Category Archives: Auction

New United States Rules Restrict Domestic Trade In Ivory

On February 11, 2014 Bryan Christy wrote an article for National Geographic concerning the new Federal restrictions on the ivory trade. According to the article the new rules were written to create “a near complete ban” on the sale of African elephant ivory in in the United States as reported by Mr. Christy.

Two animals are at the forefront of this world wide problem with the poaching of elephants and rhinos and the illegal trade of wildlife and ivory.

The actions taken by the Federal government are in line with actions and laws taken by California and New York to name just a few states.

From Lydia Thompson who published an article on March 13, 2014 Old and New Rules for the Sale of Ivory we provide the California Law.

California Penal Laws 653o and 653p ban the sale, or possession with intent to sell of ivory, within the state or across state lines. The law reads as follows.

It is unlawful to import into this state for commercial purposes, to possess with intent to sell, or to sell within the state, the dead body, or any part or product thereof, of any polar bear, leopard, ocelot, tiger, cheetah, jaguar, sable antelope, wolf (Canius lupus) zebra, whale, cobra, python, sea turtle, colobus monkey, kangaroo, vicuna, sea otter, free-roaming feral horse, dolphin or porpoise (Delphinidae) Spanish lynx, or ELEPHANT.

The article then details the penalties for violating Penal Law 653o.

Please note that California Penal Law 653o has been on the books since 1970. but was unenforced until the early part of 2012. The article continues that the strict enforcement of this law prohibits the sale of all ivory objects whether antique or not. It recommends consulting with an attorney if you are contemplating the sale of some ivory objects (think of the keys on antique and old pianos, Steinway for instance). Click here for a link to the entire article by Lydia Thompson.

In an article published in the New York Times on June 20, 2014 by Tom Mashberg entitled Law to Impose Tough Limits on Sales of Ivory Art he discussed the new law by the New York Legislature and  passed. The article reports that the law bans almost all items containing elephant ivory, mammoth ivory, and rhinoceros horn.  Here is a link to the New York Times Article.

Here is a link to an article by The Associated Press also in the New York Times published less than a month ago about a Study Details Elephant Deaths. The article reports on the estimated  poaching of over 100,000 elephants between 2010 and 2012 from the increased demand for ivory by China and other Asian nations.

It is important when hiring an estate sale company or auction company that they are knowledgeable about the laws regarding the sale of a variety items to prevent all parties from being fined or otherwise penalized.

Although we have briefly discussed the federal law and the laws imposed in California and New York each state should be reviewed for their laws concerning the sale of ivory and wildlife.

Joan Rivers Gave Her Daughter Melissa Good Advice – Estate Sales & Auctions

To educateReading Sunday about the passing of Joan Rivers and her instructions Estate Sales News was interested in what Ms. Rivers had told the Daily Beast that she had told her daughter Melissa, “Sell anything and everything you don’t want. Don’t feel beholden to my possessions”. Although she didn’t suggest how to sell her possessions estate sales for many, auctions for others are the primary way to liquidate.

After reading this we used CRTS (Certified Relocation Specialists) and to research other opinions.

Whether you are downsizing or preparing your instructions for the end of life, it is a benefit to tell your family or friends (if no family) your feelings about the disposal of your possessions and how you feel and if you’re going to change your life style start by hiring a professional, be it an estate sale company or auction or in many instances today a combination depending on what is to be sold and their value.

In today’s ever changing world with costs rising many people are choosing to reduce their space and costs (including moving to less expensive areas). Many older individuals are moving to assisted living or moving in with family and have very limited space for their belongings.

Deciding what to keep or not to keep is important for peace of mind. It helps reduce stress and emotional discomfort for you and your family.

In some instances (this happened recently with a friend’s father moving to assisted living) the year before moving it is a good idea to invite family in to decide what items they would like to have.

This also makes it much easier when it comes time to bring in a liquidator.

Estate Sales News regrets the passing of Joan Rivers and extends our sympathy to her family and friends. We also thank her for making us laugh and leaving all of us with some good advice.

License Plate Collections On Video – Find Them At Estate Sales And Auctions

Estate sales create more collectors than almost any other venue. Your editor remembers some old used license plates hanging on the wall of her grandfather’s garage.

Here is a brief video we found from Arthur Levine who has collected license plates from all 50 states.

We wanted to share this next video with you. A garage completely side with a license plate collection in New Hampshire. One of many ideas to showcase your collection.

Coming up on Sept. 28th in Perry, Michigan is an auction featuring a collection of license plates that can be found on EstateSales.Net. Click here to view.

