Should i take furniture to consignment store?

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Hayden
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Should i take furniture to consignment store?

Post by Hayden »

I am moving, downsizing, and it is time to get rid of grandmother’s furniture. I don’t know the first thing about antiques, so am looking for your advice.

I contacted the person regarded as the best antique dealer in our small city. She said I needed to tell her how much I want for the pieces. I told her I have no idea what they are and what they are worth, and was looking for some advice from her. She said, that’s not how it works, you need to tell me how much you want.

Contacted another antique dealer. She looked at photos and offered to come by, examine the pieces in person, and make me an offer. Problem is, I have no clue as to what they are worth.

Then I contacted the furniture consignment store. He said the pieces are beautiful and he would love to have them in his store. He will sell them and we split the proceeds 60 (me) 40 (him).

I’m inclined to go with the consignment store. Please advise me.
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dumbbunny
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Re: Should i take furniture to consignment store?

Post by dumbbunny »

Hayden wrote:Contacted another antique dealer. She looked at photos and offered to come by, examine the pieces in person, and make me an offer. Problem is, I have no clue as to what they are worth. Please advise me.
Short of standing in line at the next Antique Roadshow, I would guess the furniture is worth at least twice what this dealer is offering.
“It’s the curse of old men to realize that in the end we control nothing." "Homeland" episode, "Gerontion"
PS241
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Re: Should i take furniture to consignment store?

Post by PS241 »

The pieces are *worth* whatever you can find someone to give you money for. Have you considered trying to sell them on Facebook or other online option? Good quality stuff in my area goes almost instantly. Price it high, people will probably give you offers if you are too high.
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Hayden
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Re: Should i take furniture to consignment store?

Post by Hayden »

PS241 wrote:The pieces are *worth* whatever you can find someone to give you money for. Have you considered trying to sell them on Facebook or other online option? Good quality stuff in my area goes almost instantly. Price it high, people will probably give you offers if you are too high.
I've never sold anything. In the past, when I wanted to get rid of something, I just took it to Goodwill.

Do people really buy antiques through Craigslist or Facebook? How much work is this, really?
theunknowntech
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Re: Should i take furniture to consignment store?

Post by theunknowntech »

Hayden wrote:I am moving, downsizing, and it is time to get rid of grandmother’s furniture. I don’t know the first thing about antiques, so am looking for your advice.

I contacted the person regarded as the best antique dealer in our small city. She said I needed to tell her how much I want for the pieces. I told her I have no idea what they are and what they are worth, and was looking for some advice from her. She said, that’s not how it works, you need to tell me how much you want.

Contacted another antique dealer. She looked at photos and offered to come by, examine the pieces in person, and make me an offer. Problem is, I have no clue as to what they are worth.

Then I contacted the furniture consignment store. He said the pieces are beautiful and he would love to have them in his store. He will sell them and we split the proceeds 60 (me) 40 (him).

I’m inclined to go with the consignment store. Please advise me.
Find the best auction house in your area. They would be able to give you a reasonable idea of what the stuff would fetch. Balance that with what it would cost to have the stuff transported there, and the auction house commission. Usually sending pictures are sufficient to get a reasonable estimate.

Looking at the auction estimate would better inform what you would be expecting from a consignment shop, or whether it would be better to go at auction.
pshonore
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Re: Should i take furniture to consignment store?

Post by pshonore »

What kind of furniture? Bedroom sets? dining room sets? Upholstered, etc. I would contact a local reputable auction house. They may give you an estimate of what to expect pricewise and may put it in their next auction. (and should charge a lot less than 40%).
retiredjg
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Re: Should i take furniture to consignment store?

Post by retiredjg »

Seems like you should get a neutral party to come and appraise what you have. Antiques can be worth almost nothing to quite a lot. Chances are you have a combination of the two.

If you just want to get rid of this stuff, get an offer from Dealer #2 and decide if just getting rid of it at that price is worth it to you. If you do legwork or consignment store, that could be a lot of work on your part and might even involve renting a storage facility. If you do the consignment store, find out how long they will hold the stuff - you don't want to move it a second time.
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dratkinson
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Re: Should i take furniture to consignment store?

Post by dratkinson »

Search for yellow pages for "appraisers" and pay one to value your furniture for a private sale.
--Pro. Independent valuation.
--Con. Stranger in your home.

Private sale using ads on CL and others.
--Pro. Probably get the most money.
--Pro. Free ads.
--Con. Much more work.
--Con. Need to rent storage space if unable to complete all sales before selling your home.
--Con. Personal security with showing to strangers.

Search for "auction service". This could be your best bet for true antiques.
--Pro. Simple, one and done.
--Pro. They should appraise, pick up, store, and advertise auction.
--Con. Their fee.

Consignment sale.
--Pro. Simple, one and done.
--Con. Typically don't advertise, so prospective customers don’t know about your items.
--Con. Must turn over merchandise, can't afford long-term storage, so frequently drop prices (monthly, weekly) to move merchandise. Will lose money if ideal buyer doesn't quickly stumble upon your items.

