old coin

When establishing a value on an item, a savvy owner will always consider the condition, location, definition of value and market before providing a price. Neglecting these factors can lead to an incorrect price that an educated buyer wouldn’t pay for whatever you are trying to sell. 

In September we were asked to do an educational appraisal seminar during Gila County Historical Museum’s Old Dominion Days as a fundraiser and community food drive. Forty people from Miami and Globe participated in the event. 

The art, jewelry, vases, baskets, lamps, pottery, books, dolls and other items brought by 22 selected participants were used to teach our first lesson: condition matters greatly in price.  

If the item has nicks, scratches, chips, repairs, is faded, water-damaged, frayed, rusted, missing parts, or is broken, it has minimal value with almost no buyers. Most of the items that were to be valued had conditional issues ranging from minor to major. The first lesson of the day was just because something is old and worn, doesn’t make it valuable. 

Lessons two and three were that location and market are important. If you have never traveled to the Globe area, you might not know that it is a historic mining town with historic buildings from that era. Globe residents who enjoy the trappings of vintage and antique items like antique miner’s lamps or local well-known former resident Governor Rose Mofford’s autographed Christmas ornament, will have greater interest in these items in this location as opposed to buyers in New York or Los Angeles. The further away from Globe these items get, the less value they maintain. 

Most sellers are familiar with eBay and use information from sites such these to attempt to find a value. But novices frequently base their desired values on an asking price as opposed to a sold price, which can vary widely. The sold number is the cost and is considered to be at “orderly liquidation value,” the number that a seller might use to sell the item.  If the seller owned a shop and was looking for a higher value, it would be necessary to add the additional expenses such as shipping, insurance and commissions, for “fair market value.” Of course, the most recent sales must be considered as your comparable to establish a selling cost based on location for a price that could be used for a shop. For example, the autographed Christmas ornament that would cost $10 in Globe would likely command less than $1 in Los Angeles.  

Additionally, “road show” values had to be debunked. Such values given are not useable and are also misleading because they are auction estimates. It’s entertainment with a splash of drama. National auction houses such as Heritage have disclaimers on their sites stating, “the auction estimates cannot be used as an appraisal number as they are estimates based on a range what the auction house believes the object might bring.” The moral here is to enjoy the show but ignore the estimated value. 

— Do you have an appraisal question?

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