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Taking your antiques to auction: Everything you need to know about getting the best price for your heirlooms

PUBLISHED: 14:27 28 July 2020

Book a valuation to learn the worth of vintage items of jewellery and family heirlooms. Picture: Getty Images

Book a valuation to learn the worth of vintage items of jewellery and family heirlooms. Picture: Getty Images

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Oliver Miller, managing director of Suffolk’s Bishop and Miller Auctions, explains all you need to know about taking your antiques to auction and what steps you can take to ensure you get the best price for your items.

Antique clocks, pocket watches, coin collections, books and manuscripts are all items you can take to auction. Picture: Getty ImagesAntique clocks, pocket watches, coin collections, books and manuscripts are all items you can take to auction. Picture: Getty Images

Q: Why should I consider selling my antiques via a specialist auction house?

A: We’ll help you find the right buyer, market your items correctly and make sure you understand the worth of the items you want to sell. We hold specialist auctions where we feature collections and items that we know will interest the audience.

We ensure your item is correctly catalogued and beautifully photographed with the right information. This is key to helping you get the best price.

Opting to sell your items online privately can cause you to overprice or undersell your possessions. If you don’t have the best images or have chosen a generic place to sell your items, this could harm your chances of a sale.

In October 2020 Bishop and Miller will hold The Collector auction that will feature fine and early works of art. Picture: Bishop and Miller AuctionsIn October 2020 Bishop and Miller will hold The Collector auction that will feature fine and early works of art. Picture: Bishop and Miller Auctions

Q: What items can I sell?

A: We offer a variety of specialist auctions. This ensures a large and more focused crowd of buyers for your items and in turn will increase the amount you can get for them. This is just a small flavour of what we do - jewellery, coins, fine art, furniture, military collections, medals, toys, ceramics and the list goes on.

Q: How can I find out what my items are worth and should I have them valued before sale?

A: We offer a free valuation service for any item that’s brought into the saleroom. If you have several items you’re looking to sell or a collection of home contents, you can arrange for one of our valuers to visit your home.

I’d always recommend speaking to an expert at Bishop and Miller before putting your item up for sale. This way you can learn your item’s history and its true worth. This will help you make an informed decision whether it is worth selling it now or holding onto it for a few more years.

Q: How can I care for my antiques to ensure they are in the best condition?

A: It can be tempting to try to ‘clean-up’ or repair items before selling them. However, using the wrong materials can damage your items or devalue them. We can advise how to care for and restore your items to prevent this from happening.

Q: Can you help me reach more potential buyers?

A: Through our online auctions, we have access to a global market. Since lockdown began, we’ve hosted five online auctions, and each has been a magnificent success. People can log in and bid on items from the comfort of their home.

It’s been ideal while social distancing measures are in place, and thanks to the fantastic results we’ve seen and the opportunity it can offer our sellers, we plan to host more.

Q: What happens next if I choose to sell my items at auction?

A: Before the auction, we’ll catalogue your items and advertise them online and in our brochure. Two weeks before the sale, we’ll send you your lot number. You can then log in to the auction if you wish. Once your item has sold, we will then pay the money into your bank account.

Q: How can I arrange for my items to be featured in one of the auctions?

A: Book your free valuation and bring your items to us or you can arrange for us to visit your home. We have sanitiser, gloves and masks and are happy to view the items in the home or garden - whatever you’re most comfortable with.

We’ll then take care of everything else and do all we can to make the selling process as easy as possible and help you get the best deal for your items.

Visit bishopandmillerauctions.co.uk for more information.

Call 01449 673088 to book your free valuation.

Bishop and Miller’s next auction ‘The Collector’ will feature early works of art and furniture and will take place on October 15 2020.


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