Being the personal representative for an estate is a difficult task. You may be dealing with the emotions of losing a loved one while you have to make a wide range of decisions affecting the estate. As you deal with the estate assets you may wonder whether an estate sale or auction is a better method to sell personal property. We have some guidelines that can help make this decision easier.
If the estate has rare and valuable items like coin collections, gold, platinum, gems and other estate jewelry, antique paintings, collections of 1960’s and earlier baseball cards or comic books an auction is the way to go. Valuable antiques, memorabilia or collectibles deserve the promotion that a well publicized auction provides them.
More contemporary items will sell better at an estate sale (also known as tag sale). Instead of items being sold to the highest bidder at auction, they are priced and the public is invited to the home to purchase items on site. Some antiques, fine furnishings, tools and even automobiles (except for antique and classic cars) may be a good fit for an estate sale.
When we are called upon to sell the contents of an estate we often use both methods. The belongings are sorted to find the rarer antiques, artwork, Sterling silver, estate jewelry, coin and other collections that are brought to auction. Some antiques will sell better at an estate sale along side the more contemporary items and every day household items.
By using both methods, clients are ensured that their items are being sold in the venue that will produce the best results for the estate.
This method works very well in the Massachusetts homes and other areas throughout New England and the Northeast that I’ve covered. Other methods may vary throughout the rest of the country. Colleagues in other geographical regions have found that auctioning all estate contents from antiques to tableware is an effective method. I recommend visiting local auctions and estate sales if you are undecided how best to handle your particular situation.
The author, Wayne Tuiskula, has been an antique dealer conducting estate sales, selling at antique shows and shops and running antique shops for over 25 years. Wayne has been an auctioneer since 2002 after starting his business www.centralmassauctions.com Central Mass Auctions, Inc. He teaches the “Evaluating Your Antiques Course” and writes for the Stonebridge Press and ecommercebytes.com. Mr. Tuiskula has General Personal Property Appraiser credentials from the National Auctioneers Association and has been a collectibles appraiser on PBS “Antiques Roadshow” television show.