All About Auctions: Part 1

June 6, 2021

Q: I’m doing my best to declutter for an eventual move. How do I know what’s valuable? Debra S., Millville

A: Professionals can help you determine the actual value of items like art or jewelry. For other possessions, like sporting equipment, small appliances, knickknacks, china, tools, furniture and the like, the market will determine the value. What is l someone willing to pay for it? Our auction items all start at $1. At the end of the auction – particularly in the last few hours – bidding can exceed even the owner’s wildest expectations. Other items – even those the owners think may be valuable – sometimes languish. Before deciding to hold an auction, be realistic; be prepared for some pleasant surprises and some disappointments. Remember, just like social media marketplaces, the market drives the price. 

Q: I see lots of ads for online auctions, but am uncertain whether some of my collectibles are worth trying to sell. How do online auctions work? Karen C., Lewes

A: An auction coordinator specialist can help you determine which of your items might be attractive to another family, collector, or reseller. If you decide an online auction is the right route for you, the specialist will take pictures of those items, post them to a website, and promote the auction to potential buyers. Auctions are usually “live” for a week or 10 days. At the end of the auction, the auction specialist will set a pickup day/time for buyers to come retrieve their treasures from your home with COVID precautions and appropriate security measures. The proceeds of the auction can offset moving costs, buy-in or rent at an assisted living community, and, in some cases, put money in your pocket!

Q: I have an old, unregistered car. Can I sell that at auction? Todd L., Rehoboth Beach

A: Yes, you can sell a car at an online auction. Do research before deciding to sell it at an estate sale or online auction. Look at its Kelley Blue Book value, and peruse the web and your local newspaper for the asking price of similar cars to ascertain its value. Cars sold at auction need not be registered, but must be loan-free and have a clear title.

Q: I’m afraid of online auctions because I don’t think my valuables will sell for as much as they’re worth. Is there any way to guarantee that I get top price? Sandy P., Milton

A: You’re not alone, Sandy. Most people think their treasures are worth more than the market thinks they’re worth. That’s because you love them. In truth, anything is only worth what someone else is willing to pay for it. The market goes through cycles; sometimes things are hot and sometimes they are not. What we see today may change in another month or two.




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