Updated: Jan 10
Do you collect, resell or love a bargain?
Are you a fan of auctions, yard sales, estate sales or all things thrifting? If you read my blog, you probably fall in to one of those categories. Or, you are just a kind friend, patronizing me and bless you for that too. Big hugs, but this time, just maybe, I got a tip or 2 for you. And to save you time, did you answer yes, to any of those questions above? If so, then read on because I got a few tips, and what I think will save you time and give you advantage over the competition. Also, an easy money maker. You may know a few or all of these, so to some, I am preaching to choir, but I might just have some nugget for you too. No one knows everything.
Okay, Alexa might, but she keeps a ton of it secret.
As you may or may not know, I often write about the tips and tricks of the trade. The auction & appraisal trade. My passion is researching & writing about the odd collectors’ genres. I love when readers send me mysteries. If I had all the time in the world, I would follow all the great Facebook identification groups, plus Reddit and Quora…. Taking on all the mysteries. I also like to follow resale trends, seeking out what is hot and what is new in the second hand industry. I know what you are thinking, nerd, but to me it is fun. Helping a stranger solve a mystery is very rewarding in some way. And all that said, when I get a mystery item from a reader, 90% of the time its “how did you figure that out?”
And I wish I had more of a documented process. That would be “the $299 online program” friends have been trying to get me to write for years. The problem is, I am a bit of an ADHD mess. You know…I got 6 windows open, head down worm hole after worm hole, eventually solving the crime, but wow...i like distractions. A few have gone unsolved for a long time. There are Artist signatures out there I have come back to years later and miraculously solved, typically by running in to the answer, completely by chance, working on something else. And to that point, if you ask me, the toughest job for any personal property appraiser is solving "illegible" or "unknown" Artist Signatures. I will do a video on what I do, that might be unique...look for that in a few months. But I want to talk about solving and listing the “stuff.”
How do I figure out the Stuff?
I find the number one thing I do when researching anything is a quick Google Image Search of the Obvious. I have watched teams of cataloguers, seasoned appraisers and known experts search with all their might, for hours, OVERTHINKING the obvious….lets just say, they will search every adjective and never the noun or some word or mark that’s actually on the thing-a-ma-bob….it’s funny. I catch my self-doing it too but have learned to really focus on the obvious. Here is an example. You have a bronze buddha head. And you search, Chinese-large-metal-vintage-old-Asian….you end up with plates, vases, furniture and so on…and you are frustrated but if you would have just looked up bronze buddha head, you’d be hot on the trail. This is a funky example, but next time you are doing it…watch yourself. I have seen people type…Beautiful, Red Leather, Studded….and forget the keyword “love seat.” While trying to figure out a maker or designer. Makes for an interesting search depending on the cookies on your computer. Not judging.
Nothing But The Facts...
But once you home in on what it is, if you are going to list it or sell it, how can you make it easier for your potential bidders and buyers to find it? Same process, and again….do not out smart yourself. “Bronze Buddha Head” is most important and now you may add qualifiers. Antique, Vintage, Signed, Decorated, etc. If it is an online auction, you just want to lead the horses (bidders/experts) to the water (the item.) Give them a title that draw them in. The descriptions should be “just the facts” and then let them determine what it is, and the result should be the true fair market value, shown by their bids, etc.