The Market Value of Old Things
We’re often asked about valuations vs market value on the prices we have on our stock, and the difference in values that help us to arrive at a sell price.
So here’s how it works:
We buy, sell and even trade estate jewellery. Some people have a lot of unwanted or even broken pieces they don’t want to keep or pass on to their children and so bring it to us to ‘get rid of it’. Through us they can turn their unwanted items into cash or get something else to replace it.
If we are going to resell what we buy in, then first we’ll appraise it for market-ability. Is it old, new, in good condition, needing repair etc. In some cases we’ll swap the stones in a ring, because the settings lovely but the main stone is either out of fashion or just not working. For example a beautiful setting featuring a very dark sapphire might look completely different with a light blue, green, or yellow sapphire, so we’ll make the call on such changes in order to maximise our ability to on-sell the item.
If an item of jewellery is of a perceived (by us) reasonable price range – usually over $1000 sell price – then we’ll get it valued by a highly reputable, licensed valuer. We’re very careful about such things and who we work with for this because our reputation is of extremely high importance to us and in this business it really needs to be.
The valuation price that a piece of jewellery may end up having is indicative only of the market value we may set for sale of that item. The reason for this is that the purpose of a valuation is mostly for Insurance. If you lost an item of jewellery, what might it cost you to have exactly that same item replaced given the stones, metals, etc.
We sell well below the valuation of the jewellery we have to offer because we know that the valuation is only a guideline to value. Mostly we look at the item, consider the style and potential sale-ability of it and then decide on a price. It may end up being 20-40% of what it’s valued for replacement value purposes. But ultimately we’re interested in seeing our stock go to new homes and be appreciated.
When it comes to other items such as silver, works of art, collectables etc, we work on the perceived value based on what others around the world are selling for. For this we have to often do a lot of research on high-value items, and sometimes we simply have to work on guess-timate! Either way, this is a business where the prices of manufacture do not play into our guidelines for pricing as the items we sell are usually very old, and/or rare.
Collectors will pay what they will pay based on their perception of value – not because someone in head office dictates that $x is the global price. We’re not Apple, and we’re not standard in any area of our business. It’s a highly speculative thing to know if you are paying too much or too little when you are working with Antiques and Collectables.
But at the end of the day, that’s the fun of this industry.