The Rules for Consigning Antiques to An Auction

The Rules for Consigning Antiques to An Auction

A few thoughts....before you call an auctioneer.....try to take it with some sense of humor.

The Rules for Consigning Antiques to An Auction

An Open Letter From An Estate Auctioneer To Consignors {ALL Consignors}


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The Rules for Consigning Antiques to An Auction, what you should know.

If you think an item is worth more than we do, you’re probably wrong.
If you think it is worth less than we do, bless you, but you’re probably wrong.
If you want reserves you will pay me 10% for what it doesn’t sell for.
The LAST thing you should ask me is what my Commission rate is.
If three experienced auctioneers give you the same estimate and a fourth is much higher..he is lying to you.
If it brings less than I estimated, I was wrong, get over it.
If it brings more, I was wrong, take the check and be happy about it.
DON’T call me the day after the auction asking for a check.
You get paid in 30 days..as long as we’ve been paid.
Some of your things will probably sell for “Bargain Prices”, so get over it now.
Some of your things will bring more than they would on another day.
Some of your things will bring less than they would on another day.
If the Bidder doesn’t pay his bill I do not owe you the money anyway. You simply get the item back.
You cannot stop the sale of an item during the auction. I’ll just sell it to the most recent bid.
Do not try to micromanage the preparation of the auction. I’ll call you if I need anything from you. Otherwise leave me alone i.e GO AWAY!
No you cannot bid on your own stuff….neither can your mother, sister, nanny, unless they write a check to pay for it.
If it’s under a table in a Box Lot…it deserves to be there, so don’t ask me why.
Its costs me $30 to sell anything, please don’t ask me to sell items worth $10.
Reserves are for cowards. So lets just have a little faith in the system.
The Roadshow is NOT always right.
I know which items should be illustrated for advertising the auction , so please don’t tell me..
If you “Know Someone “ who once told you an item was worth a “FORTUNE” I don’t want to hear about it. Every consignor knows someone like this..and they are usually if not always wrong.
Very few things are rare. Even if it did belong to your Great Grandmother.
Kitchen Glasses are worthless. So don’t ask me to take them to sell.
Just because you’ve never seen another one doesn’t mean its rare. You just haven't seen it.
Your Brother –In-Law’s opinion is something I don’t need to know.
What something was worth on the “Old Appraisal” from 1980 means nothing..No I don’t want to see it.
Do not drag out old Antiques Magazine ads to prove something to me about your item.
The odds are if your Great Great Grandad bought it in Europe while on “The Grand Tour” he probably got taken. If it is a painting he did get taken. European dealers skinned Rich Americans to the bone by the thousands. If the bought anything really good...it was an accident.
If you bought it in New York…you paid full retail, no matter how "Good" the deal was.
New Oriental Rugs, {less than 40 years old}are worth $1.50 to $5.50 per square foot at auction.
On-site auctions bring more money than ANY other venue…including New York and London. So if you have a big yard and good stuff..please let us put up a tent there.
A Mediocre Specialist dealers know more than Non Dealer Specialist Collectors…
Anything restored is worth less…often much much less.
I’ll decide what goes in a box lot. So please leave it alone.
If you plan on attending your own auction..{I’d prefer it if you just went to a movie and called me two days after the auction}
Don’t hog the best buyer’s seats with you and your family. Sit at least 10 rows back off to the side. 20 Rows back are even better.
Regarding your family, tell them not to moan and yell, cheer “Yippie” when things sell…SHUT UP AND RELAX. Or you will KILL your own stuff. OK?
Do not tell the other attendees you are the consignor! Trust me on this. {Bad Karma}
Do not bid on your own stuff…it is ILLEGAL!
You cannot stop the sale of an auction item during the sale for any reason.
Do not question me during the preview and monopolize my time, say hello and go away.
During the last 45 mins before the auction begins..PLEASE LEAVE ME ALONE I guarantee you I am busy.
Do not ask me where your Grandma’s Hummel is..ITS IN A BOX LOT!
Do not change your mind about selling anything and ask for it back. I don’t have to do it and probably won’t…it might get ugly.
Do not bring your dog! They are a distraction and in most cases it is Illegal if food is being served during the auction. I know this is sad to hear but, some people hate dogs.
No Micromanaging the preview or the proceedings ..you know nothing about what is going on. I know you’re SPECIAL….but you know nothing.
Do not ask my staff to do things for you…they are busy, they work for me.
Do not ask me or anyone else to put reserves on ANYTHING the day of the auction. The answer is no and NO you cannot have it back.
Do not bring any kids under 15, if you do..hang great big signs around your necks that say “WE”RE THE CONSIGNORS”.
Do not stand around your items discussing how wonderful they are while pretending to be potential buyers. If you do..hang a great big signs around your necks that say “WE”RE THE REALLY STUPID CONSIGNORS”.
If you bring Grandma or Grandpa..tell them to please not kibitz with the previewers.

