How to Sell Antiques: Your Indispensible Guide

28 Mar 2011

If you’re looking to sell antiques, there can seem to be endless options out there. Should you sell antiques online or off? What considerations should you take into account when you sell and which method will suit your needs?

In this feature, we’re exploring these issues in depth, providing you with an indispensible guide to help you sell antiques.


Before you sell antiques…

Before you decide how to sell antiques, have a think about your goals and what’s important to you. Here are some things you might want to consider:


  • Security/safety: When you sell antiques, it’s vital that your transaction remain safe and secure. Make sure you only use secure payment methods and try to learn as much as you can about any business you use to sell antiques. As a general rule, don’t invite in anyone who knocks on your door claiming to buy antiques.


  • Sentimental value: What if you sell antiques and then regret it? After all, many items have sentimental value which we might not appreciate until they’re gone. If you’d like to sell antiques with the option of changing your mind later, look out for options that give you a cooling off period or time to buy your item back.


  • Cost: Before you sell antiques, check out whether your chosen option involves any fees, charges or interest and, if so, how much. These details should be contained in any contract or terms and conditions you receive, but don’t be afraid to ask.


  • Ease of sale: How much time and effort do you want to spend to sell antiques? Some methods are quick and simple, whilst others take more time or may require travel or endless form filling.


  • The Markets: Depending on what material your item is made of, its value may be affected by the markets. If it’s made of precious materials such as gold or silver, keep an eye on its market value.


  • Sale guaranteed? In the field of how to sell antiques, some methods guarantee a sale within a period of time, while others don’t.


How to sell antiques: Your Options

There are many different ways to sell antiques – from selling antiques online to joining a local car boot sale – each one tends to have its own pros and cons. Here, we’ve set out and weighed up some of the most popular methods:


  • Antique dealers:
    • You can either sell antiques directly to an antique dealer or they might offer to sell them on your behalf.
    • There’s no set way to sell antiques to an antiques dealer. When you show them your item, they will value it and may offer to buy it from you or to help you sell it.
    • The good thing about selling antiques via a dealer is that they are often local and experts in their field. Therefore, the price they’ll offer you for your item is likely to be a fair estimate of its value. On the downside, their fees are usually on the higher side and there is no guarantee that they will want to buy your antique – that all depends on the item and its saleability.


  • Online:
    • The online world is an increasingly popular way to sell antiques. The advantages of selling antiques online can be seen with Not only is it fast and simple, but it’s also totally free to sell antiques with us.
    • We offer you instant cash for your antiques. To find out how much you could get, all you need to do is upload a photo of your item or describe it to us and we’ll give you a free quote with no obligation to sell.
    • Your cash goes straight into your account quickly, safely and securely. In fact, every element of is secure.
    • Even when you decide to sell antiques online with, you have time to change your mind. To be precise, you have 62 days from the date of sale in which to buy your item back for exactly the same price.
    • We never charge you a penny to sell antiques online with Everything from collecting your items and even returning them if you choose to buyback is totally free.


  • High street pawnbrokers:
    • A pawnbroker isn’t exactly a way to sell antiques, but the effect can be the same. In fact, a pawnbroker gives you a secure loan for your antiques for a set period of time.
    • If you don’t collect your item within that period of time, it’s like you’ve sold it.
    • However, if you wanted to get your item back, you would need to pay back the sum borrowed plus interest for every month – or part of a month – that your item remained at the pawn shop. For these purposes, part of a month can be as little as a single day.
    • Pawning your antiques can end up being fairly costly, especially as the rate of interest charged can be very high.


  • Car boot sale:
    • If you have a collection of items, you might choose to sell antiques in a car boot sale.
    • This option is more flexible than some, putting you – and your haggling power – in control of the price.
    • However, there’s no guarantee of a sale and standing outside for hours on end manning your stall can be a difficult and often frustrating experience.
    • Buyers coming to a car boot sale are often looking for bargains; it is very rare that a piece of art or an antique sells there for its fair market value.
    • If you’d like to sell antiques through this method, you might want to join an organised car boot sale, although the fee for this may cut into your profit. If you want to set up you own, check with your local council as to what’s involved and where to sell antiques in this way – you’ll often require a licence.


  • Auction:
    • To sell antiques via auction, you place them up for bidding at an auction house. The person with the highest bid wins.
    • On the plus side, auctions often end up mirroring the market value of an item or, if there’s an enthusiastic crowd, it may even be the subject of a bidding war. Of course, if the auction house is empty on the day or the right people aren’t there, it can mean the price bid is below value.
    • Remember that, once the gavel strikes, that’s it and the sale is final.
    • If you have a minimum price in mind, you can set a reserve below which your item will not sell, but bear in mind this means that a sale is not guaranteed.
    • From the cost of photographing your item for the catalogue to the fees, to sell antiques by auction can be expensive.


Getting ready to sell antiques – your first step

Once you’re in a position to sell antiques then it’s time to find out how much you can sell them for. This is simple if you’re selling antiques online with Just upload a photo of your item or describe it to us to get your free, no obligation quote.

You can even get quotes on other items, so if you’re looking to sell pens, sell silver, sell watches or sell diamonds you can get a free quote for any valuable item.