Art & Antiques: Top 10 Selling Mistakes

Nationwide, at my appraisal events, I hear one question over and over again. When my office staff picks up the phone to answer a client call, it is not uncommon for the person on the other end of the line to ask the same question. When someone sees me in the grocery store and stops me to inquire about an antique, I get the same question. That question is “How do I sell my antique?”

The answer is simple. The answer is also complex. Before I explain, first of all remember that you should not expect magic and you should expect to work at selling it.


We all want to get the most for our unwanted stuff, but how do you sell your valuable antiques for the most money? Avoid getting victimized by

1. Don’t reveal your true situation to the buyer.
For instance, if you need the money for your piece or if you are desperate, don’t tell the buyer that. Don’t reveal that you are moving and you have to make a quick sale or that you don’t have room to store the object. This only gives them ammunition to try to get you to sell your piece for a low price.

2. Don’t set your asking price too low.
Price your object high enough so you have room to negotiate down to a price that sparks interest in your potential buyer and still makes you a nice profit.

3. Don’t ask the potential buyer for advice about identifying the piece.
I am always shocked that people do that, but they do. They ask the buyer if they know what the item is because some sellers think that mystery pieces will sell better. Know what you are selling, know what it’s really worth with an appraisal before you sell, and present your piece for sale with confidence.

4. Don’t fall for the “I’m a collector” trick
This is a trick some people use to make a novice seller feel like his/her piece will go to a good home by selling the piece to a self-proclaimed collector.

5. Don’t wait to sell the piece to somebody who will appreciate it
This is a red flag. If you are serious about selling an item, do you really care who gets it as long as you get top dollar. The sellers who make this statement aren’t always serious about selling.


6. Don’t let the buyer set the price when you don’t know how much it is worth

7. Be ready to say “no” to the first three buyers who make you a lower than asking price offer. I know this tip sounds strict, but don’t devalue your item too quickly.

8. Don’t restore, refinish, or repair the item that you want to sell.
Sell your antique or collectible in its current condition. Let the buyer, at his discretion, spend money on restoration. Don’t risk ruining the object further

9. Market to everyone.
Don’t let the nay sayers convince you that your piece: “Isn’t worth that much!”

10. Most importantly, Don’t give up!
You can sell your stuff for top dollar. I’ve had many, many clients of mine do just that after getting an accurate appraisal from me and employ my sound advice.

Celebrity Ph.D. antiques appraiser, author, and award-winning TV personality, Dr. Lori presents antique appraisal events nationwide and antiques themed vacation cruises. As seen on NBC’s The Tonight Show and Comedy Central’s The Daily Show, watch Dr. Lori on Lifetime Television. Visit,, or call (888) 431-1010.


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