Author Topic: Need advice on selling the family jewels  (Read 4458 times)

Monkey Uncle

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Need advice on selling the family jewels
« on: November 12, 2014, 04:03:21 AM »
Hi folks,

The DW and I have finally reached the point where we're ready to part with some collectibles that have been packed away for 20+ years.  Do any of you have experience and advice on selling the following items?

Sterling silver flatware - I read MMMs "family jewels" article about selling his grandmother's sterling flatware for the value of the silver.  That was two years ago when the price of silver was almost double what it is now.  I'm wondering if we might get more for it for its antique/collectible value, but I don't really know how to go about doing that.  It just doesn't seem like something you would put on Craig's list, and we live in a rural area that doesn't have a lot of antique or consignment shops.

Lionel model train components - These date to the late 1950's or early 1960's, and most are in good shape with the original boxes.  I looked them up on e-bay and saw a very wide range of asking prices.  I don't have an established selling history on e-bay, so I don't know if I'd be able to get a decent price there.  My impression is that e-bay has been pretty much taken over by businesses, and that individuals don't have much of a shot at selling there any more.  Plus I had a bad experience with e-bay/pay pal a few years back (had my account hacked to the tune of about $1k - got it all back, but had a hell of a time getting pay pal to close the compromised account).  Perhaps the train components would be a good thing for Craig's list?

Depression glass and carnival glass - not sure where to go with this.

Any advice is much appreciated!

FarmerPete

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Re: Need advice on selling the family jewels
« Reply #1 on: November 12, 2014, 08:58:50 AM »
....This post is not what I thought it would be about.

I always try Craigslist first and then go on to eBay after I'm convinced I wont sell it locally.

I've sold plenty on eBay as a private seller, and I've always done well.  You just have to undercut the big guys.  I guess it's all how you look at it.  I think the ebay + paypal fees for a basic listing comes out to around 10%.  Make sure you price in ACCURATE shipping costs and charge accordingly.  Check the competition and undercut them by a few bucks.  If there is any demand, your item will go quick.

If I was going to try to sell it on Craigslist, I would try to do it in one big sale.  Don't piece out the trains or silver unless one or two really are worth a ton more.  You don't want to be fielding emails and phone calls for the next 3 months.  Price out all of the models, give a bulk discount of 10-20% and then sell them all in one big bunch.  A collector who wants one or two of them should have better channels for reselling the other items.  If the stuff is rare enough or a good enough deal, people will come to you to get them.

For the silver, take it to a melt place and get a value on it.  Consider that price your backstop value.  Put it on Craigslist or eBay for a higher value and hopefully you get a bite or two.  Never take less than melt value obviously.

catccc

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Re: Need advice on selling the family jewels
« Reply #2 on: November 12, 2014, 09:12:37 AM »
Fees between ebay and paypal run a little higher, in my experience. (not sure if I have some other variety of paypal account than the previous responder).  Listing an auction is usually free, the final value fee is 10%, which applies to both the item cost and the shipping cost.  Paypal charges $0.30 per transaction + 2.9%.  So it is closer to 13%.

Pigeon

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Re: Need advice on selling the family jewels
« Reply #3 on: November 12, 2014, 09:13:04 AM »
Replacements is notorious for offering next to nothing to the sellers, but of course, it pays to check.  Do your research on ebay first.

I would try Craigslist first for the silver and the glassware, but it's going to probably depend on your location. 

I've heard that people make a lot more selling pieces individually (or as a place setting for china or silver) than as a lot, but of course it is more of a pain. 

Monkey Uncle

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Re: Need advice on selling the family jewels
« Reply #4 on: November 13, 2014, 04:30:43 AM »
Thanks, all.  I appreciate the advice.  Looks like Craig's list and/or ebay are the starting points for the trains and glass. 

The silver is going to be complicated.  I pulled it out last night.  There are two sets.  One is actually not sterling, but silver plate (despite DW's confident assertion that it is all sterling).  So no melt value there.  But I do see similar stuff on Replacements and ebay, so it looks like we still might be able to get something for it.  The other set contains a bunch of real sterling forks and spoons with "International Sterling - Joan of Arc" stamped on the back.  Pieces in that pattern are going for some pretty steep retail prices at Replacements, so I might check to see what they offer for it.  The box also contain a bunch of random pieces that do not appear to be part of the same set, some of which are sterling and some of which are not.  So it's probably going to be a bit of a headache to sort through those and sell them individually.  To top it all off, this set is in a non-original box that has a different brand name and the words "silver plate."  So if I try to sell the whole thing together, I might have difficulty convincing a buyer of the value of the pieces that really are sterling.  Nothing is ever easy. 

iris lily

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Re: Need advice on selling the family jewels
« Reply #5 on: November 13, 2014, 05:52:41 AM »
As with all stuff, if you want retail value, you've got to sell it yourself on Ebay. That wasn't worth it for me when I sold two sets of family silver a couple of years ago.
I sold one to Silver Queen and the other to Replacements and I was happy with what they gave me. If I remember correctly Silver Queen paid slightly better. It wasn't "next to nothing" as a PP says, it was around $600 for a set of 8 if I remember correctly.

