3 Things to Know When Selling at Auction

If you’re dealing with high-end Antiques & Collectibles you can probably negotiate better selling terms for your items. Certain high-end Auction Houses will even sell at “Zero Commission” just to get the consignment, and then make their money off the “Buyer’s Premium”.

But when selling normal merchandise, regardless of the Auctioneer or your geographic location, there are 3 things you need to know when selling at Auction.

Commission: Every Auctioneer is going to charge you a commission. It may be a “Flat or Sliding Scale Commission”, but you’re going to pay a commission. Assume 25% as a good starting point.

Delivery Fee: The Auctioneer’s commission rarely includes free pick-up. You’re responsible for getting the merchandise there. Easy for coins, jewelry and small items. It can get quite pricey for a house full of furniture.

Absolute Auction: Most Auctioneers will sell at “Absolute Auction” which means no minimum or reserve. You may want $500 on your upholstered sofa but, if the highest bid is only $10, then it’s gone at $10.

So before deciding to go the Auction route, run your numbers to estimate whether the expected sale price, less commission, delivery expense & risk, are worth rolling the dice at Auction.

WHAT’S IT WORTH: As an Auctioneer I believe in the Auction Method of Selling. However, Auction is not right for everyone or everything. Rare, highly desirable, and merchandise without condition issues are often good candidates for Auction. Items that are common, less desirable, or having condition issues, are often not Auction worthy.

Mike Ivankovich is an Auctioneer, Appraiser, Home Downsizing Expert, and host of the “What’s It Worth? Ask Mike the Appraiser” Radio Show that airs live in the Philadelphia PA area on Friday mornings from 9-10 AM EST on WBCB 1490 AM and on the Internet at:

You can also visit his Radio Show Web Site: