November 27, 2023

“While you are alive collect moments not things, earn respect not money and enjoy love not luxuries.” Aarti Khurana

Walking through any household, no matter the value or size, we have the realization that we have a lot of “Stuff & Things”. It’s deciding what we really need and what are the things that we want? Breaking down the items of what we need for our daily lives varies for different persons. And it varies in age groups. For all the other “Stuff & Things”, it’s very personal. There is no right or wrong of what you have in your “Stuff & Things”. I feel that in today’s world, many are looking at all their “Stuff & Things”and asking the questions;

  • 1. Do I enjoy all the “Stuff & Things”?
  • 2. Are all my “Stuff & Things” making me happy.
  • 3. Or are you asking yourself, if having all of the “Stuff & Things”is in line with your goals, or is it time to consider downsizing and sell all your “Stuff & Things”?

The realization of accepting its time to find buyers for your “Stuff & Things” might be difficult depending on many factors;1.The Economy for many people is getting worse. I have noticed that buyers are having serious thoughts of what they purchase. 2. Just because you have a passion for your “Stuff & Things”,finding other potential buyers might be hard If they are into the same “Stuff & Things” as you, they might have many of the same items. 3. Geographic considerations; depends on where you live. In larger metropolitan areas like Toronto, Montreal or Vancouver you have a greater population density. These cities have a varied population, and a greater chance of attracting the attention of a potential buyer. 4. The item(s) or classification of your “Stuff & Things”depends on where the item will potentially be sold. Will it be Kijiji, Facebook Marketplace, personal ads, an antique dealer, an auction house, or a Pawn shop? There are issues depending on what you have, how fast you want to dispose of your item(s) and which area you are in? You will have to determine the Pros & cons of each.

Many families are considering selling items, which were held more dearly in the past, are now open to selling these treasures.

Jewelry — most of the jewelry today, only has value for its melt value. Many buyers would not be concerned with the gemstone(s) or diamond(s), unless the person examining the jewelry is a registered gemologist. If the piece is thought to be ancient, let’s say 150 or more years old, then you might have a piece that has historical value, more valued than the gold or silver melt value. In all cases, having a trained examiner who is a specialist in their field is important. Do not trust anyone unless a person has the skill of a gemologist or qualified jeweler or gold-silversmith. Values of replacement cost are useless, unless you want to insure an item. What you are looking for is market value. Which you will find is different, and a lot less than the replacement cost of the item.

Liquor & Fine Wines — I know it’s hard to believe, but there are multi-generation households that collect unopened bottles of scotch, brandies, whisky, etc… Or collections of wine, dating back to the 1700’s. In the SDG counties, Brockville & Kingston, I have come across collections of scotch & whiskey dating back 200 years or so. These bottled treasures will fetch high values in auction houses in Toronto. I realize the desire to open a bottle for a taste is strong, but doing so will destroy its potential value. On wine collections, bottle rotation, location of the stored bottles, temperature, and re-corking are important. The label should be readable. Wines are difficult to sell. Many of the older European vineyards have their own underground storage, cataloging, and verification of the bottles on an annual basis. Plus, there is a big difference between a winery that produces wines to be sold to a mass market VS a private limited run of a vintage crop of grapes.

Classic cars or Motorcycles — we all know someone who has a babied vintage, classic, muscle or sports car, or a vintage motorcycle. For whatever reason, more are coming on the secondary marketplace. Not all classic or antique cars are valued in the same way. Pre-1940’s cars have dropped in value, as the population ages, the connections older generations had with these cars are dying. I have seen many project cars that would have to be restored, with the owner finding out the perceived value is not what he or she thought. Reason, the car auctions in North America have a glut of restored pre-1940’s cars which are not selling. Today’s labour cost and time to search out used parts is a major factor when deciding what to do. Unless it’s a personal goal to restore that car for some reason. Personal Note: I had an assignment in New Jersey, where the owner had his grandfather’s collection of 29 1929 Cadillacs of different models. These were all cars, which were not properly stored, and many were disassembled to some point. So they were all potential candidates for restoration. The grandson, who was in his sixties, thought he had a fortune in his barn / storage. Sadly, that was not the case. The present market is selling these vintage cars for far less than what it cost to fully restore them.

Motorcycles of pre-1940’s are in demand, and fetch high values. As well as vintage classic American bikes. It could be a project bike to be restored or a fully restored bike. Having all the pieces of a bike increases its value. Condition, how a car or motorcycle is stored and maintained are very important factors to its value.

Fine Art – Canadian or Old European, the marketplace is still very hot for Canadian art, mostly for artists that are members of the Royal Canadian Academy of Arts (RCA). Any of the original group of Seven artists are highly sought. Do you have a piece of work by Franklin Carmichael, Lawren Harris, A. Y. Jackson, Frank Johnston, Arthur Lismer, J. E. H. Macdonald, Frederick Varley, A. J. Casson. Or maybe Tom Thomson or Emily Carr. You never know. Also popular are the students of the above artists, their works stand alone, and are very sought after. European masters are found in the oddest places. What was brought over by a family member a long time ago, might be something yet to be discovered and sought after in the art world. The biggest problem is that it’s impossible to be an expert in everything art. Personal Note: In any assignment where there are questions, we use the resources of colleagues within the industry.

Sadly, these items are not considered “Hot” VIS a VIS the marketplace. There are items, which are in demand, for this article, we are looking at a more generalist view of what is “NOT” sought after.

Furniture — unless it is upper or lower Canadian, or mid century, or Danish or Canadian Teak, or is of a very quality Canadian manufacturer using exotic wood, that is no longer available to use.

Dishware, Ceramics, Pottery — there will always be sought after pieces, or patterns, but for most households, it’s better to use what you have and enjoy it. (Case in point) the younger generations do not want the hassle of something that is not dishwasher safe or you can not put into a microwave. There are exceptions to certain ceramics and pottery, which are sought after in the Decorative arts.

Glassware & Crystal — for most households, glassware has little resale value. The exceptions are specialty glassware where royalty or highly visible events with a very limited run of production. Crystal is very popular, unless the pattern and manufacturer was very unique, crystal buyers are very picky. The manufacture of crystal has not changed much in the last 150 years. If you had crystal from the 1600 to 1800’s, then you have potentially high value items.There is special blown glassware that is sought after in the decorative art world that has high value.

Disclaimer Prestige Evaluation Inc. does not engage in any buying or selling of any personal property. Prestige Evaluation Inc. can not do any verbal appraising without a work file and consultation. It’s important for the seller to do his or her own due diligence, before accepting an offer to purchase.

Next Article: The Scams, Counterfeits, The Hidden Lies

About the Author: John H. Grow, ISA-AM, is a partner in the appraisal firm of Prestige Evaluation Inc. The firm specializes in antiquities, watches, clocks, jewelry, fine art, and collectables in general. John works with clients worldwide, museums, corporate, foundations, financial / Insurance firms and government agencies and on radio and television shows and charity appraisal fairs. A long time member of the International Society of Appraisers. (ISA) Prestige Evaluation Inc. can be found at and Grow’s email is [email protected]

  • John Grow

    John H. Grow, ISA-AM, is a partner in the full-service appraisal firm of Prestige Evaluation Inc. and writes about property appraisal.


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