What's the best way to sell antique jewelry (NOT ebay)
November 18, 2006 10:05 AM   Subscribe

I currently live in Utah, and my mother is sending me my great-grandmother's jewelry for me to sell as a way to help subsidize my move to California. I've sold contemporary jewelry in pawn shops before, but I think that with these pieces being from the 20s, I should be able to get more than "weight of gold"....what is the best way to go about selling these?

FWIW, I live in Ogden, Utah. I don't know if I would be better off going into a jewelry store, finding an auction appraiser-type person or WHAT, so ANY help would be GREATLY appreciated. I don't expect I'll make a HUGE amount out of this, but I do want to make as much as I CAN
posted by polexxia to Grab Bag (7 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
My wife says the important phrase is "estate jewelry". There are specialists who will know if they are worth more as antiques or collectibles. Jewelers or auctioneers who deal with jewelry could help with this, but make an appointment. Holiday season is here and the jewelers are busy selling.
posted by dragonsi55 at 11:24 AM on November 18, 2006

Do you have any flexibility on the timing of this; in other words, can you wait until you move? Depending on where in CA you end up, your hoard might very well fetch higher prices there — and you might well have more choices for disposal. (For example, the Amer. Society of Appraisers finder service yields no results for Utah.)
posted by rob511 at 11:49 AM on November 18, 2006

Oh, and for record-keeping/peace of mind purposes, I'd have photos taken of everything. That way, you can get long-distance appraisals and can demonstrate proof of ownership, in case anybody tries to pull anything.
posted by rob511 at 12:02 PM on November 18, 2006

Just a note of reserve, once you sell such family heirlooms, they're gone forever. As a historian and genealogist, I'd advise looking for another source of income rather than selling jewelry passed down through three generations of the family.

Course, its your family, but be sure that it won't be something you or your children will regret years later.

Lastly, if you are intent on selling, do document the pieces of jewelry, if at the least, your children can see what the family had at least.
posted by Atreides at 7:06 PM on November 18, 2006

A quality appraisor should be able to give you an idea of worth and charge you one fee for estimating the whole lot. Then contacting an auction house to guage their interest might be in order so that you have an idea what they also think it will sell for.

A pawnbroker or similar is going to undercut you no matter what the value of them. That should be the option of last resort.
posted by Kickstart70 at 8:19 PM on November 18, 2006

A prime rule of estate goods liquidation: Never sell to your appraiser. Have your items documented and then appraised. An honest appraiser will give you a written appraisal rather than a verbal. Then find a good auction house to consign your jewelry to.

You can email me if you'd like references for two in Southern CA.
posted by X4ster at 11:33 PM on November 18, 2006

Response by poster: Thanks for the suggestions. I MAY be able to hold off till I do the move, or have someone do it for me that is already IN LA.

As far as family heirlooms, I am the end of the line. No kids and an only child--my mother's stance is that these things should be used to help improve MY life rather than just sitting around in a box.
posted by polexxia at 1:20 AM on November 19, 2006

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