I have tried to give my readers an advantage over most others in these very difficult markets. One way that I can accomplish this is to share with you how auctions that are going on in the next two months can be your friends. But you have told me that it is very difficult to make money buying at auctions unless there is an item that most dealers don't know the value of, right? That is partially right but there can be exceptions if you are patient.
Here is what I mean. First, preview the catalogs of the better auction houses and list the items that you would like to buy if the price were right. Knowing that at the low estimate it would still be out of our range, we wait until the auction is over to see if there are any items on our list that didn't sell. If there are, we take action. I have seen auction house reduce the price on a particular painting 75% in the after market, which means it didn't sell at the auction.
So after the auction is completed, get the results as quickly as possible to see if any of the items on your list didn't sell. Presto, if there are any, you call and ask if there is an after market price for those pieces. In fact I will be calling Shannon's auction tomorrow on their sale yesterday because there was a painting I was interested in.
I know that you are asking if this can work so I am going to give you a few of my own experiences. First the Harvey Joiner portrait that didn't sell at auction in September of 2007 was listed for $500-$800. I knew there was a possibility that if I could purchase it in the after market I could make money, and possibly a lot of money. Calling the auction house, I asked if the painting was still for sale and was told "yes for $240", if my memory is correct. There was no doubt in my mind that I was going to be the new owner of that painting. Later I attempted to sell it for $5000 but was unable to get that price so I had to settle for a mere $3500. I know what you're saying, “I feel so sorry for you.”
How about the large charger that I bought for $1000 after the auction when it didn't sell. The low estimate was $2500 but I wasn't willing to pay that so by waiting, I purchased it for what I thought was a fairer price for me. It soon found a new home for $5000 and I believe the buyer thought he was getting a bargain. I could continue to tell these stories but I think you get the idea. There are even some auctions that email out a list after their auctions with the list of unsold items and the new price. Guess what? I have called some of these houses and offered even less than their new price and been able to purchase at my offering price.
There is also another wrinkle to this way of buying and I demonstrated that to you a few weeks ago. Remember when I waited until the house sale was over and then purchased three sculptures and was given several other items by the owner free. Yes, these sculptures were sold in a matter of days and I was able to give the buyer three treasures that someday will be worth many many times more than they paid for them but I was also happy. Reading my book, you find out that there is no reason to get in a hurry when buying if you have the money. My most important rule is to spend my money wisely. If I wait and make a trade where I make $5000 to $10,000 on one deal, how many little $100 to $200 trades do I have to make to equal that one? Here is what might be a little difficult to understand until it happens to you a few times. Selling cheap items is more difficult than selling expensive ones. People with money just don't have to bargain as much as us common folks if they find something they desire .
Isn't this easy? I ask myself almost every day why everyone isn't doing it, but I am sure glad they're not.
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