August 21, 2016

Appraisals for Sellers

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Individuals sell jewelry regularly and for a variety of reasons. Sometimes it has to do with an inheritance, sometimes it’s about a divorce or a change of taste and sometimes it’s just that they need the money but it always comes down to the same set of questions:

  1. What have I got?
  2. Who can I sell it to for maximum money?
  3. How do I promote it?
  4. What are the risks and how can I minimize them

We can help.

1) What do you have?
As a seller, it’s important to know the facts or you aren’t going to be able to negotiate well with your potential buyers and it’s easy to confuse your advertisements and the advertisements of the people you bought from with these facts. If you’ve got a prior appraisal on the piece, read it over carefully paying special attention to the description section (well get to the value conclusion later). This description is what is going to drive the price and it’s important that you know both the good and the bad about what you have to sell. If what you’ve got is a document given by the selling jeweler or something that was prepared for insurance replacement purposed, it may not be the whole story. Even ‘certified’ stones leave a lot unstated because of the cut grading and the differences between the various labs. It may be worth your trouble and money to get a professional appraisal. For our local clients we do this while you wait and while you watch in most cases and you will go away knowing the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth. We aren’t a buyer and this puts us in the unique position of being an unbiased source of information that’s working to help YOU to understand how to make the most of your sale.
 2) Who can you sell to?
The three primary markets available to individual sellers are direct sales to individuals, sales to dealers and consignment programs.

Sales to individuals requires the most skills and has the biggest range of possible outcomes. Skilled sellers do a lot better than unskilled ones and only you can reasonably assess your own abilities. Ebay and Craigslist are two popular avenues as well as newspaper advertising and direct sales to friends.

Sales to dealers is the fastest and usually the easiest approach although it rarely brings the top dollar. There’s a whole industry of dealers in the business of buying things from the public, taking them apart and recycling the pieces back into new items. They generally pay cash and the deal is done on the spot.

Consignment is a combination of the two where you leave the piece with a dealer or jeweler who then finds a customer that wants to buy it. When the deal goes through, the broker takes a commission and you get the rest. This usually pays more than direct sale to the dealers because you are covering the inventory costs but it comes with some increased risks and an unknown payoff date. As with the above, only you can decide if you have the temperament, time and patience for a consignment program.

As with the above, we can help. Each of our appraisal clients starts out knowing exactly what they have and we provide full descriptions, photographs, photomicrographs and whatever is required to fully define the piece. All of this can be available on the web through our Registry section. Just tell us at the time of your appraisal and it’s FREE. The registry doesn’t include any personal information and it doesn’t include a price. It’s just the description, photographs and scans and, because you have no way to alter or edit it, your buyer can be confident of what we saw. We even give discounts to buyers of items in the registry who seek their own appraisals (which is recommended by the way).

We can help with the dealers too. AGR is widely recognized as one of the most consistent and reliable sources for jewelry information in the country and our registry is often used as the final answer to what the item really is. They can bid whatever they want, of course, but by posting it in the registry first you can far more easily shop one dealer against another because both they and you know exactly what they will be buying.

For a modest fee to the buyer, and with permission from you, we can reinspect the piece after you make your deal to confirm for them that the piece is the same that we saw before and that its’ undamaged and unaltered and we become the last people to see it before they get it so there is no way for it to be altered by you, an unknown stranger.
3) How to promote it.
This will depend on who you choose as a customer. For direct sale through ebay and Craigslist, we provide tools through the registry to help you build your advertisement using our photographs and descriptions. You still get to price however you like. Based on your appraisal session, you know where you should expect to end up. In most cases it works well to set the reserve on your ebay auction at what the dealers are offering you. If you get more that that it’s all gravy and if you can’t get it you can always go back to the dealers. For local Denver Cragslist, it’s common for sellers to list an item using the registry and to offer the client that they can have it inspected here or somewhere else while you are present before the deal is finalized. The appraiser can look up and match to the registry information and the final deal, if it happens, happens in cash and immediately upon approval.
 Protecting yourself.
Use good sense. Don’t give out your address and don’t meet with people in ridiculous places to consummate a craigslist deal. Arrange to make the transfer at our office or some similar secure location. There is a charge to the buyer for this and it comes with some additional benefits to the buyer but it can be done for free at your or their bank but do make sure the bank manager is aware of what is going on and always be courteous of bank. If you sell on ebay, don’t take checks and don’t use Western Union. If you sell on consignment, research the store before you make the deal and get a contract in writing that spells out how much you will receive when it sells, how long after the sale you should wait to get paid and under what conditions you can retrieve the merchandise and cancel the deal. Be careful about consigning to a dealer who is far away from home where you can’t periodically look to see if they still have it and if they are displaying it is a way that’s reasonably likely to result in a sale. There’s nothing wrong with websites and some of the best actually sell this way but you want to be sure that it’s backed up by a real business that is going to keep your property securely and insured and that will actually pay you your share when the deal finally happens. Check with the BBB and get references.

Call our appraiser today at (303)223-4944 for an appointment or inquire right now by email.

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