Auction & Appraisal News

Online auctions have recently been in the spotlight, more so than ever as they are the new addiction among many collectors looking for great buys. From rarely seen pictures of Captain Scott’s expedition to the South Pole, to a 177 year old map of the world valued at over $10,500, there are some amazing travel themed auctions happening around the world. Many intriguing and eclectic collections went under the hammer at Christie’s in South Kensington, UK with an estimated value ranging from $1,000-$35,000$.  Historic heirloom pieces and other eclectic collections are often acquired during original owner’s travels and are drawing interest from collectors all over the globe.

Even photos such as those of Geisha exiting a Kyoto metro station taken by Steve McCurry fetched a whopping $4,500 from a collector. Other items of value included an incense burner in the shape of Simon Bolivar, a Venezuelan military leader and a saddle made by the Bohlin Company.  Edward Bohlin has created accessories, saddles and outfits for some of the most iconic Hollywood stars including John Wayne, Clint Eastwood and even for some American Presidents.

Furniture from personal travels can also prove to be quite a valuable artefact on some occasions. There was a chest of Indo-Portuguese origins which following appraisals, was valued at $25,000-35,000. Collectibles such as a model of a British Airways Concorde valued at $6,500-9500 is also among items sought after by eclectic collectors. Often online auctions unearth a vast number of rare finds that are much sought after by appraisers and collectors looking for a great buy.

Other items of value also include marble busts uncovered in government seizure of properties or chests dating back to the Colonial period, dating back to a Portuguese colony in Goa, India. On this particular chest brought in for appraisals, the detailing was identical to a ‘Contador’ or cabinet on stand in the Victoria and Albert Museum, in England.

From places of origin to period of origin and also geographical details, such online auctions often uncover many rare finds that unveil exciting details about periods of historical significance. Geographically significant pieces that have come up in online auctions include a rare Maori hei tiki pendant from New Zealand with an estimated value of $8,500-12,500. Silver, porcelain pieces and even furniture dating back to certain periods and locations can fetch a great price and generates a lot of excitement in the auction for collector and appraiser alike.

The US auctions market has now opened its doors to foreign buyers, particularly the Chinese with two top real estate firms establishing a partnership to this end. The market for real estate has expanded and is flourishing again. The initial offering for property auction in the US will be focusing on commercial property such as office buildings, apartments and retail property. The mix of properties will also go on to include homes eventually. Property investments in the US by Chinese investors are on the rise and it is particularly noted to have increased in Manhattan where buyers look for both profit and security of their investments.

Chinese buyers will have access to exclusive listings on commercial properties through this new venture. This is aimed at bridging the gap in language and also distance which is a common concern for foreign investors. Property auctions conducted online are certainly attracting a lot of foreign investment by offering secure, reliable and sought after properties for auction in prime localities to interested parties. Cross-border transactions of course have their own separate line of legalities to be followed which are handled by the auction houses inviting the international bidders. There is ample information available from the top names in the auction business about cross-border realty investment regulations.

The strategy in place with such international property auctions is to invite bigger and better investors, providing a boost to the real estate market. A number of big names in the business like Juwai.com have a huge clientele of wealthy Chinese speaking investors located across China, Singapore, Hong Kong and also the US. Numerous other partnerships with Juwai.com are being discussed in order to bring in more properties into the auction for interested buyers.  Buyers are also interested in luxury homes, hotels and other establishments which are in demand in many of the prime locations in the US. Many of the buyers are from established business backgrounds and investors undergo thorough checks and must produce necessary paperwork before registering and being found eligible. In terms of commercial real estate investment in 2014, China ranks only second to the leading market player, which is Canada. Over $48 billion has been invested by foreign players in property auctions and other sales, in the category of commercial real estate in 2014 and the demand remains high.

The word auction is derived from the latin term “augeo” which means ‘I Increase’ or ‘I augment’. Auctions have been around since 500 B.C. According to ancient texts, in Babylon, women were married off through auctions conducted annually and marrying a daughter off outside of auctions was considered illegal. It would raise quite a furore to have such practices happening today, but in a civilised world, auctions for artefacts, property and even famous props from movies are exciting events. These are closely followed by collector and appraiser alike.

Many tech-savvy organizations are jumping aboard the online auction wagon. Some big names include internationally reputed auction houses like Sotheby’s. Others offer a variety of items ranging from rare, priceless artefacts to popular props from iconic, classic TV shows and movies. A recent enquiry that came in to us was about costumes from the 1939 classic, the Wizard of Oz. Bids in online auctions previously conducted by cable channels like the AMC, a first of its kind effort by a TV Channel raised about $200,000 last year. The proceeds of this went to the Film Foundation, headed by Martin Scorsese for preserving negatives of classic films.

