How to Sell an Item at Sotheby's

By eHow Hobbies, Games & Toys Editor

Do you have a rare item that you would like to sell at a famed auction house such as Sotheby's? Founded in 1724, Sotheby's is one of the world's largest and widely respected auction houses in the world. Here's how to get them to evaluate your item and hopefully put it up for sale.

Watch "Antiques Roadshow" or "Cash in the Attic" to learn about antiques and which belongings may have value.

Get an independent appraisal first. This is a hands-on look at your item by an expert in that area. The expert can give his or her opinion of the item's worth and put it in writing.

Contact Sotheby's in New York with general inquiries about your piece to sell. The phone number is (212) 606-7010. Visit Sothebys website to be connected to a specialist who relates to your property to sell.

Arrange for a consultation of your piece in person. You can bring the item to one of Sotheby's galleries, where a specialist can give you an estimate of the value and possible sales price.

Have your piece evaluated by mail using photos of your item if you are unable to get to Sotheby's. Go to the Sotheby's website at sothebys.com and get an estimate request form to mail in.

Decide with your Sotheby's representative whether the item has the potential to sell at auction.

Look over the contract carefully and make sure you understand it before you sign it. Have the representative explain the reserve price (the lowest price) as well as their commission, which is a deduction from the final hammer price. Weigh the costs along with your item's potential to fetch a good price.