I just wanted to share this presentation we drafted regarding the hobby of collecting and the valuing items:
As a consignment store that sells furniture, you might think that we would take most any good used piece. We know from experience however that only certain types and styles of furniture will sell in our 90 day contract term. For starters, we generally prefer to only take case goods such as tables and other wood pieces. We find that upholstered furniture, even if spotless, just doesn't sell well.
A few people have asked how we did at the bi-annual Mt Airy flea market last week so I figured I would share the results. We sold about $3,400 worth of items and netted about $2000 after labor and consignor monies were paid. Not bad by any standard but the main reason I went was to get some exposure and meet some new people. It was an exhausting day and I worked from 4:30 am to 4:30 pm, not including time spent in preparation. I did get a few new consignment customers and a few shoppers to the store as well. What's amazing is the sheer number of people that attended this thing!
Speaking of a one hundred plus year old chestnut dresser we have posted on Craigslist for a mere $450 - I got this offer via email:
Hello, i really like your dresser. I've just moved to DC and don't have a
lot of money to buy furniture and no way to pick it up. So, wondering if
there is anyway you'd accept $200 cash and deliver it. I'm close to MD at
48th Street NW, near Western and River Rd. Please let me know if you'd
consider. thank you! --cathrin
As a consignment store owner, I often get calls to handle estates and to help people downsize a lifetime of treasures. Just the other day, I went on a house-call over in Silver Spring and met an eighty year old woman who was moving to a retirement home. She had lived in the same home for about 50 years and had a large number of collectibles; figurines, art, decorations, china, statues, old toys, and you name it. All of it had to go as she was moving to a two room apartment in just a couple weeks.
As a professional consignment store - we can manage the entire estate liquidation process for homes or businesses with salable inventory located in the Washington and Baltimore areas. I've commented before on the reasons you do don't want to do it yourself: You don't really know how to value things, you have too much emotional involvement to get it done, you are not local, you are rushed due to the need to sell the home or rent the property, and others. I can offer several options to you:
Everyone knows that the value of silver and gold are at an all time high right now. Many people use our service for selling gold, silver, coins and jewelry on eBay and here is my pitch:
1) Dealers will not buy your coins at the silver price: The maximum scrap value is about 80%. So if you had a troy ounce .999 coin - if silver was at $30/oz - an actual bullion dealer would give you $24 at the most. Lesser dealers (ie: We buy gold stores) will generally offer you about half or two thirds that.
Over the past few years, we have had to turn away more than several customers who presented us with items barely fit for a thrift store. While we don't profess to be one of those 'snobby' elite consignment stores, we can't take just anything.
While most of our consignment customers are satisfied with the results we deliver, some confide in me that they really thought a given item would be worth more. I am no economist, but I can tell you that consumer spending is way down. Even in the Washington / Baltimore metropolitan area where unemployment isn't that bad, people are loosing their homes and businesses are closing every month. The good news is that when times are tough, most people have things that they are not using which they can sell. If the price is right, there will always be a buyer.
As the owner of a consignment store, I see the full spectrum of buying and selling: There are those people that place too much value on the 'junk' they have and there are buyers who undervalue these same items. Our job is to find the happy medium. I recently sold a hunk of a bronze statue for more than a whole car - a vintage Jaguar coupe in beautiful, running, driving condition! Granted, the car will require maintenance over time, while the sculpture will only require the occasional dusting. But still - that's just not right!