Older “die-hard” collectors are passing away and selling their massive collections all at once. So who is going to buy all these items? Some will be sold to today’s collectors, though far fewer in number than serious collectors years ago. Hence, these collections are saturating the market, driving prices and values lower. Too much supply, not enough demand.
Let’s return to the seller wanting to sell items they believe are valuable just because mom paid a fortune for them. They believe what they have is special and unique. Most of the time, figurines, china, collector’s plates, glassware, Victorian furniture and the like have saturated the market because millions of our moms and dads are passing away. Boomers are downsizing. Generation X and Y don’t want these items. Millennials are into themselves, not material possessions. These younger generations collect virtually, not materially.
When an heir is looking to sell Lenox, Waterford, Hummel, Franklin Mint, Depression glass, antique furniture, large wardrobes, entertainment centers, and china hutches, the estate experts only have to show how very flooded the market is to get the consumers to understand that these items are now worth very little.
When I look on Ebay and see a “sterling silver lot of 50 grams,” I wonder why on earth one would attempt to sell it for $200 when it would barely get $30 with the current spot price of silver, unless it was a unique designer piece or desirable manufacturer. Asking outrageous prices for items that are clearly not worth it any longer will backfire on the seller.
It is what it is. No expert, myself included, can alter these trends of simplification, downsizing, and squeezing more bang out of a buyer’s buck than we already do. The market is speaking and we need to listen.
Another issue? Many people with a smart phone in their hand believe they are an expert. I can assure you they are not. They just Google over-inflated prices, unless they are wanting to buy. If they are buyers, they search for the lowest possible prices in hopes of getting an item at a small cost. These issues are just the tip of the iceberg for what experts are dealing with as they handle personal property while managing clients’ expectations.
It takes an expert many years to understand trends, observe patterns, know how to maximize value, and offer the best value for the client. Do-it-yourselfers often do themselves a disservice by not enlisting the assistance of a professional who is experienced in all of the above.
©2016 The Estate Lady®
Julie Hall, The Estate Lady®, is the foremost national expert on personal property in estates, including liquidating, advising, and appraising. http://www.TheEstateLady.com She is also the Director of American Society of Estate Liquidators®, the national educational and resource organization for estate liquidation. http://www.aselonline.com.
No part of The Estate Lady® blogs, whole or partial, may be used without Julie Hall’s written consent. Email her at Julie@TheEstateLady.com.