Such online auctions serve to show that one never knows what is going to be amongst the top sellers, or most sought after items. For rare collectibles and for iconic cult pieces, there are always buyers who even look for individual credit approvals to participate and buy in online auctions. Besides being highly lucrative, the catch is of course to find the right appraiser who can ascertain the value of the item. You would want to be sure that you are buying a micro-jet plane that flew in the movie ‘Octopussy’, and not some clever model a very enterprising bidder managed to put up.

Online auctions held by reputed auction houses ascertain that only authenticated collectibles are sold on their website. There will be rigid quality checks and documentation processes to ensure the credibility of every item that is sold or bid on. Often many quirky items are sold at exorbitant prices, as these have cult fan followers looking to get their hands on it. Recently, Yahoo had an online auction which sold a costume from’ Xena: Warrior Princess’ worn by actress Lucy Lawless for $15,000. Rapid revenues and high stakes make online auctions a very sought after platform for both buyers and sellers looking to make a profit. The question isn’t always about finding a rare artefact; even quirky items may prove to be invaluable following an appraisal and could fetch a whopping amount in online auctions. Many of these online auctions could also serve to raise revenue for deserving charities looking for funds.

Prairie Crossing is one of the conservation oriented communities in Grayslake. 29 homes owned by the waste management of Illinois Inc. in the Prairie Crossing community of Grayslake are set to be auctioned off in a mass property auction to be conducted on July 9. In a large scale property auction scheduled to occur soon, sealed-bid auctions have been scheduled on properties located in this community area which is noted for the many amenities such as trails, open spaces, stables and organic farms. Many property owners, including realtors with homes in this area are concerned about the impact of such a large scale property auction slated to occur in this neighbourhood.

Property AuctionsThe mass property auction has raised a lot of concern and curiosity among the residents regarding what changes may be slated to occur in the neighbourhood following the sale. Each of the homes on sale are, on an average, 2500 square feet and have between three to five bedrooms each. Sheldon Good and Co who are handling the property auction say that fair market value of the homes are high as the community is one that is desirable for home buyers  and also has excellent potential as an investment option. Prairie Crossing is a neighbourhood where homes in previous sales fetched as much as $250,000-$350,000 in the last year. Since the homes are owned by Waste Management, residents are wary of what the sale may imply, as the nearby landfill has been a source of odour problems to the community in the past.

This structured sale through property auctions is expected to reduce the time required for marketing which is the case in regular property auctions. There hasn’t been a stipulated minimum bid on the houses but bids which don’t meet the expectations may also be denied by Waste Management. Offers for buying less than 29 of the homes would also be considered, however, there is no attempts to sell at the lowest prices, to sell off all 29 homes at one go. In the past, the company has sold 8 or 9 homes in a single property auction. Since markets are improving and real estate investments are being looked into again by many buyers, the company has deemed it an opportune time to sell the homes and focus on core business areas.

A retired businessman in Cape Coral, Florida is involved in a unique highest-bid-takes-it-auction for a 12,000 sq. feet, mansion with a waterfront view. James Postema worked his way up, starting as a truck driver and then went into UPS management. He decided to opt for an absolute property auction wherein the offer that is the highest, irrespective of how low it may be, will win the house. Usually, people rely on a real estate agent or property websites to market and ultimately sell their property. However, this being a sale of a very high end property, it is being marketed in a very different way through a property auction.

The advantage of such absolute property auctions, in addition to the advertising and marketing involved in such sales, is that it will attract the right kind of buyers who have enough funds to bid on such exclusive and prime properties. This seven bedroom house located on Bayshore Drive is among the most prized in the city. It has been appraised at $3.1 million by the county appraiser. If the same property was being sold in Naples, said the auctioneers, it would be sold at a fair market value of $25 million.

The Posteman’s have been trying to sell this house in order to move into a smaller home. Their primary reason for the sale has been that the wife, Judy is disabled and needs a more convenient living space that is smaller and easier to look after. Originally, it was listed at $ 5.9 million but did not attract buyers and the couple are looking to simply retire on some good savings for their old age. The realty firm was clear to also emphasize that it is not any kind of distress sale for the couple.

The home is still listed for a whopping $ 4,495,000 which is amongst the highest prices for a single family home in Cape Coral. If a sale offer comes prior to the property auction date, the couple can still choose to settle at the best price they receive should they choose to do so. Since the demand in local markets for a house this size and of such a high price is not high, the Posteman’s have opted to go for an absolute property auction to get the sale over with. The nature of advertising and marketing associated with this property is also expected to attract international buyers. Previous famous property auctions  include the beach mansion of Gianni Versace located in Miami which was sold at $41.5 million.

People don’t always find riches on the Antiques Road show on PBS, but that has not dissuaded many from scouring their great-grandmother’s attic to find true riches. The highly popular show has often had some fantastic finds and here are some of the most expensive finds recorded on this show. Most common items such as an old family bible, old china or old paintings lying forgotten in their home were not seen to hold much value when shown to antique appraisers on the show. In fact, a senior publicist on the show said these items could fetch at the most about $100.

