Estimation of second-hand items: tips to find your way around

Whether you are an antique dealer, a dealer of art and second-hand objects on secondhand markets, or at a garage sale, estimating the price of your goods and antiques is never easy: it’s a real headache. A price that is too low would refer to the idea that the object in question is damaged, defective, has a hidden defect or is not authentic. On the other hand, a price that is too high will strongly dissuade potential buyers. The solution: sell at the right price! But then, how do you get the price of an object estimated? While it is not always easy to assess the value of your property before reselling it, there are several solutions that will help you to make an estimate of your antiques and second-hand items.

The auctioneer: your ally to estimate your items

The auctioneer is undoubtedly the most reliable value to have your antique objects appraised. This expert can guide you on many paths that will help you define: the rarity of the object: is it an original edition, is it a piece made during the artist’s lifetime? A post-mortem work ? The interest that the piece arouses on the market, among the clientele: is it very sought-after, very much in demand, in fashion? So many questions that he will be able to answer and that will help you choose the right price for your property.

But in practice, how does it work to use an auctioneer?

Online estimation by an auctioneer

Using an auctioneer to have your property appraised is a solution adopted by many antique dealers and resellers. He will estimate your generalist objects, such as antique paintings, antique furniture, works, books, or antique jewellery….

To get started, simply fill out the online appraisal forms, on which you will indicate your contact details as well as the precise details of the object whose value you wish to know: dimensions, weights, photos… Each detail counts and will help the auctioneer to accurately estimate the price at which you can resell your part.

For a free estimate, many well-known websites offer their services, such as Drouot Estimation, or France Estimation. You enter the requested information, and in a few clicks you receive a free estimate of your items within 48 hours.

For antiques, however, be careful to choose professional experts who guarantee exemplary ethics!

Make an appointment with an auctioneer to estimate the value of your property

While this first step of free online valuation can sometimes be sufficient to accurately estimate the value of your used items, for some more specific, rare or complex items, it may be useful for the auctioneer to see the item in question. Chinese prints, Islamic ceramics, sculptures, some earthenware or old paintings for example, will be more difficult to estimate: the expert will then ask you to bring it for a more precise estimate. For larger volumes, it will come to your home.

Online estimation: the tools that will help you

Online resale sites

For vintage pieces or everyday objects, visiting resale sites can be useful. All you need to do is carry out a market study on sites such as Ebay, Amazon, For-Sale to evaluate the price range of your property. You will have more difficulty finding your happiness if it is a question of antiques, or old pieces such as works of art or old jewellery, as the authenticity and uniqueness of the objects must be parameters taken into account to accurately estimate their value. For more common objects, such as dishes, lamps or decorative objects, these sites will give you a first indication. And then, you can deepen your research with sites that are multiplying on the web: online flea markets!

Online flea markets: a precious help for the valuation of your second-hand items

They have been booming in recent years: vintage is in fashion, and online flea markets are flourishing on the web! You will easily be able to use the prices charged on these sites as a basis for estimating your objects, and Brocantelab, Luckyfind, or Puces-Privées are platforms that will help you in this process. Carpets, tableware, household linen, lighting, DIY, etc. These online flea markets bring together all the objects by category, allowing you to easily adapt your prices, thanks to a clear vision of the competition.

For a free and quick estimate, collectors’ sites are also real sources of information. For example, the Info-collection site gives you a price estimate by object category. Their articles are also very interesting (despite a slightly aging design and ergonomics).

If these platforms require a little research to successfully establish the fair value of all your used items and antiques, a new modern tool may well help you!

Mobile applications to help resellers

If we hope that in the future (more or less near), it will be enough to photograph the object to have a price calculated automatically, we must admit that this is not yet the case… Despite everything, several applications are getting closer and help you in the estimation of your goods.

Many of these applications are often only specialized in estimating cars, real estate or wine, but one of them has nevertheless caught our attention. This is the Valoo application. This application estimates and publishes your offers on various marketplaces and online ad sites. Even if it would benefit from improvement, it represents a real help in estimating your objects.

How does it work? It estimates the value of your second-hand object thanks to several parameters:

  • Market value: calculated according to different prices found on marketplaces (which we mentioned earlier in the article, such as For-Sale, Ebay, etc.)
  • Residual value: calculated according to the category to which your object belongs, its condition, its purchase value and its purchase date.

And to go even further, you can use the “sales comparator” option, which helps you to carry out an in-depth market study in a few minutes: the application shows you the number of sellers that exist for your item, and the prices that are set new or second-hand. This will optimize your chances of selling at flea markets and garage sales!

Red or green? A question for His Majesty’s army….

To the question asked, what is the colour of the uniform of 19th century British soldiers, everyone immediately answers: red. From the wars of the 17th century to the Zulu conflicts or the Boer War, British soldiers are inevitably depicted in their red clothing, a colour that has symbolised England since the Tudors…

English uniform

However, it could have been otherwise… By the end of the 18th century, many English soldiers had realized that their uniforms made it much easier for them to be seen, and therefore touched more easily. It was Colonel Charles Hamilton-Smith who was the first to conduct a scientific study on the subject, while he was a young officer at the 60th foot.

On the strength of the observation that the increasing use of acrobats in front of infantry lines gave pride of place to the precision of the shooter, unlike the line fire that had prevailed until then, and that a more colourful uniform necessarily attracted more attention, our precursor developed a series of tests to support his reasoning.

After a few preliminary tests on white and black targets that clearly showed that the dark target was easier to hit, Colonel Hamilton-Smith designed an original study protocol. He gathers 6 of his best shooters, gives them all 6 balls, puts them in front of a red target, a grey target and a green target, and gives them the order to shoot at will. The operation will be repeated every day. At the end of the third day, the red target falls apart, but the grey one is still in good shape.

The colonel will then find that the greater the distance, the more difficult it is to hit the grey target. He then concluded this experiment by recommending that rifle and aerobatic units be equipped with grey uniforms, and that red be kept only for the parade.

Nevertheless, red would remain… with the exception of the riflemen of the light infantry regiments, who would gradually be equipped with dark green uniforms and the famous Baker Rifle, which had caused so much damage among French troops.

The most interesting story is undoubtedly that of the 60th’s aerobatic companies. Initially equipped with a grey uniform, it will be replaced by a green one, just before the beginning of our officer’s tests. There is no doubt that this change in colour was at the origin of the study. The green colour remained nevertheless, and it was not until the First World War that the English army adopted more neutral uniforms.