Antique & Second Hand Value
Recommended By Trading Standards
Mark Parry Business Owner
Second Hand & Antique Furniture
Unfortunately most antique, second hand furniture and general household items have a relatively low value in the current economic climate, this is due to cheap mass production and the current availability of these items through online markets and charity shops.
Over the last few years in every town or city there have been a surge of charity shops opening up on the high street, all selling antique, second hand furniture and general household items and all within a few hundred yards of each other.
This combination of the charities coupled with the online markets has resulted in an abundance of good quality antique, second hand furniture and general household items being available at very low prices.
The Value Of Second Hand Furniture
Charity Shop Competition
The charity shop competition has resulted in a price war driving the value of good quality second hand furniture through the floor and resulting in the lower value item's becoming worthless, in the end most good quality second hand furniture now has a relatively low value, for more information about the impact of charities on the high street please click our link named charity house clearance.
There are also loads of online markets selling furniture and general household items, again this creates issues with the value of these items, the same rule applies in any market the more availability of a product there is then it's value will drop, I think at the moment furniture and general household items are at an all time low, this creates good opportunities for buyers but not so good for sellers.
What About Antique Furniture
Unfortunately antique furniture has become a thing of the past, and yes that joke was intended, it is common practice to define "antique" as applying to objects at least 100 years old, but in reality the antique trade now very rarely class a piece of furniture as Antique unless it's at least 200 years old.
And even then they would prefer Items that are in good condition with no repairs needed, which to be honest is rare for a piece of furniture that old, the above photo is of a genuine Welsh Dresser that is a couple of hundred years old and worth around £500.
Not A Welsh Dresser
We don't buy second hand furniture anymore but when we did I would get 2 - 3 calls a day from people asking me if I would like to buy their Welsh Dresser, please be aware that the above piece of furniture is not a welsh dresser it is a display cabinet and has very little if no value what so ever.
The cost of the collection, storage, resale and re-delivery of this type of item would far outweigh any re-sale value it would have, if you have a similar display cabinet to this I would advertise it on Facebook for £20 and hope someone will collect it and take it of your hands.
Auntie Ethel's Wardrobe
I'm sorry but Auntie Ethel's dark brown bedroom suite from the 1950,s just doesn't cut it as an Antique, or the Victorian Mirror Backed sideboard that has been in the family for over 100 years is now only worth around £20 - £40 on a good day, the whole market has moved away from this type of furniture, it just doesn't blend in with modern family living.
So in reality the truth is unless you live in a Stately Home or a Palace the chances of any of the dark brown furniture in an average family home being worth anything is pretty slim, you could try donating these items to charity but even they will only take a piece of furniture if its easy to transport, practical and functional, chests of draws, bedside cabinets, tall boys etc.
Value Your Item
When you sell anything knowing how to price it is obviously the most important aspect, price it it to high and it won't sell, price it to low and you will feel short changed, so how do you go about pricing your second hand items and realising their true worth, the first thing to do is to decide whether you item is worth selling in the first place.
You could just end up wasting your time and getting messed about by what the car trade refer to as "Tyre Kickers", a few things to take into consideration are condition, quality, style and desirability.
Below I have used the example of selling soft furnishing but the same rules apply to anything from clothing and collectibles to cars and furniture, the normal soft furnishings found in your average family home are beds, sofas and chairs, when it comes to beds then I think unless they are brand new and still in the wrapper then they would have no value.
Beds are a very personal item and there are very few people if any who would buy a second hand bed that someone else has slept in, this just leaves sofas, chairs and other types of soft seating.
The condition of any second hand item is obviously the main factor in its value, if the item has been looked after with a minimal sign's of wear and tare then it has a good chance of selling, but if it comes from a home of a smoker or the dog has been sleeping on it for the last ten years then you might have a problem trying to convince someone to buy it.
You item might be in good condition but if its a little bit out dated your gonna have problems selling it, due to cheap mass production there are thousands of stylish modern looking items on the market only a click away on the internet, although they may not be of very good quality there will be more modern and up to date items out there for sale.
The quality of anything will also determine how much it is worth, a perfect example would be flat pack furniture it may look modern and stylish but it doesn't travel well and falls apart, better quality items sell easily and for more money, so if your item is desirable, modern and stylish and in good condition but maybe of poor quality keep the price realistic and you should have no problem selling it.
Ok so your suite is in fantastic condition and of a very high quality and maybe even tailor made but it just might not be everyone's cup of tea, desirability is the main factor here, for example if you have a brown, black or cream leather 3 piece suite then it will be more desirable than the suite above, so you have to weigh up these factors to determine whether its worth the effort trying to sell it.
The easiest way to determine the value of anything and the method that I use is to do a search on ebay for a similar item, above as an example I have used the search term black leather suite , I have also selected used, leather and black from the links on the left hand side, this search will give you loads of examples of second hand black leather suits currently for sale all over the country, from fixed price buy it now items to auctions still running at the moment.
But the prices listed on the buy it now items are just the price that people think they are worth but it doesn't actually mean they are actually worth the price they are asking for them, for example I could ask £500 for a signed photo of myself on ebay but nobody's going to buy it so I would be wasting my time trying to sell one, just because lets say it cost £3000 new, a month after it left the show room you would be lucky if you got 10% of this price.
Check The Sold Listings
As I mentioned, the results in the above search are items for sale currently on ebay, but just because someone is asking say £200 for an item it doesn't mean it is worth £200 what you need to do is check the sold items on ebay, at the bottom of the links on the left hand side of any search page on ebay there is a link called sold listings, by selecting this link after doing the initial search you will get a list of similar items that have actually sold over the last few weeks or months.
These prices are a more realistic valuation of your item because someone has actually paid this price for the item, but please be aware these items have sold to the general public, a second hand dealer would only pay around 30% of this price if they want it at all that is, they have collection, storage, resale and re-delivery charges to take into consideration before they even start to think about making a profit on any second hand item.