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According to the figures recently released by the National Auctioneers Association, the sales of antiques and collectibles at auction are down by 9.3% compaired to the previous year. Do you feel that this is due to most people not consiging items for fear of a low price or is it because of the low price?

Tony

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Hi,

I'm in the process of selling a house - yeah yeah, wrong time for that, but sometimes these decisions have to be made. However, when I talk to local auctioneers about having them sell some of the left over items from our downsizing, most get picky, don't want this or that and don't seem to want my business (even though half of this left over stuff came from them!) Plus with the lousy weather this winter, I don't want my items sold to an empty auction hall. Any predictions when it will be a good time to sell? E
I just read an auction report in which an auctioneer said he can't get enough good consignments. But, what I think I am hearing from auctioneers is that they no longer want to take low-value items. At a recent auctioneer convention an auctioneer told me he no longer wants box lots or consignments of items under $100. It seems to me there is a niche there for auctioneers who want to take small consignments or lower valued consignments. When I recently closed my booth at an antique mall, I ended up taking seven boxes to Goodwill because no auctioneer was interested and like you, all of the items I had were purchased at an auction.

Wish I could make a prediction.
Yeah, I've gotten that "no consignments under $100" but when I go to that very auction house, there are piles of tools, records, mid-century USED toys, no way will they get $100 for that, so why should I not try to send my stuff there? A smaller auctioneer would probably take the lesser stuff, but I don't always get the feeling he's too motivated, so perhaps it's better to give to Goodwill.

BTW, the parking lot at Goodwill is always full as is our Salvation Army, is shopping there becoming chic again?
- I note that the comments to date are from people trying to sell goods. The old expression that "It's easier to buy than sell" still applies, Sales at auction go, in many cases, to dealers. If the dealers aren't selling as much as they have up to this point, they're not likely to want to build their inventories. The result is the domino effect - sales lower at shows and on the Internet, leading to lower sales levels at auction, leading auctioneers to be more selective.
- That doesn't solve the problem if you've got to sell some things to downsize. How good is the furniture, etc. that you've got? What did it cost you? If it's not collectible. maybe it's better to give it to a local charity and get on with life.
- When will the market rebound? For some styles that are not 'in', the answer is "Not for a long time." For quality pieces, well presented, at a well-advertised auction, there will always be a market.
Ellen,

Good luck with selling your house! My family and I have just moved to a new(er) house last fall and I have held onto the old house and let it set empty just becasue I am afraid of the market. I reckon I would lose about 20 - 30 % on the house if I had sold it in the winter, not really realizing that the market would be as bad as it was for as long as it has been. Now I am concerned when it will come back. My plans were to put it on the market in May, but I am now leaning toward renting it out. As to the contents that we didn't take with us, I am considering donation as well because it is mostly household items and clothes and such. We do have a couple of local auctioneers that will take the items, but like you and Connie have mentioned they are shying away from box lots and small value consignments.

Tony
Tony Gregory said:
Ellen,

Good luck with selling your house! My family and I have just moved to a new(er) house last fall and I have held onto the old house and let it set empty just becasue I am afraid of the market. I reckon I would lose about 20 - 30 % on the house if I had sold it in the winter, not really realizing that the market would be as bad as it was for as long as it has been. Now I am concerned when it will come back. My plans were to put it on the market in May, but I am now leaning toward renting it out. As to the contents that we didn't take with us, I am considering donation as well because it is mostly household items and clothes and such. We do have a couple of local auctioneers that will take the items, but like you and Connie have mentioned they are shying away from box lots and small value consignments.

Tony
Ellen Tischbein said:
Tony Gregory said:
Ellen,

Good luck with selling your house! My family and I have just moved to a new(er) house last fall and I have held onto the old house and let it set empty just becasue I am afraid of the market. I reckon I would lose about 20 - 30 % on the house if I had sold it in the winter, not really realizing that the market would be as bad as it was for as long as it has been. Now I am concerned when it will come back. My plans were to put it on the market in May, but I am now leaning toward renting it out. As to the contents that we didn't take with us, I am considering donation as well because it is mostly household items and clothes and such. We do have a couple of local auctioneers that will take the items, but like you and Connie have mentioned they are shying away from box lots and small value consignments.

