PHOTO 28 - Don't Sell.png

As both a Buyer and Appraiser of Antiques and Collectibles, should we “Buy” what we “Appraise?” The obvious answer is “No.” So we try to avoid any perceived conflict of interest.

Here’s a typical situation we’re often faced with. “Mr. Ivankovich, we’d like you to look at our _________.” Our standard response is “Are you asking us to appraise it (we charge for appraisals) or are you looking to sell it to us (we need to make a fair profit).” The typical response is “We’re not sure. Just tell us what it’s worth.”

Usually people seeking values are interested in selling, but don’t know what to charge. Because they don’t want to pay for an appraisal, they turn to the first prospective buyer who won’t charge them an appraisal fee, usually an Antique Dealer or Auctioneer. Yet all too often the appraiser/prospective buyer who wants to buy the merchandise has a vested interest in degrading it, thereby lowering the perceived value as much as possible.

Our advice: “Don’t sell to the person telling you what your items are worth.” You’re asking for trouble if you do.

WHAT’S IT WORTH:  Yes, there are exceptions to this. For example:

If you know and trust the individual

If you must dispose of something ASAP, For example, to avoid another monthly mortgage payment or storage locker rental fee.

If you prefer to avoid the costs, delivery hassles, and uncertainties of selling at Auction

Remember, the best price is a fair price where both sides walk away happy.

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: