Is the Internet Killing Storage Auctions?

Add to the growing list of industries that the up-and-coming generation seems to be killing off: antiques and collectibles. The Collectibles Market Is Not What It Used to Be. The digital revolution has taken away the joy of the hunt. Or has it?

The fact that we now have convenience does not make us less inclined to explore, browse, and discover items we didn’t know we wanted. Antiquing, flea market browsing, yard sale shopping, and attending auctions have always been hobbies for a devoted niche of people. The items in demand and the formats of sales may change, but the thrill and the sales remain.

Used Goods and Online Resale Markets Thriving

In terms of buying antiques and collectibles as investments, any hedge fund manager will tell you that investments always carry risk. Collectibles are no exception, and you’ve got to be careful about buying items solely for the purpose of selling them later. The resale market is always changing as supply and demand fluctuate.

While many people who hoarded Beanie Babies are now disappointed by their actual value, the used goods market in the United States is a growing $20 billion industry. That’s not even counting the online resale market, of which the fashion sector alone grew 82% between 2013-2016.

But those are general goods, not big-ticket items like authentic antique furniture, right? Not necessarily. There’s a thriving online niche for antique buying and selling.

The Internet Hasn’t Killed Browsing

Not only do Americans love a good deal, but the younger generation also loves a good hunt. They wear, as the Thrift Shop song proudly proclaims, their granddad’s clothes. They shop in brick-and-mortar stores, from low-cost giants like Goodwill to higher-end boutique consignment shops to local nonprofits. It’s true that users can find specific items with the search function on sites like eBay and Etsy, but they also browse categories and wander through algorithm-generated lists of similar items.

At StorageTreasures, we’re believers in online auctions self storage auctions. We make browsing online for units easy and worth your time.

How to Appraise Your Self Storage Auction Finds

Appraisal of antique and various items found in a self-storage auction can be daunting which is why you need to carry out diligent research to get an adequate knowledge of the value. An antique could be worth a lot of money, however, to value the item, you need to know ways to appraise all your finds.

 

A Verbal Appraisal.
You can get a free appraisal at some auction houses. Many times antique and auction houses offer free verbal appraisals on special dates. To know when an auction house or appraisal service offer such events, you can perform an internet search for the name of your city together with tags such as “appraisal day,” or “valuation day”,. Another way you can get a free verbal appraisal is to bring auction finds to a major local antique fair, thrift store or pawn shop. A lot of them usually have an appraiser allowing ticket-holding visitors to get free verbal appraisals. However, they may limit the number of items you are allowed to have appraised for free.

 

A Professional Appraisal
This is another way to get an appraisal for your items, should you be in possession of an item which you believe to be very valuable. You can employ the service of a professional appraiser who will issue a written estimate of your item. A professional appraiser is the best place to get an accurate price for your items. There are appraisers whose field is limited to a specific category such as artworks, vintage collections, etc. Additionally, you should note that a written appraisal generally will charge upwards of $150 or more per hour.

 

Online research for the Value
In the digital age, it is pretty easy to get a general idea of the value of an item by making use of the internet. Here are just a few ways you can research the value of your items online…

  • Check the labeling; this is used to identify the object, from the label you can get helpful information such as the manufacturer, year of manufacture, etc.
  • Search for the item online; using an online marketplace like eBay, Amazon, Bonanza. You can also make use of online pricing resources such as invaluable.com. You can make use of the advanced search features to narrow down your search using terms like “completed sales” to get the actual retail price of the item.
  • Take a picture and post your item to appropriate groups on Facebook, Reddit and/or Quora.

 

Once you settle on a price for the items won in your self-storage auction you can decide on the ways you would like to sell them.