Whenever you are shopping at estate sales, be sure to look in the garage or basement for vintage and old license plates. A great source for collectors. Check out, and EstateSales.Net, and

Estate Sale Or Auction – What Works For You

gavelEstate Sale signTwenty plus years ago most rural areas in the United States used the auction method of selling off the contents of a deceased persons’ estate. It was held on site and would last one or two days. Most auctioneers back then did not charge a buyer premium (only the seller paid a commission to the auctioneer) and most had no reserve. Only the large exclusive auction houses like Sotheby’s, Christie’s, Bonham, and Skinner held high end and speciality auctions.

Today let’s look at the small auction companies and estate sale companies.

Many estate sale companies have branched out into the auction business as well. They have done this for several reasons, particularly when an onsite estate sale cannot be held, there is too little in the estate to sell at an estate sale, and they can combine multiple small estates into a one day or evening event. In many cases this also provides them the ability to charge not only the seller a commission, but a buyer premium as well (a set percentage of the gross sale of the item purchased). The opportunity to possibly attract a larger audience is another factor.

There are estate sale companies that have also branched out to conduct online auctions. They do not require a brick and mortar building to conduct the auction, merely the space to store the items for sale and eventual shipment. This has become an alternative when some items fail to sell at an estate sale for various reasons and they are looking for a broader audience.

There are still more estate sale companies than auction companies and online auctions. With the rise in unemployment several years ago and the internet presence of estate sale listing sites this has greatly increased the number of estate sale liquidators. Many estate sale listing sites started off listing only estate sales and now include auctions and online auctions as all these businesses increase.

With the estate sale process one of the prime differences is that almost all take place at the property and no commission is charged to the buyer. The estate sale company has a fiduciary relationship with the seller. They work solely for them. When hired they are given access to the property to stage and price the items to be sold, and conduct a two, three or four day sale. Pricing is done before the sale. Although bids may be excepted on some items the majority of what is at the estate sale is sold based on prices determined by the estate sale company. The seller and estate sale company will have a contract that details the work to be done by the liquidator and requirements of the seller including whether the estate sale liquidator will leave the property “broom cleaned” (all unsold items removed). In most cases the only items for sale are those of the “seller(s)”. Like an auction company they have staff to assist before and during the sale.

Some hold to the concept that expensive items cannot be sold at an estate sale, however, your editor knows of several estate sale companies from the east coast to the west coast that have had sales into 6 figures and sold items in 6 figures. Many factors are involved including the area and advertising. Both estate sale companies and auctions market extensively.

The choice becomes what will work best in your region. Both methods can provide successful financial results, however, it is important to review the auction or estate sale companies you are considering, do your due diligence and choose the company that you feel will work best “with” you.

Estate Sales Or Auctions? What Is The Difference?

Estate Sale signauctionEstate sales and auctions have been a method of disposing of the contents of personal property for many years, however, many companies offer both methods. They can also be used to liquidate commercial contents as well.

Let’s discuss the difference.

An estate sale is where a seller(s), heir, attorney, or family hires an estate sale company to come in, sort through the personal property, set it up on various tables, shelves etc. and price most if not all the items to be sold. The person or persons requesting the sale will pay the estate sale company a portion of the gross proceeds of the sale (commission usually). The sale is advertised for specific dates and times and when the door opens to the property or location of the sale the items have a specific price on them. The buyers do not pay a commission or fee to the estate sale company. Although the buyer may leave a lower price offer (bid) for items, it is at the company’s and seller’s discretion whether to consider or accept the bid(s).

Auctions have been around for hundreds of years, however, it is an entirely different method of selling. An auction can take place on the property or at an off site location. The best way to describe an auction comes from Wikipedia. “A process of buying or selling goods or services by offering them up for bids, taking bids, and then selling the item to the highest bidder”. Some auctions do contain reserves (a set price, usually by the sellers) which is the minimum acceptable. Auctions usually charge the seller(s) a percentage of the sales and many also charge a buyers premium (a percentage of the cost of the item purchased).

Estate auctions have been used for years in rural America to dispose of the contents of an estate and in more recent times used in metropolitan areas, particularly if the estate contains high value items or the sale of the contents cannot take place on site.

Some confusion exists these days because most websites that were originally for listing estate sales now list auctions and online auctions, however, they still retain the phrase “estate sale”.

Depending on the area, circumstances, and property to be sold, sellers need to choose which method works best for them. Either method can bring financial success. Understanding the difference though is important.

A New Concept And Company – Lofty.Com – Can Assist Estate Liquidators

At the 2014 Estate Sale Conference in Memphis there was a room devoted to vendors that could assist estate liquidators and one of them was They offer a unique service that can be used by estate sale companies and others. Estate Sales News is featuring this guest article on this new concept and company as an item of interest.

The article below was written by John Maher an Evaluations Expert of a new online resource, provides a free virtual evaluation service and sales venue that can assist estate liquidators.

