How to Sell Antiques

SPIDERS, TEA CADDIES & LOTS OF MONEY… Box lot of Tin ware turns into a valuable shiny treasure

April 21st, 2011 by

Contributed by – a membership-based service specializing in providing identification & appraisal advice on antiques & collectibles.

Tricia Evans could not wait to get home and rummage through the box-lot she had just won at her local auction in Boston.  It looked like a bunch of old tins and empty metal containers, but she had a good feeling about it.  After all, this is what’s it’s all about when it comes to treasure hunting and she had only paid $40 for the lot  –  what could go wrong?

Somewhere near the bottom, she quickly noticed a heavily tarnished metal box in the shape of an almost perfect cube with a hinged top lid.  ‘That’s odd’ she muttered, ‘what a weird shape for a tin box’.  She took it out and opened the lid.  She is not sure if she screamed because of that huge dead spider – or what was left of it as it was barely hanging from a dusty tattered cobweb – or her excitement from seeing the shiny interior lining of this box and recognizing that it was a Tea Caddy.  She had seen others before, but this shape was certainly news to her.

After the initial shock and with her heartbeat still racing, she spent a good portion of the next two hours cleaning and restoring the appearance of her mystery find and examined it carefully to see if there were any makers marks or Hallmarks.  From years of experience of enjoying and dealing with antiques & collectibles, Tricia knew that these marks have a way of speaking to you and can provide lots of information.

With loupe in hand, she finally noticed three tiny punch marks.  They looked British – oh! wait, perhaps French – she couldn’t tell for sure.  Her personal library has about six reference books on silver marks that she had bought for some serious money several years ago, but they seemed too difficult to use these days and she wanted fast and accurate information.  Where do you begin?  At the British section?  The French section?  Maybe these marks are American after all?  Is it Sterling or Silverplate?  How old?  Any value?

Tricia is a member of an online marks identification & appraisal service,  She quickly entered her password and begun her quest for more information.  It soon became obvious that these marks are neither British nor French and definitely not American.  She used the Gallery Search feature that displays all marks in shapes or letter categories and found two of the marks on her Tea Caddy, but the third looked like a small fish or dolphin – it just didn’t add up…

As a member, she knew that she could ask the specialists on the site at no extra charge.  It is part of’s Help Guarantee feature that allows members to send questions if they cannot find a mark or have doubts.  Before she knew it, she received a reply:  her Tea Caddy was Sterling Silver and was made by DINGELDEIN GEBRUDER in Hanau, Germany.  It dates ca late 19thC and the marks she could see were “pseudomarks”, in common use by Silversmiths in that region.  Tricia was elated!

She then clicked on the Values4Antiques section and searched for “Silver Tea Caddy”.  Images of hundreds of auction records on Tea Caddies popped up and she could select the ones that looked like hers and then view them in more detail.  Tricia relished the thought that she may have stumbled upon a true treasure this time and, more importantly, she now had a fair estimate of what she can expect to sell it at auction.  She contacted her local auction house again and consigned it for sale.

Next Sunday, her Sterling Silver Tea Caddy sold for just under $1,500.






Happy Birthday To Us!

February 3rd, 2011 by turned a year on Feb 1st 2011!  Thanks to all of our vendors for helping us to build our site into one of the best antiques sites on the web!  We’ve had more than 15oo dealers join in the fun so far, and we’re always looking for more.  We’re excited to offer over 80,000 items for sale on, but that number increases every day as more and more vendors sign up to be a part of our growing family.

To all of the people that visit looking for the perfect gift, trying to spruce up their home with a beautiful antique, or simply out of curiosity, thank you for coming!

And for everyone, vendors and antique aficionados alike, we’ve recently added a few features to our home page that we think you’ll enjoy!

– First, check out the Deal Of The Day – Each day we’ll offer a new deal from a vendor that is eager to give you a beautiful antique for a steal!

– Next, feast your eyes on the Cool Antique Of The Week – Each week we’ll show you something interesting from the site that is available to be purchased and fawned over by it’s new owner!

– And finally, have some fun with What Is This Antique? – Each week we’ll choose a new and interesting, if not a bit obscure, antique to feature for this game.  Take a guess, or several guesses, at what you think it is, and then each Monday we’ll publish the list of guesses submitted by everyone, along with the actual name and description of the antique. strives to offer a wide variety of beautiful and interesting antiques, collectibles, and fine art pieces.  We’re looking forward to another stellar year where we add to our already impressive list of vendors and push our inventory to over 100,000 items!  So Happy Birthday To Us!  We’re looking forward to another fantastic year!

