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Tips for Selling Gold

When the price of gold goes up, gold fever often ensues and people jump to sell their gold jewelry or coins. However they may not always be getting the best deal. The American Society of Appraisers offers advice to consumers who want to know how and when to sell their gold jewelry.

The first step is to look for an appraiser or dealer who advertises that they buy gold.
Then make sure they are licensed. States have licensing boards that regulate the industry.
Shop around. Go to a few places and let them assess your gold; then ask them how much they’ll pay per gram. Twenty-four carat gold is worth the most and the price goes down from there as the carats do.
Make sure that selling the gold by weight is the best option for the items you have. The safest bet is to sell gold jewelry that is broken or is an unmatched set. Then you can be sure that the pieces don’t have much value as jewelry. Be careful about selling antique pieces, pieces with gems embedded or pieces from a well-known designer. If you have a piece of Tiffany jewelry, for instance, it is probably worth more as is than it would be if it were melted down. Also, if you have pieces with gems or antique pieces and you are unsure of the value, it is best to go to an independent appraiser skilled in period jewelry and have them look it over first and advise you.
People who have gold coins should also be wary of selling them by the gram. They may be worth more when sold as is to a collector.
Beware of cold-call solicitations when you are considering selling your gold, and of mobile offices set up in temporary locations. Make sure you are dealing with a reputable outfit.
“It is easy to check the current retail value of gold at www.kitco.com,” said Martin Fuller, an Accredited Senior Appraiser and Master Gemologist AppraiserÒ based in McLean, Va. “But it is also important to know that no one will pay the current top dollar for gold, because that would leave no room for profitable resale,” Fuller added. “Expect to receive a percentage less than the current top price.”

Choose an accredited appraiser with professional credentials. If you are looking for a jewelry appraiser, choose an appraiser who is an accredited member of a nationally recognized appraisal organization, such as the American Society of Appraisers, as well as a Graduate Gemologist of the Gemological Institute of America (GIA) or the Gemmological Association of Great Britain (FGA). Ask about an appraiser’s credentials and make sure they are still active. The appraisal should be done for a set fee, not for a percentage of the value of the property—that’s unethical.

To learn more about caring for valuables or to find an appraiser near you, log on to www.appraisers.org/consumers.
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Tips for Selling Art, Antiques, and Collectibles

For people who find themselves cleaning out their attics or dealing with selling items in an estate and are wondering what the items are worth and how they should go about selling them, the American Society of Appraisers offers advice.

Many people own or have inherited things that they don’t want or need, but they don’t know what the items are worth, so they don’t know how they should go about selling them and what they should expect to receive for them. There are a range of places to sell items from auction houses to yard sales, consignment shops, to on-line sites.  However, the fear that people have is that they will sell something cheaply that was actually much more valuable.

Many people have items in their home with values they are unsure of, or they are responsible for dealing with the contents of a relative’s home after that person dies. One way to get an idea if any of any items are valuable is to hire an appraiser to act as a consultant.  Many appraisers will do a walk-through at a client’s home, and for a consulting fee will advise people about which things might be valuable, do research to learn more about the items or their values,  and offer suggestions as to the best place to sell the items. This service is not the same as an appraisal of the items.

People who are ready to sell antiques, collectibles or artwork have a number of options including:

  • High end regional and national auction houses.  This is for very valuable collectible items, antiques, or art work. The auction house will charge a percentage of the sale price plus the costs associated with the auction and auction catalogue (i.e. insurance, photography).
  • Antiques dealers.  Antiques dealers will either buy the property from you outright and then resell it, or they will sell it for you in their shop and take a percentage of the sale price.  When selling to an antiques dealer, it is a good idea to have an appraisal of the item, or have a good idea of its value so you ensure that you are being properly compensated.  Be sure to get a consignment agreement that protects your ownership and sets up the date by which you must be paid after the sale.
  • Local auctions.  Local auction houses will include your item in scheduled auctions that include items of similar type which are grouped together for sale.  These items are often offered in a catalogue often posted on-line.  The auction house will charge a percentage of the fetched sale value price.  Be sure and check to see if they may have other fees as well.
  • Local weekly auctions.  Local auction houses also hold regular catch-all auctions that sell a variety of items which are normally less valuable than items included in the catalogue and on-line auctions.
  • Consignment shop.  Consignment shops will sell your items, but usually for a relatively high percentage of the sale price and if things don’t sell quickly they normally lower the price of the item to help it sell.  Again, be sure to get a consignment agreement that protects your ownership and sets up the date by which you must be paid after the sale.

Other options for selling items are include on-line sites like EBay and Craig’s List, and at yard sales and at flea market stands.  These methods may include lower fees and overhead, but you are doing most of the work yourself.

If consumers feel they have items that might be valuable, they should consult an appraiser.  When hiring an appraiser, hire only accredited appraisers from an established national organization like the American Society of Appraisers. Those appraisers abide by a code of ethics and the Uniform Standards of Professional Appraisal Practice (USPAP). The independence, expertise and experience of the appraiser are critical to establishing a credible value in an appraisal.

Keep the appraisal report with your other legal and estate planning documents. Appraisal reports are recognized by courts as reliable testimony to the value of your possessions. They combine in one place the documentation, identification (including photographs) and a value for your property.

To find an appraiser or to learn more about appraisals, consumers can log on to www.appraisers.org/consumer.

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