I doubt that you'll get much of anything for the plate unless it happens to be a popular pattern. The grape patterns are very collectible. Most everyone has a set of plate sitting around so that's why no one buy it. As for the random silver pieces: group together the pieces that are marked Sterling and sell them as a group on Ebay. Jettison the rest, you will get nothing for stray pieces of silver plate.

Depression glass is worth very little, even when it was collected. I get the impression that there's not much of a market for it any more.

Monkey Uncle

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Re: Need advice on selling the family jewels
« Reply #6 on: November 14, 2014, 04:10:15 AM »
I found this price guide for depression glass: http://antiques.about.com/od/glasspriceguides/ig/Block-Optic-DG-Price-Guide.--02/
It looks like pieces are going for better than yard sale prices on ebay, so it's probably worth trying to sell.  But I don't know that I'm up for the hassle of selling individual pieces on ebay, so I may try throwing the whole collection up on Craig's list at a 20% discount and see if I get any bites.  Same thing with the trains.

I'm probably going to start with Replacements or a similar matching service for the silver.  Again, I'm trying to avoid the hassle of selling individual pieces on ebay.  Any random pieces that don't sell are probably going into the growing yard sale stash.

Thanks, all.

purplepants

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Re: Need advice on selling the family jewels
« Reply #7 on: November 14, 2014, 07:10:22 AM »
Replacements is notorious for offering next to nothing to the sellers, but of course, it pays to check. 

Absolute truth.  I have a bunch of my grandmother's collectibles that I was looking to sell.  They are selling them for about $200 apiece on their website, but they offered me between $10 and $20 each when contacted them.

guitar_stitch

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Re: Need advice on selling the family jewels
« Reply #8 on: November 14, 2014, 08:16:54 AM »
....This post is not what I thought it would be about.


You thought the OP was going to be looking for advice on selling his testicles?

Admittedly, the child in me giggled at the prospect.

Villanelle

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Re: Need advice on selling the family jewels
« Reply #9 on: November 14, 2014, 08:26:16 AM »
You might search for antiques dealers in the nearest big cities and contact them to see if they are interested in buying you items, and what they will give you.  Some might also sell them on a consignment basis, if that interests you.   

If nothing else, it is one more quote to compare to Replacements and Silver Queen.

iris lily

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Re: Need advice on selling the family jewels
« Reply #10 on: November 14, 2014, 08:28:42 AM »
Replacements is notorious for offering next to nothing to the sellers, but of course, it pays to check. 

Absolute truth.  I have a bunch of my grandmother's collectibles that I was looking to sell.  They are selling them for about $200 apiece on their website, but they offered me between $10 and $20 each when contacted them.

Are they actually "selling" or are they simply sitting there, listed but not moving? Once produced, a listing up on the Replacements sites costs them very little.

I'm lucky to have a China Finder business near my neighborhood and when I was decluttering some years ago I took in a bunch of china ware. He didn't want the antique pieces because it doesn't sell. It was this particular pattern that is not popular. Of the thousands of china patterns produced over the centuries, only a few are very collectible. But, he took all of my contemporary dinnerware which admittedly was very expensive when I bought it, and it's still being collected. I've seen it used in at least 2 films.

These are just random observations about old china and tableware, it's one of my collecting interests. When I get rid of stuff, I'm more interested in placing it in the hands of someone who wants it than I am in getting money out of it. I inherited a pre-war punch bowl set from my mom and I didn't want it, yet I felt responsible for disposing of it responsibly. I took it to my friend who runs an antique store and told her that I didn't think it was worth much because people just do NOT use punch bowls any more. She managed to sell it for $250+ BUT it sat in her shop for a year and she is always a very beautiful and skilled saleswoman. So it's not as though she had no investment in it, she paid for real estate costs to house it before it sold. We split the profits.

I have about 50 pieces of Victorian flow blue china which has always been a strong collectible. Yet, in recent 15 years, prices have gone way down. Victoriana is out, it's not very popular. But that's fine with me because I've always loved flow blue and I collected it for the fun of it, and when I have to get rid of it I'm sure that I'll get "pennies on the dollar" because I'm not a retailer.