One of the biggest mistakes people make when selling Antiques & Collectibles is their failure to understand different “Appraisal Values,” which can vary widely, depending upon the original appraisal purpose. For example, in very simplified terms:

Insurance Appraisal Value is defined as “What’s the MOST it will cost you to replace an insured item if Lost, Damaged, Destroyed, or Stolen”. That’s a fair but high retail asking price.

Fair Market Value is defined as “What’s a “FAIR” price between a knowledgeable and willing Buyer & Seller”, which is usually lower than the Insurance Value.

Liquidation Value is what most people want to know. “What can I expect to receive if I SELL IT SOON”

What typically happens? Not understanding the difference between “Appraisal Values”, a seller will take a jewelry item appraised for Insurance purposes at $10,000 … consign it for sale at Auction, expecting approximately $10,000 … and when it sells for only $800, they feel cheated.

So before selling any item that has already been appraised, you should understand what the Appraisal Value actually means.

WHAT’S IT WORTH ANTIQUE MINUTE: We perform many House & Estate Contents Appraisals, and we conduct many Antique Road Show-type events. And nearly 99% of the time people want to know the Liquidation Value … or what they can sell their items for. And once we determine the type of Appraised Value they’re seeking, our final question is usually “Do you want it sugar-coated … or right between the eyes”. Because it’s ugly out there for many items and, if the younger generations aren’t interested in it, value is typically much lower than they hoped. Fortunately, most people say “Give it to us right between the eyes”. Which is exactly what we do.

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: