Chinese Antiques Collection ? Are you Downsizing?
Chinese antiques collection downsizing requires very careful attention as things have changed. If you're downsizing a collection of Asian art collected long ago, you might be in for a shock. (in a good way!)
The term Downsizing has in the last 15 years come into America's vernacular as a term of lifestyle transition. Specifically referring to folks who've finished raising their kids, perhaps paid off the house(s) and are now ready to enter a less complicated lifestyle.
Downsizing a house full of antiques along with everything else is a bit more complicated than a home with "general stuff" in it. While our primary focus in the business is on Chinese antiques collections, the basic rules for handling all antiques smartly are similar.
Does this sound familiar?
During your life to this point you've bought some great things. Some fine art, good antiques from europe and America, silver, decorative accessories, Asian art and antiques. Perhaps you've inherited some great objects along the way as well.
- Maybe someone spent many years carefully gathering and building a Chinese antiques collection of exceptional quality. Then simply left it behind when they passed away long ago and has been in storage ever since. This scenario has happened more times than I can count.
Now the old house suddenly seems much too big or perhaps is not located where you wish to live for the next 20 or 30 years. Here in New England you may just be sick of the snow and want a warmer place to live with lower taxes. Perhaps you may be planning on doing a lot more travelling and don't want the worry of leaving an empty house for part of the year. It may be all of the above.
You may also find from a practical standpoint you have too many furnishings to incorporate into your new life. After all moving from a 3,500 to 8,500 sq. foot house to one half that size usually requires some culling out.
Chinese Antiques Collection Downsizing 101, some do's and don'ts
Downsizing generally falls into two general categories when it comes to objects.
- General Stuff; i.e electronics, non antique sofas, upholstered chairs, kitchen sets, post 1900's tables, factory made table lamps, pots, pans, everyday dishes, stainless steel flatware, powertools etc..
- Art and Antiques; i.e. fine art, sterling silver, persian rugs, fine antique furniture, American folks art, antique Asian objects, rare engravings, rare coins, 19th C. European porcelains, bronzes, rare fly fishing equipment and old hunting guns etc.
When it comes to downsizing a Chinese Antiques Collection, pay close attention on how to proceed.
Handling a Chinese Antiques Collection, first steps
Don't Procrastinate on Dealing with objects.
- Once folks have made the big decision to relocate, there is often a tendency to put off some things. Deciding what to do with surplus furnishings, art and antiques until after he house is under agreement is often a mistake. 95% of all real-estate brokers tell sellers to leave the house furnished. This is ok, but silly, however it doesn't mean you cannot start preparing for an orderly disposition of excess furniture and objects.
- The problem often becomes most sales contracts call for a 30 day closing period. This will seem like the shortest month in your life if everything is left to deal with during this time, so start early.
- Once the house is listed, decide then (or sooner) what you will want to keep, will need to be sold, given to children, friends and local institutions. Then contact them all immediately and let them know the clock is ticking on a decision.
- Get the ball rolling early.
Don't call the Yard Sale people first, never!
- They go right at the bottom of the "To Do list", right above "Call for the Dumpster" .
Despite their advertising and glowing recommendations from a hairdresser or next door neighbor most Tag Sale people know nothing. Their mistakes have caused losses in the hundreds of millions of dollars across America for sellers and NO you cannot sue them later. (Its been tried)
To drive the above point home about yard sales, here are a two good reasons (horror stories..) As a friend of mine has said many times,
"Yard sales have made more people millionaires than Microsoft". Click either link below to read up on how badly things can go wrong.
Ok? Now you probably do not have a 2 million dollar bowl or a set of Ansel Adams pictures. BUT you could very easily have something you've used or had around the house for years that might very much surprise you. Today, people who bought years ago or have inherited a Chinese antiques collection, are in for a very happy surprise.
DO call in a reputable well known, experienced Antiques and Art dealer.
A few resources for finding a good dealer or Appraiser to advise you.
- Perhaps you might already know one?
- If not think about people you know among your peers who's judgement you trust on such matters and ask them for recommendations.
- Have you had an appraisal done in the last 10 years? While not all appraisers buy, sell and broker collections, they often know who does.
- Ask your attorney who they use for Estate appraisals of antiques and art.
Do call prospective dealer(s) right away, ask questions.
Most good dealers are very busy and do not like being rushed or called at the last minute. So get in touch with one or a few early on.
- Tell him or her exactly what your plans are and what you need.
- Ask about options for selling things, i.e. outright sales, consignment, appropriate auctioneers in the area etc.
- Ask about time tables for selling things, antiques are generally not always very liquid. So do not be surprised to hear it may take a few months to sell things.
- Ask about commissions, depending on the values it can range anywhere from 20% to 40%.
- Ask how long has the dealer been in the business? 20 or more years as a minimum is good, 30 or 40 years is best.
- Does the dealer have good relations and a track record with top regional and international auction houses for making consignments on your behalf?
- Do you feel comfortable with the person you've called? When dealing with the disposition and sale of personal property, especially art and antiques. The chemistry between you and the dealer you're working with is very important.
Downsizing a good general Antiques or Chinese antiques collection should result in two things, money and less stress, if done properly.
If you're having trouble finding someone you feel you can rely on and are comfortable with , feel to call us for a referral. We've been in the business since 1979 and know some terrific dealers pretty much everywhere.