What to do When You Think Your Trash is Really Treasure

An occasional “spring cleaning” is something that we all have done, whether it’s in April or August. Every now and then, you’ll stumble upon something that you never knew you had. Maybe it belonged to your grandfather, and looks old and possibly valuable. Once you have the inclination that it may be valuable, what do you do next?

Valuation

The first thing you are going to want to do is get a rough idea of the value of the object. This is where things can get tricky. You can go on the internet and search for like kind items, however, unless you know the exact model, make, era, etc. of the object you can mislead yourself, and there is nothing worse than believing you have something worth $10,000 and then finding out it’s only worth $100 once it has been correctly identified.

You could take it to a local shop that specializes in the object. The problem with this solution is that these shops are run by people in the industry who may be a potential buyer, and this presents a conflict of interest. You could also reach out to a third-party authenticator or expert who will give you a valuation. This may cost you a little bit more in upfront cost, but it will give you a clearer idea of what exactly you have and that is invaluable moving forward.

Storage

Once you have received a ballpark estimate on the object(s), it’s time to store it properly. I will preface this statement by saying there are always exceptions, but generally you will want to limit the item’s exposure to sunlight and humidity. Both of these factors can drastically affect the quality of the item. In the majority of cases a sturdy storage bin that is both some level of UV light and water resistant will work just fine. If the item is small, presumed to be fairly valuable, and you are worried about the possibility of theft, then a safety deposit box maybe the best option. Failing both of these options, a sturdy clean drawer and a ziplock bag will work just fine until a more permanent solution can be found.

Decision

Now that the item is safely stored you have a decision to make. Do you keep it as a family heirloom? Do you wish to keep it, but would like an official valuation for insurance purposes? Or maybe you want to sell the item. The first option requires nothing more than keeping the item safe. The second option requires having an expert use their expertise and knowledge of the market to provide an estimate of what the item is worth. The third option presents you with more decisions to make. You can sell the object privately, which can be risky if you are not typically involved in the market. You can also sell the item in an auction. This is more than likely your best bet at receiving the most for your item. Auction houses have large groups of buyers that watch every one of their sales, which allows for the maximum amount of people to see your object and have a chance to bid on it. The downside could be that the object sells below what you believe it was worth, but if you have an expert give you an honest and accurate estimate this is unlikely.

In this scenario, it’s best to be patient and think about all of your decisions. Rarely will an object decrease dramatically in price in the matter of a few weeks or months. The Anders Sports, Arts & Entertainment team can help with memorabilia valuation and auction representation. Contact an Anders advisor to learn more.