Since its debut in the US 14 years ago, the show has been widely watched by many people across the US. Most of the time, the antique appraisers take the owners through the historical significance of the items. Eventually, the build-up on the show is quite huge where the participants and viewers wait with bated breath for the final pay-off. Here are some of the most valuable items on the show:

  1. One memorable incident occurred when a woman brought to the show some jade collections her father had purchased from China. The Raleigh episode, taped in 2009, was appraised at a whopping $1.07 million. Antique appraisers say the superior quality of the highly valuable piece along with its origins, dating back to 1735, led to such a great value for the piece.
  2. A Clifford Still oil painting depicting the Grand Coulee Dam was received by a couple as a housewarming present. It was another whopper that got antique appraisers excited. The artist was also a professor of the husband and it was valued at $500,000.
  3. Another seemingly innocuous item that was valued at $350,000-$500,000 was a silk blanket that had been in the family of one of the guests on the show. It was a piece that came from Kit Carson, a frontiersman. However, antique appraisers found it was a Navajo Chief’s blanket dating back to the 19th century. The fact that less than 50 such pieces are still intact and available according to records of antique appraisers makes it all the more valuable.
  4. Another item on the show that got antique appraisers excited was an oil painting of Senator Henry Clay done by James Henry Beard. It was valued at $300,000 to 500,000. Dating back to 1847, the show’s antique appraisers say the painting of the second most renowned politician after Abraham Lincoln was acquired by the guest’s great grandfather at an auction.

Who would have thought that a wooden slide bought on a window shopping expedition would turn out to be the last of its kind, a veritable collectible, during an antique appraisal? In the antique appraisal business, we often come across stories of interest, where seemingly ordinary items come to possess a lot of value.

One such incident is the story of a client who acquired a rare wooden slide. She was on the hunt for office furniture but happened to come across a wooden slide instead. Little did she know that something that was initially an impulse buy would have so much demand. It was only when a friend mentioned doing an antique appraisal, and considering getting it insured that the thought of it being worth more than face value, occurred to her.

Her search for an antique appraisal expert or curator who knows about vintage playground equipment led her to an astounding conclusion, that such experts were not only few, but virtually non-existent. The journey allowed her to discover more, and from what limited resources were available she gathered that it was a piece constructed in 1920, by an American firm, Hill Standard Company, based out of Indiana as a part of the Fun-Ful line of play equipment.

The earliest authenticated wooden slide was developed in the year 1922, by Charles Wicksteed, of North Hampshire, England. However, she was unable to find the right expert for an antique appraisal for this piece. She managed to find some of their equipment in the back issues of the American city magazine, but her antique appraisal still didn’t progress as her piece wasn’t in the pictures. Despite speaking to numerous appraisers and auction houses, she had no information on my attempt to do an antique appraisal. She hoped to find that there are more pieces of this very beautiful vintage slide, and that perhaps one day, it will find a place in the American history collection at a museum, when its background is revealed. Although the American history museum librarians have been helpful and encouraging, she couldn’t find a curator who is an antique appraisal expert. We came across her blog, and are in the process of valuing what could be a very valuable vintage piece of equipment. The stories behind the ‘discovery’ of an antique are often quite interesting, and the process can be quite long without the right antique appraisal expert to assist you.

On a quest for antiques appraisal, most often the items brought in include old manuscripts, such as signed copies of historical documents, or even very old family bibles. Sadly, not every one of these items ends up being worth a lot or excites antique hunters. Items that are often lying unnoticed often emerge to be a fantastic find during an antiques appraisal. It can be almost comic to explain that the relic turned out to be an old blanket lying unnoticed in the corner of a dusty cupboard, or that the dog bowl is in fact a 19th century piece of Art Pottery following an antiques appraisal visit. Here are two common questions and examples that may throw light on your personal acquisition.

I recently purchased a rocking chair, with a spring mechanism on its base with a “patented 1884” mark on it. However, related documents uncovered from a present day great granddaughter of the owner provide conflicting information about the acquisition date being 1897. Which is the right date?Antique China Appraisals

Patents dates are an indicator of the earliest date since which the item in question has been a unique product of a company. The point of the patent date is to prevent copying of the design for a set period. In this example, the purchase record authenticated through a subsequent owner would be the correct date taken in an antiques appraisal, unless there are any other markings on the chair indicating an earlier year.

I have closely followed many antique websites, and also am a big fan of the antiques road show. I recently purchased a floor vase that I believed to be an antique with a simple red script on it. I have heard that often, authentic, antique china doesn’t have much on it in terms of markings. However, I consulted a dealer who said it was just 10 years old and I’m wondering if I was ripped off by my antiques appraisal expert.

Chinese porcelain is quite a difficult subject to examine for antiques appraisal, so a clearer picture would be obtained once you consult with actual images of the artefact in question. There are many imported varieties of Chinese porcelain dating back to the 1970s which are copies of the original pieces. You might want to get in touch with us, or look at a different opinion to reconfirm the value of the piece you acquired.

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