Founded in 2012 by Harvard Business School graduate Mark Lurie, Lofty is an expert-reviewed marketplace for Fine and Decorative Art, Antiques and Collectibles that provides free evaluations based on digital photos. Every item on the site has been identified and virtually evaluated by a member of Lofty’s Expert Network, which includes auction house specialists, qualified appraisers, and experienced dealers. 

Mark was inspired to develop Lofty when a friend asked for help selling a few prints and some 19th century silver she’d inherited, and he realized how difficult it was to sell potentially valuable items online with confidence and ease. eBay was the obvious option, but he didn’t know how to accurately describe the items or where to set prices. The pieces in question weren’t valuable enough to take to a large auction house, as the cost and effort involved in shipping and preparing them for sale likely would not have been worth the prices they would have realized. Prompted by this apparent gap in the art market, Mark set out to create a site which would allow anyone with access to the internet to confidently sell their art and antiques online.

Lofty does not sell the entire contents of an estate, but it can serve as a useful tool for estate liquidators looking to sell one or several objects that might perform better if exposed to a broader market. Chinese ceramics, for example, may only realize their full potential when offered to the Asian market, and paintings by well known artists may achieve much higher prices when offered on a global scale to eager collectors made aware of the sale online at

Estate liquidators have a highly complex job on their hands each time they sign a new client, but grossing the maximum possible profit is always one of the business owner’s primary responsibilities to the estate owner. While years of experience can give estate liquidators a good knowledge of an item’s worth, having a trusted expert provide additional insight and giving your item more extensive publicity may result in a higher price obtained and a better result for the seller

You can visit their website,

Estate Sales, Auctions, What Is The Difference

gavelEstate Sale sign


Estate Sales News in the course of doing it’s daily research on the Internet discovered that one of the internet sites it came across that offered information said that estate sales are a form of auction.

Your Estate Sales News Editor was a licensed Auctioneer for several years and estate sales are not auctions. You can sell an estate at auction, but an estate sale is not an auction.

An auction is where customers “bid” on the items for sale. Sometimes with a reserve (a minimum price that will be accepted). Most auctions (not all) charge the seller a commission and a buyer’s premium (a percentage of the selling price). Most auctions have a two hour to several day preview session and then the auction date and time is set. The auction most likely will have a printed catalogue with the lot number and brief description of the items for sale.

An estate sale will usually take place over 2 or 3 days within a specified time. With an estate sale the seller pays the commission. There are no buyer premiums. The items are staged, set out,  and priced. There usually isn’t a preview and you will not be given a catalogue. Although bids may be accepted, it will be in writing and left with the estate liquidator and if the item is unsold toward the end of the sale, the liquidator will usually call the person that left the highest bid. You may never know what that bid was.

An estate sale is usually a local event or within 50 miles although some sales have attracted buyers from 100’s of miles away. An auction can be local, but it can also draw buyers from almost anywhere if they use the internet to have phone in bidders. Some estate sales with very high priced items will accept phone orders and send the items.

In either event, the liquidator or the auctioneer is usually the professional setting the price or pace for the items for sale. Auctioneers should be knowledgeable and may also use appraisers on some items just as estate liquidators do on occasion.


Auction To Be Held For Estate Of President Gerald Ford And Wife Betty in CA.

Estate Sales News wanted to share this Reuters video with our audience about the auction of 1000 items that the Ford estate is selling in California to benefit three local organizations in Coachella Valley where the Fords lived until their passing. They are interred at the Gerald R. Ford Presidential Museum in Grand Rapids, MI.

Estate Sales News at A-1 Auction in Maitland Fl. 2 unique estates

We spent time at A-1 Auction in Maitland, Florida. They were conducting an auction for two different Florida estates that had items the heirs felt were best sold at auction.

 Doug & Paula White started as a small auction company 32 years ago this month. They have been holding auctions at the Maitland Civic Center for 29 years. One of the estates today was from a former power plant engineer at NASA. His wife had been working with Bonhams Auction House who recommended they contact the Whites of A-1 Auction.

Estate Sales, consignment shops, auctions – which works for you?

715 riverbend 09 002Estate Sales News is covering all angles of the estate liquidation business. Choosing what works best for you, your family or client (if you’re a Realtor or attorney) depends on many factors.



Let’s bullet point them for simplicity:

  • Location – can you have an on site liquidation sale
  • Merchandise – what is in the residence to be sold
  • Value – what type of value do the items have, high end/designer, antiques, gen. household etc.
  • Time – how soon do you need to liquidate
  • Who – in your area what types of liquidations solutions are available
  • $$$$ – what will it cost to liquidate and what will bring you the best financial results