Preparing your items for auction

When people bring their items to an auctioneer most of them make sure those items are clean and ready to sell. However, you would be surprised at the number of people who bring their merchandise right out of the attic or basement or barn without bothering to even wipe off the dust. Some items, such as primitives, might sell better with a little dust or dirt on them, but most people want to buy items that are clean. Many auctioneers do not have the time to clean your items for you.

A lady once brought me a trunk load of boxes of items. Among those boxes was one filled with dishes covered in dirt and mouse droppings. Did she really expect anyone to be interested in buying those dishes? Would she have bought a box of dishes littered with mouse droppings? I doubt it.

I know many auctioneers. I know of only one who will shine tarnished silverplate. The rest stack the tarnished silverplate and sell the whole stack. Clean and shiny always sells better than dirty and tarnished. Shine your silver before taking it to an auctioneer.

I was at an auction once where a very nice car was being sold. I opened the door and saw that the floor mats were dirty, the dash was covered with dust, and the car needed a good cleaning. I asked the auctioneer about it, and he said the family refused to have the car detailed before the auction. It cost them far more than the cost of detailing would have cost.

Auctioneers work very hard to get their consignors top price for their items, but in order to do that these items need to be clean and ready to be offered to the public. Because many auctioneers do this part-time they simply do not have the time to clean your items for you. Even the full-time auctioneers struggle finding the time to clean items and make sure mechanical ones function properly. This is the responsibility of the seller, not the auctioneer. Make sure your lamps have light bulbs so they can be turned on, or don’t complain when you get a dollar apiece for your lamps. Make sure there’s a little gas in the tank in your lawn mower or weed eater so it can be started or don’t complain if it only brings a couple of dollars. People pay more when the items are clean and they can see that they operate.

This brings up another important point. Don’t take items in to sell that you know doesn’t work. It’s a waste of your time and that of the auctioneer to sell something that doesn’t operate. Take your broken junk to the dump and save everyone a lot of time and trouble.

Presenting quality, clean, working items for sale is a sure way to have a smile on your face when you receive your settlement check.



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