Tony
Just got home from a catalog auction where things seemed to be selling. Reports from the auction staff were that jewelry sold well, other items were pretty much on their estimates. However, instead of being an absolute auction, now with a printed catalog, they were starting at half the low estimate and if bidding didn't quickly rise to that number, the item was passed. Anyone interested in passed items could see the auctioneers later. Hmmm, this seems to be setting prices, not allowing the market to reflect how the bidders want to spend their money. The result was a painting my husband and I were thinking about purchasing ended up in the "passed" pile and no, we didn't hang around to negotiate later. It was nice, but not essential, and I didn't want to be forced into paying a certain fee. I can go to an antiques show and negotiate with a dealer, but when I go to an auction, I want to be able to fairly bid against others who may also like the same object.

Hubby also spoke to the auction staff about some furniture we'd like to consign, must see photos first, now want lots that will sell over $600. A set of Victorian12 dining room chairs should do that, but a nice drop leaf maple table may not be able to do that, nor will the wash stand that we simply don't have room for now. Perhaps, just perhaps, there is one more "moving" or yard sale in my future. But that same auctioneer was real keen to hear about the real estate, "we could sell the house for you" - might see what kind of reserve they would place on an 1830s Federal, complete with registration papers, pehaps I could just leave the maple kitchen table there and run for the hills! E
I spoke to the head of an auction house in Los Angeles and he said that sales are down because smart people are not selling their quality items at this time and buyers are hesitant to spend money on what is on the market now. It makes sense, no? Speaking of sales being down, I have a dealer who is selling items at prices that were appropriate a few years ago (i.e. over priced!) and she is not even making her rent! How do I politely tell her that it's just not working out? I could use the space for my own things!
Thanks,
Tina
Tina, not sure of your situation, sounds like multi-dealer consignment?

We had a store, ex-bar billiards. had funky orange and white tiles on floor.
Since my costs were around $10/sq ft /year and each tile was offset (orange, white, orange etc), I could calculated square footage in two seconds flat.
A dining room, with walk-around space, took 150 sq feet. cost $1500 to keep on floor.
A dealer's booth could be same size. costs $1500 to keep open.
If you are taking 10% means dealer must sell for $15,000 year.for you to operate the space..
your costs/mileage will vary, but it's an average.
that's the minimum. You would expect at least 2x turnover per year for profit.

Not sure how polite works on this one... but you may just have to point to the tiles, and your sales figure from this dealer and see if you are in the orange or white side of a relationship.

you are tackling something we have kept away from in our store, but it's single-owner. If we take a consignment in, we set the price, no questions asked.

good luck.
What a great way to calculate how much keeping that dining room set is costing you, kind of makes you want to go out and buy some colored floor tiles!

How many dealers do you think have wares in different antique malls just so they don't have to pay storage fees for the stuff? It's sure more fun to have wares displayed rather than in boxes, and you might actually get lucky and sell a few things.

It's always tough to mix friendship with business, I'm sure you will work it all out.

Had an indoor moving sale last weekend, really did well, e-mailed friends, put in small ad in local shopper paper, told a few dealers to stop by. By the end of the day I'm sure we sold more at a controlled price and didn't have to pay auctioneer management or consignment fees. I'm happy with $5 for odd chairs, the dealer who scooped them up wanted to know if we had any more. Even got a few more eyeballs to look at our house and had a great time doing it.
Ellen, you said
How many dealers do you think have wares in different antique malls just so they don't have to pay storage fees for the stuff

Not sure myself. We've never bought into antique malls,
There were three antique malls in our region, stratford, waterloo, and elmira, Ontario.
Mischevously called "Antiques Warehouse" -- yes the actual name.

One has close, building sold.
Second closed, now reopened under new risk-takers
third, only exists because stratford is a tourist (shakespearean theatre) town. .

We hear grumbling from many booth owners, we know -- because we wholesale to them too.
Last reports, local mall booths having trouble paying up rent from sales..

So perhaps storing in boxes is actually cheaper for some, these days.

cheers.
vince.

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