Art & Antiques with Dr. Lori: Sell online to cut out the middleman

Photo credit: Staff of www.DrLoriV.com

Your father taught you about the business concept of the middleman when you were a kid, right?

He explained that the middleman is the person who is taking an unnecessary cut of the seller’s money and driving the price up for the buyer. In the world of antiques and collectibles, the middleman used to be a necessary evil, so to speak, because there were few ways to sell an item yourself.

Well, fast forward to today and you know that if you put in the time, energy and effort to sell your stuff yourself using the best tool in your toolbox — the Internet — you can come home with a lot more money and cut out the dreaded middleman.

Need some help from the leading authority on art, antiques and collectibles — that’s me — and how to sell? As the star appraiser on Discovery’s Auction Kings, I have seen all types of things come through the auction house for sale and the auctioneer (the middleman) takes money off the top of every item — some money from the seller and some from the buyer. While traditional auctions have been in business for centuries, today sellers and buyers have other options.

First things first: if you have never sold anything online, make sure that the first thing you sell is not something ultra-valuable, like you grandmother’s Tiffany desk lamp or your great uncle Charlie’s circa 1520 map of the Straits of Magellan. Sell something inexpensive first to get your feet wet.

Make sure you have protected yourself when selling online with a secure email address and post office box to accept correspondence. Get an online appraisal of your item first so you know how to market your item correctly and so you will learn where the best places to sell your items are. My online appraisals will list for you places where items like yours have sold. They are a great roadmap for those people who want to sell their stuff. Just follow the information I provide.

You have all heard about eBay and Craigslist, but there are many other sites online where you can sell your stuff, too. I am talking about so many sites, that they are too numerous to count. Here are some interesting objects and online outlets where you can sell your unwanted objects:

1. 1970s era bell bottom jeans and women’s suits complete with big button covers and shoulder pads from the 1980s are selling well in online consignment shops. There are a host of online used clothing and accessory shops. Check them out by searching “online consignment shops.”

2. Costume jewelry may be sold on Etsy.com, JewelryWonder.com, RubyLane.com and many other sites where you can open up your own online store and post pictures of the items you have for sale.

3. Vinyl record albums are still widely traded, particularly online. Be careful of the online auctions that give appraisals too, as they may evaluate your objects at a low value so they can buy it from you cheaply. Check out restorers of jukeboxes who need the vinyl records to complete their work — some pay top dollar.

4. There is a whole online community of people selling computer parts. Don’t know anything about how to do away with e-waste? That e-waste could bring you ‘e-z’ money. Check out PCSellingCenter.eBay.com to see if you can unload that old computer that’s just collecting dust now that you have upgraded. That goes for cell phones too.

5. Donating unwanted objects to your favorite charitable organization should not be overlooked. One of the fastest ways to get money for your unwanted stuff is to donate it to a charity and get your tax deduction. Get receipts, know the limits and talk to your tax professional first.

Celebrity Ph.D. antiques appraiser Dr. Lori hosts antiques appraisal events worldwide. Bring an antique for a FREE appraisal by Dr Lori at one of her events. Dr. Lori is the star appraiser on Discovery channel. Visit www.DrLoriV.com/Events , www.Facebook.com/DoctorLori, Lori Verderame on Google+ or call (888) 431-1010.