So, you have goods to market, you know where you’re going to sell them (with us of course!) and when but you’re not sure of how much they are worth. This make it tricky for you deciding where to pitch a reserve price if you’re going to have one.
We don’t have a valuations team here but there are many ways you can work out a fair estimate on something.
Check out our tips below and they will help you both to create a detailed listing and put a value on what you’re selling.
Of course this depends on the category of goods we’re talking – there can’t be a huge market for a 1980’s trampoline for example, so assume we’re talking about antiques and collectables here! Generally, the older something is, the rarer it’s likely to be but of course this depends on how many were made in the first place and how durable they were. Some materials stand the test of time more than others. You might be in luck and your item has a date on it, if not it may still have a maker’s signature so that would allow you to pinpoint an approximate time when it was made. Google is your friend here, and you should be able to get at least an idea of how old it is.
This is a key indicator of how much something could be worth and generally the better state the higher value, but still there are rare items that even when damaged can demand sky-high prices. If you find a dented Faberge egg stuffed down the back of your sofa, don’t chuck it in the bin!
All sorts of things can affect condition, including whether any restoration work has been attempted. Even when done professionally, this can sometimes negatively impact what something is worth. For instance, a vintage Rolex that had parts replaced when serviced can be worth less than one that may on the surface look in better condition but is in fact not considered as desirable as it isn’t in its original state.
If your item has a story, you could really capture your audience’s attention. Perhaps you’ve had it in your family for generations and it has an interesting origin, maybe you have lots of documentation detailing where it came from and where it’s been, or excitingly, is it connected to something well known? An event or place we’re familiar with? All of these will help to entice potential buyers and increase demand, driving up your profit.
If you have an item by a well-known name, you’re generally going to be in a strong position. There are many collectors who will be devoted to a certain maker, manufacturer or artist and if you happen to be in possession of an item they’ve made, you’ll have people queuing up to take it off your hands. See what other examples of their work have fetched at auction and it should help you get an idea of what yours could be worth. If you don’t know who the piece was made by, usually there will be some kind of identifying mark that will aid your investigations.
Collectors can be fickle and things come in and out of fashion all the time. Is your item on trend at the moment? For example, areas currently proving popular include mid-century furniture, vintage watches and Victorian jewellery. It stands to reason that the more people there are wanting something will increase what it will fetch. We all want a bidding war! If your category is currently out of favour, try hanging onto it if you can and wait for interest to swing back in its direction.
It goes without saying that valuations are likely to be higher if something is scarce or one-of-a-kind. Whether that be Gandhi’s spectacles (we sold a pair last year), a limited edition print or a must sought after Clarice Cliff vase, the less of them that exist, if people are interested in them, there will be competition and the piece should demand a higher price. If you’re unsure, some simple online research should give you an indication of how rare your item is.
Remember, you can never put an exact price on what something is worth, not unless it’s brand new with an RRP and even then that doesn’t mean that’s what someone will actually be prepared to pay. It’s only a recommendation after all!
Now you’re armed with the information you need to get an idea of what your item/s are worth, head over to our Sales Area to find out how to create your auction listing!