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Auction House recommendation?


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#1 jim_mi

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Posted 12 November 2017 - 05:40 AM

I'd like to know if Forum members have had experience with any of the auction houses in disposing of large military knife collections. I'm not looking for one to use now, but for future reference - hopefully, far in the future...
Anyone??

Jim

#2 268th C.A.

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Posted 12 November 2017 - 06:26 AM

I'd recomend selling them to a reputible dealer, The auction houses take a good percintage and from what I've heard over the years, not very trust worthy. Lost, under the table dealing, and honestly most dont know how to market it. I took some RARE items to a BIG auction house in Dallas, they had no clue as to what they were looking at. They were just looking for that "Superman Comic" #1 that was in mint unread condition. Three times I have visited them only to be ignored. So I don't have that Picaso  there looking for. But there Militaria auctions don't seem to bring what they should for 90 % of the items. Unless you have General Custer's sword. LOL. Good luck! 

This is just my opinion. 



#3 72psb

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Posted 12 November 2017 - 06:59 AM

Rock Island Auctions seems to do a good job with weapons.



#4 Mr.Jerry

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Posted 12 November 2017 - 07:27 AM

Many auction houses only report the "stellar" sales items, and they do very well on those but the mid-level items can sell for much less, and they never seem to let you know about the decent 1911 that only went for $500, and then they take around 30% no matter what.  We moved a large collection of native American items through a very reputable specialty auction house, and the auctioneers pre-auction estimate was 20-30k. We ended up with around $6k and the auctioneer just shrugged it off as an "off month"...

 

There is a good article about selling at auction in the Military Trader bonus issue.



#5 Bob Hudson

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Posted 12 November 2017 - 07:37 AM

I've sold a couple of things through Cowan's and was pleased with the company,  but, being auctions, results can vary, unlike putting items into a retail setting where you can wait for the "right price." 

 

But if you sell them to a dealer, you have to accept lower-than-retail prices and might end up getting the same as you would with an auction.



#6 reschenk

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Posted 12 November 2017 - 08:30 AM

If you do sell at auction, you should either get the right to draft, or at least approve, the lot descriptions.  I have acquired some remarkable bargains because I recognized an item for what it was despite incorrect or incomplete descriptions.   For example, I acquired an nice example of the extremely rare Springfield M1872 cavalry officer sword, the heavy variant made before the saber was redesigned and lightened in 1880 to make the common M1872/80 Field and Cavalry Officer saber.  Obviously the bulk of the potential buyers paid little attention to it because the catalog described it simply as a generic M1872 Cavalry Officer saber, not even mentioning it was a Springfield, much less a heavy variant.   The listing was accompanied by mediocre photos of the overall sword.  As a result I was able to buy it for $308 including buyer's premium and shipping.  Properly identified, it would likely have commanded a price well into four figures.  I similarly obtained a scarce inspected Springfield M1882 (AKA M1872) Artillery Officer sword which was lumped into a lot of "6 US Swords" with no indication it was a Springfield.  I was able to get the whole lot for less than the value of this one sword.

 

I don't know if these poor description were the result of ignorance or carelessness on the part of the catalogers, but if I ever sell at auctions, I will want the catalog listing to make it crystal-clear to potential buyers exactly what is being offered.


Edited by reschenk, 12 November 2017 - 08:44 AM.


#7 jim_mi

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Posted 12 November 2017 - 10:04 AM

Lots of food for thought here... You guys have mentioned some factors that I had not considered, like a lack of expertise or interest at the auction house.
In the old days, I used Manions auction, and was pretty pleased with the results. But those were the days when I sold an Everitt for less than $200. I'll start doing some serious homework, and hope the sale day is a long way off.
Thanks, Jim

#8 Survival

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Posted 12 November 2017 - 10:39 AM

If you have a good idea of what they are worth try the Forum first.  No commission and you get to keep it all.  Don't forget to donate to keep the Forum going.  Otherwise E Bay them.  yourself.  Start with a few lesser examples or duplicates to get the feel of it.   I figure it costs around 15% between E Bay and Paypal fees.  



#9 jim_mi

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Posted 12 November 2017 - 11:08 AM

I've considered using the Forum, but these will generally be sold after my death. By my heirs. And I don't think they will have enough information or knowledge (or, frankly interest) to do any more than dispose of them. So a 20% to 30% charge for the sale would be well worth it as long as the seller can Market, identify, and value the knives appropriately.
Thanks

#10 TheMariner

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Posted 12 November 2017 - 12:28 PM

I have to disagree with auction houses selling things for under value! I am a regular at local auction and on sites such as liveauctioneers/invalueable, these sites are auction houses that put there auction online so they can also take bids online! I see items that I can't sell for $50 on ebay go for $100-$150 before commission in these auctions! SO you might want to look into auction houses or higher end dealer to sell them for you which can also go either way! 



