Auctions are an outstanding way to have great time, and raise a lot of money at your next charity or benefit event. You already have a willing and charitably minded audience, let the auction process take that charitable spirit to another level.


A properly staged and managed charity event is a fun and exciting time for people to get out, socialize, and support a great cause that they care about. Add to this the chance to compete with one another for a great deal on some fantastic products and/or services, and you have the perfect recipe for a super successful fundraiser.


Using a combination of Silent and Live auctions is a great way to maximize the fun and energy in the room, and motivate your benefactors to actively participate. Some people aren’t comfortable bidding aggressively in a live auction setting, but they love the idea of a silent auction. Most people really enjoy both once they get going, but the live auction is always where you will make the most money. Keep the biggest and best items for your live auction.

Fundraising Auction Tip: You should always provide potential bidders with a printed Auction Listing of both your Live and Silent Auction items at any Fundraising Auction. A printed Auction Listing is vital for several reasons:

  • An Auction Listing informs bidders of the order of sale, and what is coming up next. If you keep your bidders guessing, they will simply not bid.
  • If bidders are not 100% certain of what they are bidding on, they will not bid. A printed Auction Listing should answer any and all questions about what is being sold in order to encourage bidders to bid as much as possible.
  • Bidders often need time to plan their bidding strategies, especially on multiple and/or larger value items. A printed Auction Listing helps them to do that.
  • Couples often need time to consult with each other about what they are willing to spend on something. A printed Auction Listing helps them to do that.
  • Potential bidders need to know the specifics, the benefits, and the restrictions on any item they are going to bid on, especially on travel and/or other higher value items. A printed Auction Listing should answer all of their questions, in writing.
  • After bidders see that they have lost an item to another bidder, a printed Auction Listing makes it easier for them to re-strategize on what else they can bid on.

Printed Auction Listings generally come in 3 forms:

  1. Printed in the Event Program or Auction Catalog.
  2. Printed on loose sheets of paper and hand-inserted into the Event Program or Auction Catalog.
  3. Printed on loose sheets of paper and hand-delivered to all attendees, or left on each dinner table in the room.


Why use a Professional Auctioneer instead of a Local Celebrity or Key Figure?


Professional auctioneers are trained to politely squeeze as much money out of a room as possible. The auctioneer knows how to read a group, can usually sense when there is another bid or pledge left on the floor, but can also keep the process moving forward so it doesn’t seem like you are begging.


By all means, have Celebrity involvement if at all possible, but use these folks as the Master of Ceremony or as a speaker. Let the Auction Pro do what they do best.



Portions of the article adapted and edited for content from material published at

Are your parents, your grandparents, or perhaps you at a transition phase in your lifetime?


What is a transition phase?

Here are a few examples:

  • Moving into a new home
  • Moving from a larger home to a smaller home
  • Moving to a retirement facility or an assisted living facility



What do you do with all of the things that you no longer have space for? What do you do with the things you no longer want or need? what do you do with your art, antiques, collectibles, furniture and general household items that you just really don’t have the space for anymore?


It would be a waste to put them away a storage and then bear the burden of the cost of storing until the inevitable happens, which happens to all of us, when we pass on to that final transition.  Then everything is left for those who we’ve left with the responsibility to deal with all of those things.


A better solution to hauling and storage is to “right-size” your estate as you go through each transitional phase of your life.

Work with a professional and go through a thorough process of trimming down those things that you really no longer have a need for.

Turn those assets into cash that you can use to help fund your transition period, or to do some things that you always wanted to do.


If nothing else invest that money or set it aside so that when the final transition occurs, that money will be there to take care of any final expenses and/or to pass on to your heirs.


Working with a professional Auctioneer and/or Appraiser is your best option for right-sizing. They have the experience, the expertise, and the resources to help you minimize your “stuff”, while maximizing the money you receive for it on sales day.


If you would like more information, or to schedule a free initial consultation about right-sizing, please call or email us today.



If you own antiques, collectibles, expensive jewelry, firearms or other high-value items, you may think you have a rough idea – or even a fairly informed opinion – on what they’re worth.

When looking to insure those items or obtain a value before selling/donating them, you must seek out a personal property appraisal.

Why You Need a Personal Property Appraisal.

Some people think their informed opinions or educated guesses are sufficient. We disagree with that notion.

Experienced appraisers are skilled in determining an item’s value using tools and expertise the rest of us probably don’t have access to. Plus, while your opinions may be educated, they will not hold water with an insurance company, estate attorney, gallery owner or the all-powerful IRS.

For these reasons, a professional appraiser can provide the official documentation you need to prove an item’s value for:

  • Estate settlements
  • Insurance purposes
  • Sales or donations

If you’ve never had an appraisal in the past, you might not know what to expect, or even how to get started.

Here’s a quick overview of the appraisal process, including how to choose an appraiser and what happens during and after the actual appraisal.

What Items Should be Appraised?

Generally, any item you believe may have significant value should be appraised. You can also do preemptive research about your item or similar items online to determine if they might be valuable.

