How to Sell Antiques and Collectibles for the Most Cash

By Robert W. Lewis
Hemera Technologies/PhotoObjects.net/Getty Images

If you are looking to sell your antiques and collectibles, you'll find that there are many ways you can sell them easily and quickly. However, if you want to sell them for the most cash possible, you'll have to do a little research. You'll have to learn as much as you can about your items and the best venue to sell them.

Step 1

Identify your items so you can accurately market them. Learn the age and origin of each item. Assess the condition of your items against those in the marketplace. There are many antiques and collectibles guide books that can help you identify many commonly available items. A visit to antiques and collectibles shows will provide you with the opportunity to ask questions to dealers of similar items.

Step 2

Research the value of your items. The Completed Listings section of eBay will show recent sales of similar items. Antiques and collectibles guides, especially specialty guides--for glassware or toys, for instance--are useful in this. When you visit shows, look at the prices of similar items, but remember that most dealers don't expect to get the full ticket price.

Step 3

Determine the price you can reasonably expect to get for your items. For most items, especially commonly-available collectibles, you shouldn't expect to get top dollar. Full retail prices are usually paid only by collectors buying from knowledgeable dealers. Remember that a dealer makes significant investments in time and money to find a buyer at full price. If an antique or collectible is especially fine or rare, you may be able to garner more cash for it.

Step 4

Use eBay or Craigslist to sell items that are common and relatively inexpensive. Auctions on eBay are easy to use, and with accurate descriptions and good pictures, they can attract a lot of interest in your items. You will pay a fee to use eBay. Craigslist is free to use and is good for selling larger and more valuable items. Craigslist gives you the opportunity to entertain good offers and decline unacceptable ones.

Step 5

Work with a local, high-end antique dealer to sell valuable or rare antiques. You'll pay a commission--about 25 to 40 percent--for his services, but he'll know how to market your piece and will have greater access to eligible buyers. Likewise, a local auction house can be useful in attracting interested parties. Auctioneers hold specialty sales--Asian art or modern design, for instance--that might be useful in selling rare and valuable items.

About the Author

Robert Lewis has been writing do-it-yourself and garden-related articles since 2000. He holds a B.A. in history from the University of Maryland and has training experience in finance, garden center retailing and teaching English as a second language. Lewis is an antiques dealer specializing in Chinese and Japanese export porcelain.