We wrote several months ago about the declining value of household furniture and other items – especially antiques that were highly desired decades ago.
The general rule if you’re selling home assets (typically in an estate or when moving into a retirement home situation) is that you won’t get as much as you think. Tastes change (grandfather clock anyone?), artists fall out of favour (or never gain much market value) and items fall into disrepair. And you usually have to pay a firm to come in and assess and sell the contents. It may not leave you with much.
Mind the small stuff
What can often get overlooked in content sales is the little stuff. We all bring our personal biases when assessing what’s junk and what could be a little treasure. If you see a figurine or small carving and don’t like it, you’ll assume that others won’t like it either. Under the weight of all the other junk you have to dispose of, the item can end up in the trash.
That can be a costly mistake. I was recently visiting an estate home being prepared for sale, and the daughter of the deceased pointed to a small ceramic cat at the end of the mantle. It was, to me, nothing much of note. It was about 2 inches high and 3 inches long and had stripes. I wouldn’t have thought twice about trashing it if I was clearing out the house.
That’s what the daughter thought too, until they had a friend over who identified the cat as an original ceramic piece by Swedish artist Lisa Larson. What was going to end up in the trash was actually a small sculpture worth hundreds of dollars. Oops …
Be mindful of the art-savvy owner
If a homeowner had a good eye for art during their lifetime, there’s a good chance that even small knick-knacks were bought with purpose and could have value. So, before you clear the little stuff off the mantle of someone’s home, it may pay to have an art-savvy friend tour the house just in case.
Thanks for reading – enjoy your day,
When loved ones pass away, family members and estate trustees are often faced with sorting through and disposing of personal possessions stockpiled over a lifetime. Sometimes, it will be obvious that certain possessions hold monetary value, such as a painting from one of the Group of Seven. The local auction house will gladly sell such valuable pieces for you. Other times, though, less obvious things such as handwoven baskets can also fetch a handsome price. How does one know which personal items are valuable and which are not? Unfortunately, for 2010, the Antiques Roadshow will not be travelling to any Canadian cities.
Fortunately, there are many antiques experts who will assess and dispose of personal possessions. A recent article in the National Post newspaper highlighted the use of such antiques experts who will assess all of the contents of a decedent’s home, and then dispose of the goods through various channels such as estate sales and eBay. A Toronto-based company, EstateNet.ca, promises personalized services customized for each client. As noted on their website, they will examine every closet, drawer and storage space to clean, sort, identify and organize all personal items. They will research the market status of special items. Once the contents have been itemized, a pricing schedule is set. EstateNet uses a two-stage sales process: advance selling, followed by an on-site public sale. You can read more about the company, their services, and testimonials from happy customers on their website.
Bianca La Neve
Bianca V. La Neve – Click here for more information on Bianca La Neve.
Listen to Determining Value
This week on Hull and Estate and Succession Planning, Ian and Suzana talk about values and appraisals. They specifically look at some of the issues related to assigning value to assets such as jewellery, automobiles, antiques and artwork.