Selling Your Antiques

August 30th, 2010 by

There are a few common reasons why people choose to sell antiques. Each reason comes with its own set of solutions.

Scenario 1:

You’re a collector and you like to cull your collection now and then. This keeps the process interesting and keeps excess clutter from taking over your life.

Details: You know what your items are worth. After all, you’ve been collecting these gizmos for years and you have an eye for provenance.


Your sources may function as outlets. If you spend a lot of time at the model train store talking to the proprietor, find out if he or she will make you an offer. This kind of transaction builds bonds with other collectors, legitimizes the enterprise (whatever it happens to be), and keeps our weird little communities strong. You may also find a fair price here, not to mention a good home for your lovables.

Find an online or print community resource, and see if the publishers will let you post an ad.

Find an online auction site that specializes in your items.

Try to avoid generic outlets like pawn shops or flea markets where buyer knowledge may be broad but not deep. If you have something special, knowledgeable buyers may line up for it, while outsiders may have to be convinced of its worth. For better offers, find the former.

Scenario 2:

You’ve just inherited something, or you’re emptying the house of a relative who’s moving or downsizing, and you’re surrounded by items (tin toys, china plates) that you don’t want but suspect are valuable.

Details: You have no idea what these items are worth. You also may be pressed for time.


Find antiques shops and dealers in your area who can come to your location, view the items, and make you an offer. An additional benefit: Whoever buys the items will also haul them away.

An auction in the home may be an option. Find a dealer who will come to you. The dealer will take a percentage of the proceeds, so if you organize and advertise the sale yourself, you might save money. But you may lose, too—Dealers have contacts among specific antiques communities, whereas the audience you draw on your own may be too general to appreciate the value of your items.

Scenario 3:

You have an item, and you would like to take it somewhere, leave it behind, and walk away with money. An episode of Antiques Roadshow has you eyeing the pottery bowl in your cabinet that has no sentimental value to you, and if you can find that mysterious “auction” those appraisers are always talking about, you’d like to dump the bowl and collect your millions.


First, don’t rush. What your item is worth today it will be worth tomorrow. If you really do have a treasure on your hands, get several appraisals from reliable dealers before you commit to selling. Then:

Research antiques auctions taking place in your area and find out how to get your item on the block. (This site is an excellent resource.)

Museums may also have an interest in your piece. Make some calls and find out.

By Erin Sweeney


New Year, New Business – by Rosemary Trietsch

January 7th, 2010 by

E_antique_sign   Many people pick January 1st as the day to open their new online Antiques business. Unfortunately, more than half of them close this same business before June rolls around, citing no sales or high expenses as the reasons. Somehow the “I’m going to make a million dollars in 3 months on the internet” mentality is still alive and well.

But the real reason these businesses fail is because the owners didn’t do their homework before they opened shop, and then they stopped doing any work once they did. You wouldn’t open a brick and mortar store and work one day a month and expect to make money, so why approach a cyber store with the same attitude? Online businesses will work if you work them. Here’s a few hints to make yours a success.

Know your merchandise. Don’t sell glass if you’re a furniture expert. Play to your strengths. Decide what you’d like to specialize in, then get every book you can find on the subject and study! Educate yourself about the history of your items, the selling prices, reproductions that may be out there, and how condition affects price & desirability. Successful online Antiques businesses are run by people who know about their wares and are always looking to learn more.

Know your venue. Like brick and mortar stores, online Antiques malls have  reputations and established clientele. Before you open your site, check out what’s being sold by other dealers in that online mall. Your Victorian mantle lustres will be ignored on a site where comic books and vintage toys are the hot items. You should also check the ‘about us’ section of the site to learn how long they’ve been around, who owns them, how many dealers they have, etc. Finally, ask the dealers who sell the type of items you’re looking to sell if they’ve had good results.

Advertise. Once you open your site, make your presence known. Take advantage of advertising available within the mall such as mailing lists, bulletin boards, press releases, and paid feature ads.  Submit your site to every search engine you can think of, and buy keyword advertising. Join online fan groups, study groups, and chat boards that feature your type of merchandise, then get your site listed – even if you have to PAY to be added to their list. Don’t nickel and dime your online business to death. You have to spend money to make money.

Commit to your business. If you open your online antique business with the attitude, “I’m going to give this 6 months and if I haven’t made money, then I’m out,” then don’t bother opening at all. You wouldn’t put such limitations on a brick and mortar store, so why do it to your cyber store? Every antique store – whether cyber or tangible –requires hard work, dedication, and perseverance. If you commit to doing whatever it takes to make your business a success, then you will succeed.