Appointed Executors and Administrators of Deceased Estates are often confronted with a house to clear. A similar situation is often presented to families and solicitors when arranging a move to a care home, or when the property is to be sold or vacated.
The contents to be cleared may be antique, reproduction or modern. There may be collectables and jewellery, motor cars, motorbikes and garden machinery. To assess and gain the maximum value requires experience. So what is the best way of dealing with a house clearance?
Many people's first thought is "we should call in a house clearance firm". These businesses will very often charge to clear the house and then keep the value of any marketable contents.
But there is a much better way. Selling at auction will ensure that market value is realised for the saleable contents and will unearth and realise the value of any hidden items of value.
Bigwood Fine Art Auctioneers offers a comprehensive service. We will first make an inspection and can, at an hourly fee, provide a probate valuation if required. If this formality has already been dealt with, we will reappraise the contents and advise on the sale by auction. We can arrange independent transport contractors at reasonable rates to collect the items for sale and if required dispose of any un-saleable contents.
There are many things that you might not first consider to be of value
Furs and period designer and quality evening clothes as well as top hats, bowlers and classic leather riding boots are all very saleable at Auction. Period linen and lace as well as tapestries and needlework also feature well in our sales.
Old coins can prove to be saleable particularly if they are gold or silver and some are valuable in the collectors market. The Auctioneer will guide you, and catalogue and sell such items to ensure value is achieved.
Jewellery falls into two categories. Precious metals and stones, whether period or modern, can be particularly valuable and sell ideally in the our monthly Antique and Collectables sale. Costume jewellery is collectable and can also be sold, ideally in multiple item lots.
As Fine Art Auctioneers we now see many emerging designer and collectable names such as Herman Miller, Hans Wegner, Arne Jacobson, Ernest Gimson, Paolo Venini, Georg Jensen, Emile-Jacques Ruhlmann, Piero Fornasetti, Verner Panton, Jean Puiforcat, to name but a few. Once considered modern, these are now the antiques of the future and already in demand.
If you watch the popular television shows, you might believe that "brown furniture" is no longer saleable. This is not entirely true. We sell many and varied types of furniture in both our weekly and monthly sales.
The Completed Auction section of our website will show examples of previous sales with images and prices achieved. The Archive section also shows results of past sales.
Porcelain and glass ware can be particularly collectable, names such as Clarice Cliff, Moorcroft, Ruskin, Crown Derby, Royal Worcester, Majolica, Lalique, always prove popular in the saleroom. The market for Chinese porcelain has also blossomed in recent years with Chinese buyers keen to acquire their long lost heritage.
Bronze and ivory figures by Ferdinand Preiss, Rossi, Henri Fugere, Franz Peleska-Lunards, Samuel Lipchytz, D H Chiparus, Goldscheider, and others, have featured successfully in recent sales realising many thousands of pounds.
It is often the unexpected items that turn out to be valuable, and it therefore makes sense to instruct BIGWOOD Fine Art Auctioneers to handle your sale.
A basic guide of things to consider
- All electrical goods have to be PAT tested to be legally sold. The auctioneers can arrange this, but each item costs £ 5 to test, so it is only items of reasonable value that are worth retaining for sale. Examples which are not worth selling are kettles, toasters, irons, hair dryers, microwave ovens, cookers and other similar equipment. Many of such items often fail the test and still cannot be sold.
- Televisions and video recorders which are not flat screen or digital equipment are unfortunately considered obsolete and so are not saleable.
- Computer equipment can contain sensitive and confidential information and therefore with their very limited resale value are rarely worth selling.
- All post 1950 soft furnishings to include beds, sofas, chairs and other items with upholstery must be officially labelled as being compliant in terms of fire precautions. If they have been re-upholstered and are not labelled, a letter of certificate from the upholsterer can be used to confirm they comply. All furniture which is pre-1950 is exempt so antiques do not fall within the regulations.
- Fitted carpets, curtains, light fittings and built-in white ware equipment in the kitchen and utility/laundry are all best left with the house to enhance the sale or letting in the future. The sale value if removed is generally nominal. Good quality nearly new washing machines, dish washers, fridges and freezers, which are not built in, can be sold.
- Motor vehicles will need the V5 and MOT plus any service history if available and can be sold at auction. It is very wise to ensure there is no outstanding finance before selling the vehicle.
- Workshop tools, garden machinery and even farm machinery and equipment can be sold by BIGWOOD Fine Art Auctioneers.
- Collectors' toys are very saleable, particularly the earlier examples. Moreso when they retain their original vendor's boxes.
- Wines, spirits, champagne, port and single malt whisky, providing the bottles are unopened, can be sold in BIGWOOD'S quarterly wine auctions, another opportunity to realise value.
- If the family wish any clothes and other items to go to charity, we can assist with this process. The removal contractors will, if required, deliver such items to a local charity shop or warehouse, and donate on your behalf.
The above information may sound a bit complex but the auctioneers will guide you through the whole process and can ensure that it runs smoothly. At Bigwood, we offer a complete professional personal service under one roof.
Moving House, Down Sizing or Just Having a Clear Out
BIGWOOD Fine Art Auctioneers has many years of experience in the sale of antiques and house contents, so can guide you through the process whether it is a single item, a complete collection, a house full, or just a selection of items.
Many of the basic points of guidance are as set out above for the Executors' House Clearance.
The Sale of Collections of Valued Treasures
BIGWOOD Fine Art Auctioneers has a wealth of experience in the market place with approximately 50 sales each year at its STRATFORD-UPON-AVON Salerooms. The team of valuers has access to a range of computer databases of auction prices achieved to ensure the appropriate search can be carried out on the lots to be auctioned.
This website and the wider coverage provided for the monthly Antique & Collectables sale with images of most lots displayed ensures the optimum exposure to the world market place. The images are also displayed during the sale on large plasma screens in the saleroom. They serve as a useful reminder to bidders, and encourages them to continue bidding at the auction.valuation afternoons are held at the salerooms every Tuesday between 2pm and 5pm. For advice on over ten items and, if more convenient for our customers, we suggest an appointment is made to see one of the valuers at the saleroom at an alternative time.
BIGWOOD is a member of SOFAA and support the ANTIQUES ARE GREEN initiative. We also support and host BBC Bargain Hunt, Flog It, Antiques Road Trip and other programmes. Realise the value of your possessions at auction with BIGWOOD ring 01789 269415 or email using the contact form.