Chinese Antiques
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Other Things You Should Know About Antiques

Pine is generally a Junk Wood!
11 plates are worth less per plate than 12, the same goes for sets of chairs and almost everything else..
Early painted pine can be good.
Water Color Paintings are not worth as much as Oil Paintings.
Chipped Glass is worth 10% of a perfect piece, oh the same goes for porcelain, don’t argue with me about it and learn to be more careful! Broken glass is worth nothing.
Most Prints are “Re-strikes” i.e. “COPIES”.
Copies are worth less always.
Cabriole is a furniture term…not an expensive car.
Eastern European Dinner Services made after 1915 are worth next to nothing. NO! It doesn’t matter how much your grandma liked it.
Most furniture made after 1920 is Junk.
Iron stoves, upright pianos, National Geographics, Exercise Bikes, and Kennedy Assassination newspapers, paper back books, walkers, dial phones, water beds, most glass and porcelain made after 1925, pressed Golden Oak, iron and wood school desks, should go to the dump!
Out of Office Presidential signatures are worth half or less of ones signed while in office.
Just because something is old….doesn’t mean it is worth much. Haven’t you ever been to the dump?
Just because your great-grandmother owned it doesn’t mean it is worth anything.
Most old radios are worth almost nothing.
Patina can be worth more than gold.
Old computers are worth nothing.
A Highboy is not a cocktail.
Antiques DO go down in value sometimes, so I do not care what you paid for it.
Antiques DO go up in value sometimes, I still don’t care what you paid for it.
Stains on prints are bad! NO one likes stains on things!
Damage is always bad. ALWAYS…
Restoration is nearly always bad.
Mahogany Furniture is not always good.
Your Parents and Grandparents probably didn’t have amazing taste or even good taste.
Plastic Anything is junk….other than the first Barbie Doll or PEZ dispensers.
Anything marked Made In Taiwan is junk! Trust me.
Anything SOLD as a collectable isn’t.
Anything marked Made in Mexico is junk! Trust me.
NEVER EVER buy coins sold on TV, unless you’re incredibly bored, rich and stupid.
QVC has never sold anything that should be put in an auction..including Jewelry.
Old Bibles are worth less than National Geographics.
Old records are worth nothing…..put them on a CD and enjoy them.
Lenox Made too much stuff. Most of it no good.
Silver Plate and Sheffield is NOT the same thing.
If you’re father was a Doctor and a collector, he probably over paid for everything. Get over it now. Doctors are in general the worst collectors.
Antique English furniture is worth less than Antique American Furniture 90% of the time. The American stuff isn’t better its just overpriced for what it is.
Kovels is not a bible to value, so please don’t make me look at it. Cut the listed prices by half or more and you’ll be about right.
Modern Tall Clocks have little value.
Wheat Pennys are not valuable.
All signed paintings are not valuable.
Upholstered furniture made after 1910 is un-sellable.
Rock Maple is worth more as fire wood.
Bidermeier is a style not a person.
Eastlake is the name of a furniture designer, he NEVER made ANY FURNITURE! NOT EVER!
Oak is not rare, it can be pretty but not rare.
Your chest didn’t come over on the Pinta, Mayflower or the Santa Maria, ok…so don’t argue with me.
If your Great Grand Father got it from a “Wonderful Dealer” who owed him money..he was taken.
Nothing ever made by The Franklin Mint does well at auction. {its junk}
If you bought something with a “Certificate of Authenticity” keep it.
If you bought it on EBAY, don’t tell me you inherited it.
The term 18th Century Means 1700 to 1799, 19th Century means 1800 to 1899…ok!
Governor Winthrop Desks are rarely antique.
Wing Nuts are a bad sign in furniture construction.
Low Soft….is not Chinese porcelain.
The word “Style” is a polite way of saying COPY!
The word “Restored” is a polite way of saying its worth less.
Rose Medallion is worth half of what it was worth 15 years ago.
Marblehead Pottery is worth triple of what it was worth 15 years ago, maybe more.
If Granddad refinished it…its worth a lot less now.
Collector Plates are worth nothing..OK..nothing.
Little Metal Factory Plaques inside drawers means its not Antique.
Lane Cedar Chests are not antiques!
Illardos are ugly. Luckily for you some folks like them.
Sworovski Crystal is junk.
Tiffany anything IS GOOD!
Cartier anything IS GOOD!
Old Chelsea Clocks are good.
Most Mink coats are worthless.
Dealers will usually pay more at auction than on house calls.
“Inlayed Crotch Veneer” is a woodworking term..not a lovemaking technique.
Victorian Chairs are usually worth $75 to $150…so get over it.
Dealers Know more than you. And No..it doesn't matter how many books you have on the subject.
Amonia removes Gilt.
Never lift anything by the top.
Old Life Magazines are worth almost nothing unless the Hoover Dam is on the cover. {it was the first issue}
