UNDER THE HAMMER.
Byline: John Crane
FIRM advice sometimes, I think, is appropriate and necessary to protect people who are potentially unaware and vulnerable.
Alarm bells start ringing with me when I see full-page newspaper adverts saying "Jewellery One Day Antiques Roadshow - Sell For Instant Cash"!
These travelling dealers may well be reputable, but not all are, as in all types of businesses. So, great caution is advised.
Most jewellery and silver dealers will value items on their weight and the scrap or bullion value of the metal on the day of purchase. They will weigh your item on digital scales and pay you by the gram-weight, or an amount per troy ounce in silver.
Now, my point is this; you don't sell mahogany chairs by weight! It is by quality and design, and so it is with silver and jewellery.
The value of an item is assessed by its quality, maker, condition, rarity and age, and general desirability in today's collectors' market.
An ordinary silver teapot from 1930 is worth about PS150, but a similar sized example from 1750, by a good maker, is worth many times more; some early items are extremely rare and may be worth 100 times more than scrap value, a huge difference. Would you know these pieces? Would travelling buyers tell you? Probably not.
In our auction this week, we successfully sold a very small 18ct gold cameo brooch, above. There were no hallmarks or maker's marks on it, but it was extremely fine quality and weighed 5 grams - its scrap value was about PS140. It was advertised internationally, attracted many bidders, and the successful bidder paid in total just over PS1,200. Again, a successful result for the seller!
So, the point of all this is simple. Consult a reputable auctioneer and we will know the items that sell well and those which don't, and we will tell you! The seller and the auctioneer are on the same side, to get as many people as possible bidding on your valued family treasures to get the highest price possible - not just a low scrap value!
Our Wirral Pre-Auction Valuation Office, in Heswall, is open on Fridays and other times by appointment (0151 342 2321) and our Auction Rooms, in Stanhope Street, in Liverpool, are open every weekday from 9-4, where Mr Behnam or I will be pleased to see you - call 0151 709 5559.
Happy hunting - and sell while the prices are strong!