Please click on a question below to go directly to its answer. Or, scroll down to see all of the questions and answers. If you have a question that's not addressed, please feel free to call us at: 515-226-0606.
- Why should I pay you to sell my item, instead of selling it myself?
- Won't I make more at an online auction or through one of the famous "big city" auction houses?
- What about advertising in the newspaper, fine art and antique magazines-going through a gallery or consignment shop?
- But is there any real harm in trying to sell an item myself?
- Do you offer any guarantees?
- How long does it take?
- How much can I expect to make?
- Can't I just look up a price in an antique price guide myself?
- Do you have any references?
- What credentials qualify you to evaluate fine art work, old Tiffany lamps, art glass and other antiques?
- Can a person accurately evaluate/appraise an item just from photos and a description?
- What qualifies someone as an expert or professional?
- So, I can just send you my item and you'll take care of selling for me?
- When and if I send my item to you, what assurance do I have it'll be safe?
|1. ||Why should I pay you to sell my item, instead of selling it myself?|
First and foremost, you don't pay us. Not a single penny. We take no commission or sales fees from you, the seller, for items we agree to broker on your behalf. (See the "Buyer Pays All The Fees" section on the Brokerage Services page.)
|2. ||Won't I make more at an online auction or through one of the famous "big city" auction houses?|
If you try to sell through a major auction house, you'll pay from 15-30% total in commissions and other miscellaneous "fees" to get your item packed, shipped, insured, and promoted. It's often a rather lengthy process, some auction houses only have sales 2-4 times a year, and of course you have no guarantee your item will sell...but you'll still most likely have to pay a few substantial costs and other "fees."
We sell only to an established list of buyers. We work 7 days a week, all year 'round, to find the right buyer for an item, and they pay all the fees.
|3. || What about advertising in the newspaper, fine art and antique magazines—going through a gallery or consignment shop?|
If you advertise online or put a good sized, descriptive ad in a newspaper or fine art and antiques magazine, the costs can be quite high. And again, you have no guarantee that your item will sell, but you're still out the money. If you sell through a gallery or consignment shop, you'll pay from 20-50% commission to the consignor, right out of your profit, if and when the item sells.
|4. ||But is there any real harm in trying to sell an item myself?|
In a word, yes. Especially if an item fails to sell. Once you've advertised an item at an auction, online or in a trade magazine, etc., you've "exposed" what you have to thousands of people. In the world of fine art and antiques, this kind of exposure is a bad thing and can seriously damage an item's ability to be sold for a decent price—in fact, it will often make it impossible. (See the A Bit More on the Dangers of "Over Exposure" section on our Brokerage Services page.) And of course dealers and collectors will simply offer a price which they feel will entice the seller to sell their item(s) as cheaply as possible, so they can reap the majority of the profits.
|5.|| Do you offer any guarantees?|
There are no guarantees in the art and antiques world as far as "liquidity" is concerned. Don't believe anyone who tells you otherwise. There never have been, and there never will be. Our firm does its very best to handle only those items we feel we can sell for a good price within a reasonable period of time. While we can't guarantee your item will sell, our experience is that of the items we agree to broker, about 90-95% of them do. Sometimes we feel an item or items will sell, and for various reasons they simply don't. If an item doesn't sell, we're out our time and money, but there are still no fees to you.
We take all the chances and have become very proficient at doing our job over the past years. Our main concern is to please our sellers in a timely and professional way. Word-of-mouth advertising is, after all, one of our best sources for new clients.
|6.|| How long does it take?|
Unless an item is extremely expensive and/or we need to have additional outside experts we trust give us a needed "irrefutable" or final opinion on condition and authenticity (this is often the case with very high quality artwork, since that market is perhaps the hardest to assess, and is more challenging and complex than others), we generally can sell a piece in 30-60 days. Many times, we can complete a sale within 1-3 weeks.
We make sure all funds are "good" before the sale is consummated. Our clients are paid by "guaranteed bank funds," within 10 business days from the time we receive the funds for the sale.
|7.|| How much can I expect to make?|
Well, that's kind of difficult to determine because we're speaking in generalities and don't know about the type or quality of item you're thinking of selling. But we can tell you that a "net" price, or what you will get paid when the item is sold, is mutually agreed upon after all the research, and before the item changes hands. If there needs to be a deviation from this net price for whatever reason, we will always consult with you until we're in mutual agreement over a newly negotiated amount.
|8.|| Can't I just look up a price in an antique price guide myself?|
Evaluating or pricing a fine art or antique item is much more than looking something up in one of the many "guides" available in book stores and online.. While those can be useful and helpful, they're simply as their name implies—a guide. Appraising an antique or work of art requires having seen many similar or like items, as well as being able to recognize the importance and meaning of repairs and restorations, quality, reproductions, marks and signatures, rarity, etc. The expert appraiser is a trained professional who can put all the pieces together to come up with an accurate determination of age, authenticity, condition, origin, maker and ultimately, realistic current value. Experience, talent, and much training are what make evaluations by a professional accurate, versus a novice collector simply looking at similar items in a price guide.
