We are often offered estate items accompanied by written appraisals.
Many folks feel that the appraised value is the price they should receive for
the item(s). Some deduct ten percent or so, feeling that should be enough
profit margin for the dealer. Maybe so, but since we sell at about half of
appraised value, the fallacy of that thought becomes quite apparent. We
hope the following information (portions used with permission and by courtesy
of Charterhouse Co.) will prove helpful in your selling decisions. We have
included a few of our recent purchases.
is a written record of the identity, design, quality and value of an article.
You probably have an appraisal on jewelry or objects of art that was
requested by your insurance company.
identification and description of the items in such appraisals are often
helpful in selling, but the evaluation is not.
An appraised value for insurance is an estimate of the retail replacement
price. It covers the cost of making or obtaining an exact duplicate of your item,
including the wholesaler's and retailer's profits.
An appraised value is not the amount you would receive if you sold the item.
In fact, an insurance value is usually significantly higher than the actual
cash value. In many cases, it is quite a bit higher than the retail price you
paid. Ever wonder about the ads that guarantee a piece of jewelry to appraise
at least twice the price paid?
Appraisals frequently ignore the condition, age and, most importantly, the
marketability of the items. If the dealer can't readily sell it, he/she is not
going to pay much for it.
It is a jewelry industry policy to appraise nearly every item at its
duplication cost. This assures the customer that the item can be replaced if
ever lost or stolen.
practice, however, doesn't usually take into account that jewelry styles
change and items wear from use. In other words, it tends to ignore the fact
that jewelry can depreciate, and often does.
Jewelry is made of silver, gold or platinum and is usually set with precious
stones. These components will always have some value, but frequently the piece
of jewelry which contains them has gone out of fashion or has limited appeal;
thus reducing the selling price.
Few people question the appraiser when he/she appraises older jewelry at the
price of new. Many people are surprised at the high value, but who argues with
sudden riches? They knew that the items had cost considerably less and thought
the values exaggerated.
High Appraisals from
the Early 1980's
gold, silver and diamonds
were at record highs in 1980. If your appraisal is dated about that time, the
values may be significantly inflated by today's standard.
Antique and Period Jewelry is Worth
design of your item falls into the classifications of antique or period
jewelry, then it could be worth more than when originally purchased.
of Price is Critical
The price we pay
depends on objectively determined factors: quality, size, rarity and
marketability of the item. In other words: if we can sell it, we'll probably
buy it. Not every item of jewelry can be sold; some pieces are so worn, have
limited appeal, or are just so undesirable that they're only bought for
If an appraisal
has imparted an unrealistic idea of value, a customer will never sell. No one
will be able to meet his or her expectation. On the other hand, we buy nearly
everything that is offered to us by people who have a correct understanding of
the value of their items.