I am amazed that the auction houses never thought that the public would wake up. I believe that they, the Auction Houses, thought they could become partners with their sellers and receive in some cases more of the money than the sellers from items sold, that they had no investment in. I thought that all they were supposed to be doing was providing a service, didn't you?
All this seems to be coming to an end and maybe I will be able again to recommend to my readers that they should gently test the waters to see if the auction houses want their items for sale. Some of the largest houses were startled because they weren't receiving enough items for their sales to make it worth while to conduct them. The offerings also seem to be lacking in quality so I am sure that some houses are taking a beating as far as profitability of their sales go.
What allows me to make these statements, you ask? Well, I am receiving phone calls, emails and flyers from the auction houses, offering to sell items for me at commissions that one year ago would have been unthinkable. Just today I received an invitation to consign items at no commission if their value was $15,000, 5% if the price was over $5000 and 10% over $1000. This tells me that they are desperate for consignments. Finally the public realized that they were the ones who owned the merchandise they were selling, not the auction houses, and if they were only going to receive 50% of the selling price of their treasures, they would just keep them. You watch. This trend is just beginning. It will never get back to the 5% where it was when I began in this business but it will be a lot closer to that than 50%.
One of the first things that I try to teach new readers is that the market will always correct anything that go too far afield and the commissions of the auction houses had done just that. I am not anti auctions, quite the opposite, but they need to realize the public is paying for a service. In fact I have often stated that the auctions and the internet will be the only ways of selling merchandise in the future other than taking items directly to the collector, but auctions with no consignments aren't auctions.
If you consider selling any treasures at auction today, be sure that you receive a commission rate that is fair to you and is a service fee, not a shared profit. Another fact that most forget is that the auction houses don't share in the cost of the treasures they sell. If you paid $250 for an item that sells for $1000, with the buyers and sellers commissions, the auction house makes $500 while you have just doubled your $250 investment, making only $250. The auction house makes twice what you do while you're the one spending the long hours in the search so even the cost of an item doesn't entirely cover your expenses. Yes the auction house does have expenses but nothing like those of the seller.
My 220 page book about how to make money buying and selling antiques & collectibles is FREE with your membership in the 31 Club. Join Us Today!
Check out the new Paintings and new items in our Gallery and Marketplace here.