6 Tips for Selling Antiques

May 7th 2016

As you sell antiques, make sure you know what you own so no one takes advantage of you. If you do your research ahead of time and work with reputable professionals, you should be able to sell your valuable items for a tidy profit.

Don't Separate Collections

It can be tempting to want to split up a collection of books, dolls or plates under the assumption that you can get more for the individual items than for the whole set. However, you may find yourself selling one or two items and being stuck with the rest. Keep collections together. If your own collection is missing one or two key items, try to replace them before selling the set.

Have Your Antiques Appraised

You only have to watch an antiques TV show where someone who's picked up an item at a garage sale for $10 learns that it's actually worth $1,000 to realize the importance of getting a valid appraisal before putting anything on the market. If your antiques are indeed worthwhile, the appraiser's fees are likely to be covered in the eventual sale. Look for an appraiser who specializes in the type of antiques you're selling.

Pay Attention to the Marketplace

Certain antiques go in and out of style, and their prices rise and fall accordingly. The Arts and Crafts dining table that was so valuable 20 years ago might find few buyers in a marketplace increasingly caught up with mid-century modern furniture. Find out what's selling and what people are paying for your items now rather what might have been paid in the past.

Consider Selling on Consignment

If you're not set up to handle advertising, showing and shipping your antiques, consider turning them over to a consignment dealer. You typically receive 60 to 80 percent of the proceeds for items sold on consignment, a higher proportion than the standard 50 percent the owner receives for items sold at auction.

Sell at the Right Time

Certain antiques and collectibles sell better at a particular time of year. If you're specializing in Christmas collectibles, put them on the market in the fall, and don't expect to do a lot of business in the spring.

Be Patient

It can take a long time to restore an antique, get it on the market and find the right buyer for it. Don't send out an air of desperation as you try to sell, but be patient as you bring your antiques to market.


If you don't deal in antiques for a living, but want to sell some collectibles or antiques you own, the market can seem confusing, with no clear place to start. As high-profit sales of antiques, art and collectible items make the news, it can be hard to figure out whom to trust. The many options for selling antiques, including online auctions, live auctions, consignment sellers and even flea markets, can pose difficult choices. Here are a few tips to help you figure out how to sell your antiques for the best possible price.

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