Thrift store.
--Pro. Simple, one and done.
--Con. Will get the least money. Charitable contributions have a 7% (?) AGI floor to be deductible, and then are reduced to your tax bracket.

Example. Please allow simplifying assumptions: AGI is $50K, 25% fed tax bracket, deductible contribution above AGI floor is $10K. Then...
50000 AGI, taxes = 12500
-10000 AGI, taxes = -2500
40000 AGI, taxes = 10000

So after the loss due to the AGI floor, your contribution lost 75% of its value (1-fed tax rate) because it's value comes from a tax deduction, not from a sale. Your $10K returns your tax rate (25%). If in the 15% bracket, you lose 85%, get 15%.


Bottom line. For true antiques, an auction service may be your best route for after-tax income, personal safety, and simplicity. For old furniture you don’t care about messing with, a thrift store seems to be the simplest solution.
d.r.a., not dr.a. | I'm a novice investor, you are forewarned.
adamthesmythe
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Re: Should i take furniture to consignment store?

Post by adamthesmythe »

You need someone knowledgeable to tell you the difference between merely high-quality older furniture and seriously valuable antiques. (Keep in mind that even stuff from the fifties is sometimes valuable, although the odds are not in your favor.).

An auction house will only be interested in the really good stuff. For the rest- personally I would go for consignment because it's less trouble.
theunknowntech
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Re: Should i take furniture to consignment store?

Post by theunknowntech »

adamthesmythe wrote:You need someone knowledgeable to tell you the difference between merely high-quality older furniture and seriously valuable antiques. (Keep in mind that even stuff from the fifties is sometimes valuable, although the odds are not in your favor.).

An auction house will only be interested in the really good stuff. For the rest- personally I would go for consignment because it's less trouble.
To whoever suggested that decent auction houses would only accept "high end", like Louis nnn or Federal antiques or something, museum-quality antiques, that is NOT how it works, except in the super-high-end environments like Sotheby's or whatever.

Outside of the top antique auction markets, there is a _very_vigorous_ crowd that will bid on good quality furniture.
Last edited by theunknowntech on Tue Aug 11, 2015 11:04 am, edited 1 time in total.
randomguy
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Re: Should i take furniture to consignment store?

Post by randomguy »

Peterjens wrote:
Hayden wrote:Contacted another antique dealer. She looked at photos and offered to come by, examine the pieces in person, and make me an offer. Problem is, I have no clue as to what they are worth. Please advise me.
Short of standing in line at the next Antique Roadshow, I would guess the furniture is worth at least twice what this dealer is offering.
Of course. That is also why the consignment shop wants 40%.

Does the furniture have a brand/date or any other info that you can Google for?
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Hayden
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Re: Should i take furniture to consignment store?

Post by Hayden »

Thank you everybody for the helpful responses. I can't find any names or dates on the furniture.

The furniture was acquired in New York a long time ago (don't know when), but I now live out west in flyover country.

I live in a small city. I googled auction houses, and I found one in this area. They seem to do a lot of farm equipment etc, in addition to furniture.

Any sense of how much I would receive at auction compared with what I would receive from a consignment sale?
SGM
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Re: Should i take furniture to consignment store?

Post by SGM »

You could put the furniture up for auction and if it doesn't sell then send to a consignment shop. The consignment shop generally lowers the price after a certain period of time if it does not sell.
scone
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Re: Should i take furniture to consignment store?

Post by scone »

Any sense of how much I would receive at auction compared with what I would receive from a consignment sale?

^^ Total crap shoot, depending on how fashionable the stuff is, the number of possible buyers who are aware of the auction and willing to bid, etc.

Why don't you take some pictures of your stuff, and link here? Try to find any sort of markings, and give us a close up on them. Open a drawer, if applicable, so we can see the side, where it joins the front. If the joint is a "dovetail," and it's handmade, the piece may be older-- if it's machine made, it's newer.

FWIW most of the stuff I see was made somewhere between the Civil War and the end of WWII, and it's essentially factory built-- not particularly valuable, but sturdy and useful. The stuff commonly called "golden oak" is frequently seen, along with a lot of mahogany in various revival styles. If your stuff is that type of thing, I wouldn't expect more than a couple of hundred per piece. OTOH It's just possible, though not likely, that you have some Belter or high end Arts and Crafts, and that's worth more.

Don't get your hopes up, though. :wink:
"My bond allocation is the amount of money that I cannot afford to lose." -- Taylor Larimore
randomguy
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Re: Should i take furniture to consignment store?

Post by randomguy »

You could see if your library has a book like

http://www.amazon.com/Antique-Trader-Fu ... etoknow-20

Or Google around to get prices . either way it can be hard sometime to match what you have to those items.

Is there any cost to having the antique dealer give you a quote? Seems like you would get some info at a minimum.
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