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Monday, July 14, 2014

What's Hot and What's Not in Estate Sale Treasures

Busy Bee Moving Sales - An Estate Sales Company in Nashville, TN.
 I have mentioned a few of these points in my previous blogs so I'll quickly summarize the trend.  Men are the new and growing fans of estate, garage and yard sales. Men scour garages for older tools and items that are now made in other countries of less quality.

 Also, due to the downturn in the economy families are choosing to buy furniture, clothes, toys and household goods from their neighbors instead of taking out loans, charging up their credit cards and paying sales tax on new items.

Metalware - A recent trend in reselling gold and silver has definitely driven the demand for precious metals and it sickens me to see beautiful antique sterling to be sent off to be melted down.  But in tough financial  times when folks need cash, that's what happens.  In addition to the precious metals is also a high demand for scrap metal as well.  Again,  many metal antiquities are being hauled away and scrapped.  I have nothing against recycling, just caution that you may get more for those Stanley Planes if you sell them on instead of scrapping them with a pile of tools.

Jewelry both precious gems, metal and costume are still very hot.  Dealers can ship them easily and they don't take up much space in antique booths where dealers pay by the square foot.  Also, the price of sterling silver and gold has definitely going up in value thus attracting that buyer.  Jewelry collectors will be the first in the door so be ready.  Even vintage jewelry from the fifty's through the seventy's has a strong market.

Guns and ammunition are hot.  The entire gun market has sky rocketed in past years.  State and Federal Laws must be followed in trading of these items but if you are looking for a shotgun you better be first in line for that sale.

Television shows and websites have also given us inspiration to repurpose and recycle rather than throwing out.  Thanks to sites such as a plethora of ideas of taking yard sale finds and remixing them into new life.  Creative thinkers are flooding estate sales and chalk painting furniture and reselling it for a profit.  I've sold old screen doors to women who said it would make a bulletin/chalk board and even an old rusty garden rake to a lady that was hanging it on the wall as a wine glass holder.  The ideas are endless.  An antique dealer held up an iron half red half rusty 4" attachment to a tractor and said, "How much?  I can use this for a bookend."

And now to what's not hot.  Unfortunately, many lifetime collections have not held their value.  China, glassware, dolls, electronics, furs, certain furniture pieces, books and home furnishings have not.  I have a saying, "If it was manufactured for the purpose of being a collectible, it probably hasn't increased in value."  This is unfortunate for collectors of Hummels, Precious Moments, Knowles Plates, etc.

Let's begin with furniture.  I have conducted many sales and this is what is frequently left at the end and I'll tell you why.  Large pieces such as armoirs and entertainment centers.  Families are turning to flat screens and even those that attach to the walls therefore not wanting the tv armoirs and cabinetry used in the 80's and 90's.  Also, large furniture pieces require moving expenses and space that many young families looking for furniture do not want to contend with.   Fabricated furniture such as sofas, loveseats and wing back chairs also move slowly at the sale.  Reupholstering a sofa will often cost between 500-1500.  Unless it is in impeccable condition or a rare Eame's sofa worthy of having refurbished, buyers will most likely buy new.  Fabric also has a clean factor that buyers consider.  If pets are smokers were in the home, the lazy boy recliner will probably not sell.   Fabric will also date the furniture when wood pieces mix into new decor more easily.  We are also seeing a trend of going away from the large formal dining room furniture.  Formal dining rooms are being converted to home offices.  Pub height tables and wine bars have replaced the large dining table and buffet.

My biggest disappointment in the industry has been the decrease of prices in glassware.  I believe that few of the new antique collecting shows have educated the public on the value of glassware.  Roseville, McCoy, yelloware, Pyrex, and a few others have held much of their value, all have taken a hit.  From Fostoria, depression glass, Fenton to carnival glass, they all have decreased in value from the once book prices we went by prior to internet appraising.  I did see a bounce last year in crystal, especially the better more expensive crystal such as Waterford and Bacharach.  Thanks to Pinterest, wedding planners started collecting china and stemware even mixing sets for an eclectic look.  Once bringing thousands as a set, Noritake and Limoges were selling for less than 100.  a set.

Books and electronics have all become victims of the technical industry.  I recently did a sale to walk in and find 5 old t.v.s stacked in the corner.  The owner asked if I would put 25 dollars each on them.  I told her I would put 10 dollars on them and hope they get hauled away as land fills will often charge you to take them.  We sold one.  I had a man buy speakers just for the copper in the wire.  Technology is always improving and never trusted fully by the buyer so they are tough sales.  Electronic books have hurt the market but antique books still have some value.  Older children lithograph books would be the best sellers.

Fur coats will occasionally sell but not for the prices they did at one time.  Unless a crafter wants to make something new from it, most likely it will not be worn again.

And lastly, art.  I'm not sure why the downturn in sales in the framed and glass art other than decor, but they are hard to sell even signed by the artist.  Original art by unknown artists is a little more marketable but struggling as well.

Of course location and timing is a factor in what is hot and what is not.  Christmas ornaments don't sell in June but fly out the door in November.  Historical items attached to an area such as books and memorabilia will definitely be a hot item regionally.  But overall we have seen variances in the market of resale goods.  Nevertheless, I'll hold onto my handpainted Bavarian plates until the price goes up.
This article is brought to you by Busy Bee Moving Sales in Nashville, Tennessee.  Visit our website to find out how we can assist you in selling your estate. email: or call 512-788-2544.

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