Very often your local auction house will be the best and most convenient venue for selling your items.
Obviously, they will try to sell them for the maximum price; it’s in their best interest and yours.
But here’s a reasonable question –
Supposing that’s only the maximum amount in that neck of the woods? It may be achieve a record price in the East Riding, but would you be better to try in London? That can be a difficult decision; often it’s not worth the cost and the inconvenience.
Obviously the auctioneer will give you his best advice, and doubtless he will tell you if he thinks your commode should really be offered to a World audience . . . But he is human, and with the best will in the world, there comes a point where he is in competition with the, er, international set.
Let’s be realistic – it is possible that Bonhams won’t be seriously dismayed if you place your Singer Sewing Machine with your local auctioneer; and equally the latter will forgive you if you trundle your Fabergé along to Sotheby’s.
But supposing it’s something middle market? An unknown quantity, but possibly worth many thousands? Something where you have a feeling that it might be rather valuable? Perhaps you have an old insurance valuation or serious anecdotal evidence which suggest that there may be more to your item than is immediately apparent. And – curses! – Antiques Roadshow was in town last year. . .
Luckily, there are people who are completely independent valuers.
Here’s a selection:
Andrew Colvin www.colvinart.co.uk
The Chester Valuation Co. www.chestervaluation.co.uk
Coram James Ltd www.coramjames.com
David F Hall www.davidfhall.co.uk
Gurr Johns www.gurrjohns.com
John Cameron Associates www.johncameron.co.uk
L & J Gull Fine Arts Ltd www.landjgull.co.uk
Mark Medcalf Associates www.markmedcalfassociates.co.uk
Omell Associates www.omellassociates.co.uk
Pall Mall Art Advisors www.pallmallartadvisors.com
Quastel Associates Ltd www.quastelassociates.com
Tim Ritchie & Associates Ltd www.fineartconsultants.co.uk
Webb Valuations Fine Art Ltd www.webbvaluations.com