If it has a handle, don't use it. It will probably break off.
Don’t Sand anything! Dirt and grunge are good..cherish it.
NEVER EVER cut the margins off an early print because you have a frame that “Almost fits”. Don't be a cheapskate.buy the right size frame.
I am sure your mother was nice, it doesn’t however mean she knew anything about antiques.
Elderly People Lie to their families about how valuable their Antiques are. {Almost always}. I don't know why they do...but they do 95% of the time.
The rejection letters from Sotheby’s and Christie’s are usually accurate.
The Chairman and President of Sotheby’s WERE convicted, the head of Christie’s got off on a plea bargain.
When in doubt leave it alone.
Do not try to clean your own oriental rugs.
Most Japanese Prints are worth $20 or less.
If you Brother-in law isn’t a dealer I don’t care what he says it is or is worth. The same goes for your Great Aunt and the rest of the family.
Antique upholstered Chairs and Sofas can and often are be very uncomfortable.
“Sooo..you think its ugly..but someone else will pay a lot for it anyway?” Hmmm That makes sense.
People never get that old chair re-canned that they bought at auction...which is why they aren't worth much.
If the chest is missing a drawer take off 50% to 80% of the value.
A cracked marble top is NOT minor damage.
On average Antiques appreciate at around 4 to 6% a year.
Its Illegal to sell used mattresses, not to mention the very idea is disgusting.
Nearly all taxidermy items are Illegal to sell at auction. If it came from Africa it is 100% Illegal.
Plywood backboards + 18th Chest = Worth 75% less. {or more}
High estimates push auction prices down and discourage bids.
Currier & Ives does not mean valuable.
Scrub Boards are worth $5.00 or less…
Good Silver always has a market.
Kirk, Gorham, Tiffany and Steiff made good silver.
Zitan is not a foreign country, it is very expensive Chinese wood.
Antique Banks should never be repainted.
Book Of The Month Club books are worth 2 to 10 cents each if you’re lucky.
Winslow Homer was an illustrator for Harpers magazine during the Civil War. {save them}
If someone you know uses the expression..”We just love THE antiques” they don’t know anything about them….its kind of like someone saying…”We’re going golphing”. You cannot "Go Golphing"...you "Play Golf". {I won't lament the loss of good speach right now, but it bugs me}
Scratches and dents are charming.
Do not clean your own paintings.
Do not use a vacuum cleaner with a beater bar to clean good rugs.
Sunlight is bad for any antique made of wood, cotton, wool, anything on paper or canvas.
Do not put anything near a radiator or forced hot air duct.
"Fantastic" is not furniture cleaner/polish.
Never drag furniture… LIFT IT BY THE BASE!!! NOT THE TOP!
Do not put the stamp collection in the attic or cellar.
Do no clean old coins, unless you’re planning on putting them in a parking meter.
Kennedy Half Dollars are worth 50 Cents. {Is that a suprise?}
Old Leica Cameras are valuable
Old Minoltas are not.
Sandpaper....is an enemy of antique furniture surfaces.
Most “Rolex Watches” are fakes.
IF you bought it in a shop across the street don’t bring it to me and ask if you “Over paid”. Grow up and act like a “Big Person”
The odds are the thing you own is not Museum Quality.
Rarity does not mean valuable.
Valuable does not mean rare.
If you tell me “Its just like the one on Road Show, but it’s different.” I am gonna laugh at you.
Begging does not make things worth more to me.
If you cannot PROVE that an item came from a famous person, don’t tell me about it.
Most people are not “Famous” enough to influence values. The world is full of famous people.
Most of the stuff {95%} from the Jackie “O” auction isn’t worth more because it belonged to her. {Yeah I know that makes you sad}
If it’s made of Mahogany and is American it was made after 1750.
The Pilgrims had ugly furniture. Yes it is valuable, but it is very ugly.
If you attend auctions and bid against the same dealers from whom you buy things.....do expect them to get even with you for impairing their incomes and don't expect to get a call from them the next time they see something really good. You do this for amusement despite any convoluted idea you might have about creating a collection for prosperity....this is thier livelyhood!
Be smart..find a dealer you like and trust and have him/her bid for you, pay the 10% they charge for the service, build a relationship with good dealers..trust me on this, its the smart thing to do.
Martha Washington did not own a Sewing Stand or a Lolling Chair during her lifetime, I have no idea why they named them after her. {According to the director of The Mt. Vernon Curator}
Little story: Vincent Price {the actor} was a collector of "Old Master's Drawings" by the time he died he had a huge collection, a huge collection of fakes, his collections was bought mostly by Sothebys and is used as a learning tool for what not to buy with Sotheby customers.

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