I work with collectors from all over the country. Many of the folks I meet tell me they just don't know how to compare auction and appraisal services. Do you choose the firm who offers the highest values when evaluating your items? Clearly, high values could simply be a tool for luring business. Do you go with the cheapest? Lower fees definitely do not mean highest return. What is the saying? You get what you pay for?
I always recommend that my potential sellers visit us for an auction, or - at the very least - check out our website before, during and after an auction. And then, I often give a list of other auction house options and encourage them to do the same with those companies.
Why? You can discern many differences between auction houses through first-hand auction experience:
quality of photographs, property descriptions and marketing - the key to attaining the highest price possible is providing thorough, accurate descriptions, professional high-quality photographs and sleek marketing that highlights the items being sold, not the auction house brand
industry partnerships - the most successful online bricks-and-mortar auction houses leverage international networks and utilize the biggest websites in the auction business
prices realized and sell-through rates - the ultimate measure of success is the amount of the check your client receives. One firm may charge slightly higher fees, but if they achieve far better prices, the net result will be positive for your client
customer service and overall buyer experience - buyers pay more when they are having a great time, trust the people from whom they buy and have a full-service experience
Check in with your potential auction partners before you need them. Take a spin around their websites - look for upcoming as well as past auctions. Check up - if you are in the same area, spend 30 minutes and visit a preview - note the cleanliness of the gallery, their merchandising efforts, and customer service. And check out - if you are feeling a little adventurous, make a purchase. Understand exactly what the buyer experience will be.
Garth's and Selkirk have auctions available for browsing (both upcoming and past) on our websites: garths.com and selkirkauctions.com. Take peek - and, please, take note of our efforts to provide the highest quality photography, descriptions and merchandising in the auction industry. Our industry partnerships include a premier partner agreement with industry giant, Ebay - a partnership only shared by 4 of our peers in all of the United States. We regularly achieve top prices across a wide range of categories, including fine and folk art, antique furniture and decorative arts, firearms, coins, silver, jewelry and all manner of bespoke collectibles. And, our customer service is legendary - a point of pride for our team, some of the most down-to-earth, hard-working professionals you have ever met.
Visit sites like invaluable.com or liveauctioneers.com to find other auction companies who do what we do, and visit their sites. Don't worry, many of us travel all over the country to work with sellers - so, don't limit yourself by geography. We welcome your feedback and hope to have an opportunity to work with you whenever the need arises.