better achieved if you know your local auction houses and their schedules. When you’re aware of their schedules, the time between buying an item and selling it will be shortened when you know what Auction House is holding the very next sale. This will keep your money moving for you.
Second, when you use the auction houses regularly, they will negotiate a better commission rate with you. So get to know the people who run the auctions and begin building a relationship with them. These are great relationships to have, and let them know if there’s something special you like to buy. I use Direct Auction in Chicago, and one features that I really like about them is how quickly they pay you. If your sells on Tuesday, they pay you on Friday. Now you can't beat that. This has made them one of the most active auction houses in town, offering an auction every other week.
Believe it or not one of the best ways to reduce your inventory is by having a House Sale or Garage Sales. If the idea is to sell what you have and not put it back in inventory, prices must be fair. I wouldn’t recommend doing this more than twice a year because people will stop coming if you do. My rule of thumb is that I don’t do this type of sale unless I think I have enough merchandise to bring in more than $5,000. I’d be giving up a weekend of buying to have this kind of sale, and so for me, It simply isn’t worth the work for less than that.
These have been successful for me, however they can be quite expensive.
Piggybacking with Dealer in Their Booth. Helping a Dealer with heir booth at a major show, if they will let you, can give you the opportunity to put a few of your items in the booth. This can prove very profitable. I did this at the O’Hare Show one time and it brought me in $20,000 without having any expenses.
Consigning Items to a Dealer
You can pay a commission to other dealers who sell your items to their customers. This commission should be between 10% and 20%.
Selling When You Can
I purchased a set of plates for under $200 at a house sale one time. It was a good buy, and I listed them on eBay, hoping to get perhaps $400 or $500. Almost immediately, I got an e-mail from a man in Connecticut who asked me if I would edit the listing and put a “Buy It Now” on them. I told me that I wouldn’t, but if he could tell me what the plates are worth, I might consider it. He hesitated at first, but then told me they were worth $2,500, but he could only pay $1,250 for them. I said, “Sold.” I changed the listing, and he bought them. Are you wondering why I took the $1,250 when I could have gotten more? He had the customer. I didn’t. And besides that, I had just met an honest man.
REMEMBER: GOOD THINGS SELL THEMSELVES.
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