|9.|| Do you have any references?|
We have many references from attorneys, trust department heads, insurance companies, as well as well known private individuals. Please refer to our References page for specific information.
|10.|| What credentials qualify you to evaluate fine art work, old Tiffany lamps, art glass and other antiques?|
Fine Art Investments, established in 1972 by Dennis R. Tesdell, is a professional, full time, fine art and antique brokerage firm. Dennis took years of formal education, with majors in Art History, Design and Art. He spent a good deal of time traveling, visiting the best museums and galleries in the world, and learning from renowned experts by hands on experience and mentoring. As a collector himself, he gained a vast amount of knowledge from experts in various fields. Dennis has used his experience and knowledge to run his own gallery, work as a professional appraiser and contribute to books and articles on art, antiques, and the business of appraising. The years and level of dedication spent perfecting his expertise have earned him the respect of his peers, appraisers, museum curators and directors and collectors worldwide. His professional insight is often sought by insurance companies, trust departments, attorneys, the IRS, the RTC, and corporations as well as and private collectors. Dennis has been an Associate Member in good standing with the International Society of Appraisers for over nineteen years.
The other people working for and consulting with Dennis are also professionals, each with their own areas of expertise. While Mr. Tesdell remains the principal broker for the firm and oversees all work done, the whole team is always a part of the evaluation and research process for items being brokered. This team effort helps make identification, authentication, market value and other important determinations more accurate, more expedient, and more likely to affect a successful sale.
|11.|| Can a person accurately evaluate/appraise an item just from photos and a description?|
Up to a point, yes. If we're going to be brokering an item for a client, we start with very good digital photographs, a detailed description, condition report, "history," etc. If these are good, up to date and complete, they can tell us what something is or is not about 90% of the time. Eventually, one way or another, we will see the item that is to be brokered before it's sold. This is essential in the case of very expensive artwork and other items. We must feel (regardless of what some other appraiser or expert might have said or written) 100% confident that what we offer our buyers is exactly as we represent it, to prevent the seller as well as us from having potential problems down the road. Often (not unlike other appraisers and major auction houses) we will consult with trusted "outside experts" in very specific areas or fields, to further authenticate or evaluate an item, so we are as accurate as possible regarding authentication, condition, identification, "market appeal" and of course a realistic price "range" defining the current market value.
|12.|| What qualifies someone as an expert or professional?|
Important question! Many people in the art and antiques arena call themselves, or may be considered an authority, expert or appraiser. These people range from collectors who feel they are experts (and some justifiably are in certain areas) to dealers, art historians, museum curators, and even the next door neighbor who goes to numerous garage sales and auctions. But only a person who has extensive formal training and hands on experience can be considered a professional. In addition, a professional appraiser should have some professional credentials (not unlike a physician, attorney or C.P.A.) from one of the nationally or internationally recognized appraisal associations. This verifies that he or she has undergone a "screening" process which takes into account their experience, business and personal character references and procedural standards and practices. Professional appraisers, not unlike physicians and attorneys, must renew their membership annually, and are subject to scrutiny by their peers and a board of directors if any complaints are made against them.
It's also important to remember that experts can and do disagree. This does not mean any of them are not knowledgeable and educated in a given area. Evaluating and item can be both objective and somewhat subjective in nature. The challenge is to balance the two and try to be fair. A professional will gladly present you with documented facts from various reference sources to substantiate their findings. Unqualified experts tend to only offer their opinion.
|13.|| So, I can just send you my item and you'll take care of selling it for me?|
No, that's not quite how it works. You begin by sending us photographs and detailed information about the item or items you want to sell. (See Easy Steps To Getting Started on our Contacting Us page.) If we feel your item(s) is something of interest to any of our buyers, we'll contact you, usually within 24-hours. Once we agree to broker an item on your behalf, there's a simple contract to be completed.
Until we get to the "selling promotion" point, or if it should become necessary to have an expert evaluate your item(s) in person outside your city for authenticity and/or condition reports, we don't need or want physical possession of your property.
|14.|| When and if I send my item to you, what assurance do I have it'll be safe?|
When the time does come, we take no chances at all with your valuable items. Your item(s) will be covered and described by us for the insurance "rider" specifically, under a Chubb commercial "all perils" policy which we pay for annually for this sole purpose. Your item will be covered for the full value we determine (or more if we feel it is prudent). We're very careful to have proper insurance and present everything necessary in writing to you, so you feel 100% comfortable and assured your item is going to be safe and well protected, no matter where it is, until it's either sold or returned to you. We've never had any damages, losses, thefts or other problems, and we'll continue to do what we need to do to keep it that way. And remember, all of this is done at no cost to you, the seller/owner.
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All images on this site are merely representative examples of the quality and styles of old Tiffany lamps, art glass, art work, and other fine items we are seeking on behalf of our buyers, or which we may have evaluated or brokered on behalf of our clients.