Why Bother With Research By Judy Martin, ISA, CAPP – Guest Author For Estate Sales News

Judith Martin, ISA CAPPMy eyes are blurry from looking at china pattern after china pattern. I am in the midst of pricing items for sale. My clients have entrusted me with their treasures and my job is to price them correctly. However, first I have to identify each item and then give them a value. But, that is my job and that is why I was hired.

The days of guessing are over. With the vast amount of resources available there is no excuse for guessing. Some things I know off the top of my head because I have sold them a few hundred if not thousands of times. But the market moves very quickly and what was a valid selling price six months ago might not be relevant today. Especially when working with metals; Their market moves week by week.

I have a huge library of resource books. The most common books I use are pattern and mark identification books. I know there are great mark identification websites. There is also a wealth of pattern websites, be it porcelain, silver, ceramic, or glass. However, I find it easier to sit with my books while I am standing over the items. Going back and forth on the internet has a tendency to drive me to distraction which is quite easy on some days. So, I take each category that I am working with and diligently look up each item both for identification, age, and condition and then I set my price.

I charge a good amount of money to my client for the work I do, I won’t apologize for that because I know I am worth every penny and then some. What I do is a profession, not a part-time gig, but a profession . I study and work at what I do everyday. Actually I probably don’t charge enough for some jobs due to the amount of time it takes to research the items involved. But I do figure for every unusual item I am researching I am also learning something that I can put in my brain database for another day.

Not only am I researching the items for sale from the vantage point of receiving the most appropriate amount of money, I am researching the item for sale so that I can sell it to the public. I always say “you can’t sell what you don’t know”. Many times I have to educate the buyer as to what thy are buying. It is important that I speak from authority about the items I sell.

All of these issues go to the bottom line – I have sold the items correctly, my client is happy, my customer is happy, and I am compensated fairly. Happy Researching!


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