All You Need to Know About Selling Jewellery at Auction
When it comes to selling valuable jewellery, there are various options available, and one possible avenue is selling through auctions. However, before diving into the auction process, it is crucial to be well-informed and prepared. In this blog, we will discuss how to sell jewellery at an auction and essential things you must know before selling jewellery at auction to ensure there are no unpleasant surprises.
Before choosing an auction house, conduct thorough research to identify reputable establishments with a track record of successful jewellery sales. Look for auction houses known for their expertise in jewellery. There are a significant number of auction houses that offer a jewellery selling service, but have no specialists to truly understand the value of a piece nor the clientele to sell to, so be careful to choose the right auction, as it could otherwise cost you dearly.
Auction houses will provide you with an auction ‘estimate,’ but be aware that this is what they hope the item will sell for, not always what they expect it to sell for. The key piece of information you should obtain and keep in mind when calculating the return you may receive on the sale of your item is the ‘Reserve price.’ This is the minimum amount they will let your item sell for, with the commission deducted from this figure. Items commonly do sell only for their ‘reserve price,’ so it is an important piece of information to consider and a figure you are happy to sell the item for if it comes to that. This reserve figure can be useful in providing you with a barometer of its value, should you want to compare the possibility of selling at auction and selling to either a jeweller or private individual.
Auction houses charge various fees and commissions, which can significantly impact the final amount you receive. Before you consign any items, make sure you understand these fees which often include listing fees, seller's commission, photography charges, marketing costs, and other administrative expenses. It is crucial to carefully review the auction house's terms and conditions to understand the financial implications and ensure you are comfortable with them. Some of these would also be payable if the item does not sell. It is often around 20 to 35% of the final price in charges for the sale of an item at auction.
Always clarify the timeline for the auction, how long it will be until the item is listed in an auction, along with confirmation of how long you will have to wait for settlement should the item sell at auction. Be prepared that from initial enquiry to potential payment, the process can be 3 to 6 months if it sells first time around, and even longer if it fails to sell.
Many customers are drawn in by the possibility of competitive bidding that can happen at auction when more than one person is interested in the piece of jewellery, which can drive up the price achieved. However, this often does not happen unless the piece is a particular collectable and rare to get hold of. Auction houses may overstate the tendency for this to happen to encourage an item to be consigned to them.
Once an item has been consigned, hopefully the item will sell. However, the sale of the item is no guarantee. You should be prepared for the possible scenario of the item not selling in the auction, which is usually down to the reserve not being met. On some occasions an item can sell, but if the purchaser doesn’t pay, your item will be returned to you unsold. If the funds are being relied upon, alternative selling options may be more suitable.
Auctions are public events, and the sale of your jewellery becomes a matter of public record. If privacy is a significant concern, an auction may not be the best choice for selling your jewellery.
There are many alternatives to selling jewellery at auction, including by private sales to family, friends or listing online for another member of the public to purchase or selling to a reputable dealer or jeweller.
Some of our recommendations when consigning an item at auction still apply if you are looking to sell to a jeweller, for example, doing research to ensure they have the expertise and market to be able to offer you the best price for your item. Also, consider the payment conditions, as some jewellers will purchase items outright on the day and others may want to sell the piece on your behalf, acting more like a broker so won't pay you until they have been paid.
Here at Hatton Jewels, our international reach selling pre-owned and antique jewellery means we give the best prices possible that would usually exceed an auction return after commissions and fees. Any prices we offer are not subject to any fees or charges, so the price we offer is the amount you get paid. By selling directly to us, you will receive the true value of your item and with same-day payment, our process removes the unpredictability and timeframes at auction. Privacy is also our priority, with our private showroom and highly experienced team.
Fill in our online selling form or send item details to us by email to firstname.lastname@example.org or by WhatsApp on 07930 997298 and we will provide you with a provisional offer. This service is completely free and there is no obligation to sell to us. The process can be as little as 24 hours from your first enquiry to payment for the item.