The Straightforward Candid Bottom Line
You may think that “shopping an item around” is a way for you to ensure you’re getting the best possible price. That has been shown to not be true. In this business, if you “shop around,” your valuable item (s) you run the very serious risk of over exposure, which will have the opposite effect.
Bidding and bidding “wars” are for auctions, not for discreet, professional brokering of fine authentic Tiffany Studios lamps or high quality American or European paintings. If an item has been shopped around various places, it probably won’t sell unless it’s at a lower than usual or even at a “liquidation price.”
As a result, we’re not interested in trying to sell your item if anyone else, including you, is also trying to sell the same item for you at the same time.
We work in much the same way as a real estate agent. There is a simple, straightforward, written, “brokerage” contract stating that you (the client or seller), have agreed to work exclusively with us (the broker or agent) for a certain predetermined period of time. We generally can sell items which need no extensive research, authentication process or expert condition analysis, within thirty business days. Occasionally, we can find a buyer within a week or ten days. That’s the experienced, professional way, and the way in which your item (s) will sell more quickly and for the best price. It’s also a proven and successful method we’ve employed for over 40 years.
If you can see the simple logic in this professional approach, and want to have your items sold privately and discreetly for a good price, without having to pay for shipping, insurance, storage or any commissions and fees, we’re the firm for you.
The “Buyer Pays All The Fees” Approach
The largest costs to the owner when selling at auction, through a dealer, or gallery are always the “fees and commissions” they must pay to the dealer or agent for selling their item (s) or selling wholesale to a dealer. Most of these places either directly or indirectly charge both the buyer and seller. We don’t. Our philosophy is simple: since all buyers would have to pay a commission if they bought at any major auction house, or indirectly pay more if they bought through a consignment gallery or a dealer, we might as well charge them a lower “finder’s fee” and put none of the costs or commissions onto the owner. We don’t make as much on each item sold as we would if we were getting a standard 15-20%+ fee from the seller and the buyer also, but we make up for it in quantity of sales.
We also work hard to keep our overhead as low as possible. We don’t have a showy, upscale gallery with the accompanying very high rent, utilities, payroll and advertising costs to meet monthly. We sell to a long and established list of qualified private collectors, so there’s no need for us to have a storefront, spend thousands monthly on advertising or to hire a staff of “sales people.” Dealing with our select and substantial group of interested buyers from all over the world allows us to work from a “home office,” which is more than adequate for this line of work and far more economical.
It’s simple math and common sense. There’s a big difference in what our firm has to make when selling an item to cover our business expenses, versus what a firm with a huge monthly overhead needs to take in to pay their bills and make a decent profit. It makes perfect sense to us, and we hope it does to you as well.
How Our Brokerage Services Work
Once we have agreed to broker an item and entered into a brokerage agreement to act as your agent, we and our associates work as quickly as possible to: accurately and realistically research, authenticate, price, promote and sell that item on your behalf.
After all the research, and before possession of the item changes hands, a “net” price, (what you will get paid when the item is sold), is mutually agreed upon. 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. We very rarely have to re-negotiate the price we originally agreed to pay you for your item (s).
Until we get to the “selling and 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. When the time does come, we take no chances at all with your valuable item (s). 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 have never had any damages, losses, thefts or other problems, and we will continue to do what we need to do to keep it that way. Most importantly, all of this is done at no cost to you, the seller/owner.
We keep all aspects of the promotion and sale of your item(s) private and very “selective.” Your identity and location are kept completely confidential, unless it’s necessary for the in person inspection and sale of your item(s), which is rare. Even then we’ll only provide your information after we have your full consent.
Generally, we sell most items consigned to us within 30 days. Some items, if they are “ready to sell” immediately can be sold in 7-10 business days. Exceptions are usually very expensive items (valued upwards of 7-8 figures), or items where we need considerably more market research, updated background or historical information, and additional outside expert authentication. These items are however, in the minority.
Our clients are paid within 10 business days from the time we receive the funds for the sale. All sellers/owners working with us are paid with “guaranteed funds,” such as a cashier’s check or bank wire transfer.
How We’re Different
Auction houses can take months before they have an “appropriate” sale. With consignment galleries and dealers the wait may be even longer before a prospective buyer for your item (s) comes along. And then the seller/owner can sometimes wait quite awhile before they’re paid…assuming the item sells. When you finally do get your money, you know that it’s minus at least 15-50% in commissions and fees charged to you the seller. Many auction houses even charge a “buy-in” fee if your item fails to sell!
As we said earlier, our clients are paid within 10 business days from the time we receive the funds for the sale. We sell only to an established list of buyers eager to purchase the types of quality items we broker, many of whom have bought 2-3 Tiffany lamps, several oil paintings or other items through us over the years. These buyers also pay all fees, and commissions and miscellaneous costs involved with any sale.
When we broker items, they will only get exposure to those people who are determined by us to be very discreet. If they “pass” and don’t buy, we move on, and nobody needs to know an item has been offered before. This gives the private broker a major advantage in most instances over auction houses, online auctions, and dealers—specifically gallery owners.
A Bit More on the Dangers of “Over Exposure”
Because it’s a problem we see so often, we simply can’t say enough to enforce the importance of realizing the very real dangers and consequences associated with over exposure. If you have already shown or offered your item (s) to auction houses, dealers or collectors whether by phone, through online auctions, email or otherwise, in the United States as well as in Europe, it can seriously hurt efforts to get the best possible price or even sell a piece at all.
The world of fine artwork, authentic Tiffany Studios lamps and high quality antiques is actually very small. Collectors, brokers, experts, museum curators, auction house employees, dealers, and restoration people, talk with each other frequently about pieces they saw or heard about from someone. They also often exchange photos and owner’s names. High quality, authenticated items tend to move rather quickly, so if an item has been “shopped around” serious collectors are inclined to wonder what’s wrong with it and why it hasn’t sold. At that point, the end result is often that nobody wants anything to do with the item in question. It’s been over exposed. The trade term is burned, as in “burned bridges.”
Been There, Done That – We May Still Be Able to Help
If you have a high quality item and already have an unsatisfactory offer and/or have made the mistake of over exposing it, we may be willing to try to get a better price—IF you are no longer offering the item yourself to or through other brokers, dealers or auctions. Sometimes we can find a buyer who will pay more. It’s always more difficult to sell a piece for the best price if it has been in an auction and failed, and/or if photographs of it have been circulated around the country for weeks, months or years before you came to us. We suggest you contact us, and that you are as candid as possible. If you’re completely honest with us about how and when you exposed the piece, we’ll evaluate whether there’s a chance we can do anything to help you still sell it.
All images on this page, and elsewhere on this web site are merely representative examples of the quality and type of artwork we’re seeking on behalf of our buyers, or which we may have evaluated or brokered on behalf of our clients in the past.