#11 reschenk

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Posted 12 November 2017 - 01:51 PM

An option that hasn't been mentioned is consignment with a reputable dealer who deals in your type material. I've used this approach successfully a number of times.  The arrangement I've had with the dealer that I use is a 20/80 split.  I've found the return I've achieved through consignment is usually higher than what I could get through auctions/eBay, and much higher than by direct sale to a dealer.. The disadvantage is that it takes time.  If you have a hot item and set a reasonable price, it can sell quickly; but if it's a run-of-the-mill item, it can take a long time to move even it the price is reasonable.



#12 Bob Hudson

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Posted 12 November 2017 - 03:18 PM

these will generally be sold after my death. By my heirs. 
Thanks

 

Our heirs will love us all the more if we leave them cash. A large collection can really be a sink full of dirty dishes for families - lots of hard work -  unless you prearrange for a dealer/auction house/whatever to buy it or sell it with minimal effort on the part of the family. 



#13 usmce4

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Posted 12 November 2017 - 04:03 PM

Bob, you are 1000% right. 

    I owned a collectables (not military stuff) business for 26 years and I can't tell you how many times I had a relative or relatives of a deceased collector come in with a collection thrown in a cardboard box and dumped on my counter along with "Is this stuff worth anything?".  I'm not bragging, or honestly all that proud, of some of the things I bought from people like that (I believe in Karma) but if you're an idiot, don't expect to be treated like a genius when you sell that way.

    Based on my buying experiences, here is my advice: LEAVE SPECIFIC INSTRUCTIONS

    In my personal case, I've singled out the most intelligent of my heirs who has business sense and (he doesn't know it yet and he'll wind up cursing me for it) named him as executor of my estate with detailed instructions as to where and how to dispose of what.

    (I've not yet amended my will to include these wonderful MK2s I've been acquiring, so if I go south soon, they'll probably wind up at Goodwill)

jim_mi: I hope you'll heed this advice - maybe it will bring me some GOOD Karma :)

Art



#14 jim_mi

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Posted 12 November 2017 - 05:03 PM

Lots of good advice here. I guess I'll do some research and see what the auction houses look like. Then be sure that I have some sort of database with, at least, the more rare pieces in it.
I set up at gun and knife shows in Michigan for many years, but stopped a few years ago. Maybe I need to revisit those, selling the duplicates. That will lessen the burden on my victims, I mean heirs...
Thanks for all the info and advice, I really appreciate it.

#15 porterkids

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Posted 13 November 2017 - 12:00 PM

Rock Island Auctions, Cowans, James Julia, Poulin are a few that come to mind.  But as others have stated, they aren't interested in a bunch of "stuff".  Most will only be interested in the higher end items and if there is a bunch of misc, lower value items they will likely throw 10-15 pieces into a lot if they take them at all.  They also don't seem to have an in-depth knowledge of knives or bayonets and items can be misidentified and sold for way less that they're worth.  Good example of this is the Krag Cadet bayonet that was simply labeled as Krag bayonet that I picked up for $400, or $12,000 worth of M9 bayonets and BAR parts that went for $1400. 



#16 jim_mi

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Posted 15 November 2017 - 06:40 AM

Thanks, Porterkids,

That's certainly something to consider...
Jim

#17 bigkahunasix

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Posted 15 November 2017 - 09:38 PM

I'm a retired FFL and have been an appraiser for several auction houses in my area for the last 19 years. Researching everyone's stuff is my business...and business is pretty good.

 

I'm going to ask a favor of all you serious collectors.....CATALOG YOUR STUFF WITH DESCRIPTIONS AND VALUES AND UPDATE THE DAMN STUFF OCCASIONALLY.......And don't leave the only copy on your password protected computer where your executor can't get at it.

 

I am currently cataloging a collection that basically arrived at the office in trash cans and 5 gallon buckets with ZERO documentation, over 1300 items to sift through to list, research, value and then sell for a family that has no interest in anything other than the final check.

 

Tips-

 

Most auction houses will drop your percentage on larger collections....the local ones here start at 25% and come down as the volume grows.

 

Find an auction house that sells using hybrid auctions allowing internet and live bidding simultaneously. Vastly increases bidder participation. The old local only auctions are a losing proposition.

 

Advertising. advertising, advertising.....Color brochures, newspaper, website, FB if possible, collector publications, guns & military shows, mailers, email blasts, forums...You can never have enough advertising, create some buzz about their sales. If they aren't advertising then you aren't making money.

 

Check their past internet auctions on Auctionzip to see what items similar to our brought.

 

And lots more.

 

If you have questions then ask them here or PM me.  

 

BK6


Edited by bigkahunasix, 15 November 2017 - 09:38 PM.


#18 jim_mi

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Posted 16 November 2017 - 05:37 AM

Good advice Kahuna, thanks for your input.
I had the same experience when working for a local large chain sporting goods store. Many times, people requested evaluations on gun collections, bringing the guns into the store wrapped in blankets or moving pads, with no padding between them. I've seen very high-end guns considerably lowered in price by the trip between the home and my store. People just don't know what things are worth unless they are collector.

#19 USARV72

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Posted 16 November 2017 - 07:03 AM

Thank God our son and Grandsons are very interested in the collection. Dont think they will fight over any of it either. Lucky I guess.


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