Here are a few items that we have seen people request appraisals for:

  • Expensive jewelry
  • Designer antiques
  • Valuable collections
  • Sterling silver
  • Vintage watches
  • Porcelain
  • Paintings


What You Should Look for in an Appraiser.

For very specific items, you may want to select an appraiser who has experience in providing appraisals for your specific type of item. For example, someone with experience in valuing artwork, jewelry, or Civil War items.

For a broad range of items such as an estate, or mixed lots of valuables, you will want to hire an appraiser with a wide range of knowledge. Auctioneers are an excellent choice for general or diverse types of appraisals as they sell many varied types of property in their business.

A search of your state Auctioneer’s association or the National Auctioneer’s Association is a good starting point to find Auctioneers and/or Appraisers. You can also find state and national Appraisal organizations.

You can also inquire about price – most appraisers charge from $100 to $400 per hour or a flat fee for an appraisal of many items. Still, while the cost is certainly a factor to consider, experience and expertise are what you really need to screen for first.

How Do Appraisers Determine the Value of an Item?

Experienced appraisers use tools to help assess an item’s value, including past sales data, condition and history (or provenance) of the item itself.

They also rely on standards and guidelines set forth in the Uniform Standards of Professional Appraisal Practice (USPAP), which contains Congressionally-authorized valuation standards.


When Appraisals are Influenced by Intent.

Interestingly, the value the appraiser assesses is also determined in part by the reason for the appraisal.

For instance, valuation for insurance purposes will be based on the item’s replacement cost with one of similar value. On the other hand, an item assessed for sale or donation will be based on a fair market value – that is, how much the item would sell for at an auction, gallery or another venue

If your item has historical value, the appraiser may need to invite an expert who can authenticate your item before a value can be determined.

A word of caution:

An appraised value doesn’t mean your item will sell for that amount. It may still sell for more or less than the appraised value, which is used more for a benchmark to establish an initial bid or a sales price.

You Got an Appraisal. Now What?

To some degree, your next steps depend on the reason for your appraisal.

If your appraisal is serving as the basis of an insurance application, you’ll need to forward copies of the appraiser’s findings to your insurance agent so you can obtain the appropriate rider.

For a sale, the appraisal will serve as the basis for your asking price, whether you’re selling to a dealer or to a private party. If you’re using an auction service, the auctioneer will use the appraisal to determine your starting bid and also to build interest in your item among potential bidders.

In any case, your appraiser will provide you with a report highlighting a detailed identification of the item that was appraised in addition to the appraisal value. This value is what will be used to determine the amount of insurance coverage you’ll need to ensure your item is amply protected in case of loss or damage.

Insuring Your Valuable Items.

Appraisals are just the first step to protecting your valued personal belongings. The second step would be to make sure that all of your valuables are scheduled on your insurance policy.


Originally posted at . Edited for content and relevance 

So how can auctions benefit you, as a seller? Why are they the best way to sell personal property? Well, there are a number of reasons

  • Speedy Process, Quick Turnaround.
    An auction is immediate. It happens during a set time and is completed during that time. It’s quick and efficient.
  • You Set the Time and Place of Your Sale.
    It’s as simple as that. You work with the auction firm to schedule what works best for you.
  • You Know Exactly When Your Property or Goods Will Be Sold.
    There’s no wondering whether or not your property will sell. It WILL sell and it will sell during the set auction time.
  • Comprehensive Marketing of Your Property.
    Part of conducting an auction is marketing it to the general public to get as many people there as possible. Auctioneers have comprehensive mailing lists they use to market their sales. They run advertisements, distribute fliers and more. They are marketing specialists. A good marketing effort can easily bring 300 to 400 people to your auction, or more!
  • Buyers Come Prepared to Buy.
    Auction goers come with money in their wallets, pockets, and hands and are prepared to come home with property. It’s a seller’s delight. For real estate auctions, this is especially advantageous because buyers must qualify to buy through a deposit of a certified or cashier’s check.
  • No Negotiations.
    There is no haggling over price or merchandise. The auction method is quick and efficient. When people bid, they make a commitment to buy the property at that price without discussion or debate.
  • No Leftovers and Little Clean Up.
    Every item at an auction goes up for bid and every item is sold. How many of you have ever had a garage sale and when you’re finished, you spend hours packing up what didn’t sell and looking for places to store it? With an auction, there’s no worry about what to do with leftover items because there aren’t any. This means very little cleanup, also.
  • Competitive Bidding.
    Auctions motivate buyers to perform. People get caught up in the competitiveness of the bidding and many times this drives the price of items higher. To some, it’s like a game, and they want to win at all costs (or hopefully for you, at high costs!) And did you know that 9 times out of 10, an auction brings in the fair market value, if not more, for any item put across the auction block?
  • Exciting Atmosphere.
    There’s no more exciting atmosphere than an auction. Crowds of people competing for property, combined with that lively auction chant makes for some great entertainment and fun. (Give them a sample of your chant.) It makes people feel good and makes them feel like spending.
  • Auctions Work Well in Both Good and Bad Economic Times.
    People love auctions because they love sales. Statistics show, in a good or bad economy auctions remain a steady force. When the economy is bad, the auction industry does not feel the impact: people still flock to auctions.