Friday, December 10, 2010

Larry Shapiro selling on Craig's List versus Ebay

When asked which way is better to sell personal property, Craig's List or Ebay, Larry Shapiro the owner of Appraisals and answered the often asked question with another question. "What are you selling?" If you have large usable items like furniture or a wood burning stove, Larry says: "Try Craig's List" "It makes sense to sell it locally unless it is really something rare or special". "Use Ebay for those small collectible items that are in good condition. Small antiques and collectibles and even modern electronics etc will do well on Ebay. It is a lot of work between listing, shipping, and emails, but if it only involves a few things it may be worth it. Using Paypal to get your money from the sale before you ship is a great way to avoid scams. Beware of scams on Craig's List. Have all your money in hand before you let the item go. If a buyer mails you more money than you asked for, it may be a scam. " If you don't know the value of your items and you think they may be valuable, hire an appraiser to help you out. What you spend on an appraiser may increase your bottom line a great deal."

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Appraisal for divorce written by Larry Shapiro from

Larry Shapiro from Appraisals and who is both an appraiser and buyer of antiques advises his divorce clients to approach their personal property and antique appraisal in an objective manner. Have all joint property appraised at fair market value. Do not tell the appraiser who may get what, what you may sell, or that a specific item has been passed down etc. You want the appraiser to compare apples to apples using todays market prices. If there is going to be a fair family division, then let the appraiser work without being influenced by circumstances that really are not his or her concern. When the appraisal is completed the parties involved will have a useful tool to work from. The division will be equitable and each side should be satisfied.

Friday, October 8, 2010

A great time to buy antiques collectibles

"The economy is bad." "The younger people don't like antiques." "The internet has hurt the antiques market." These are three of the most common complaints that antique dealers in the U.S. can be heard repeating over and over again at shows, auctions, and in the marketplace. Well, guess what? There is a great deal of truth in all of these statements. But, is this the first time that there has been a depressed market? No! There have been many times in the past that the market has been down. It has not alway been exactly like this trend, but nevertheless, markets have recovered in the past. It appears that there is light at the end of the tunnel. Jobs will increase. Houses will sell. There will always be collectors. Survey the situation and buy accordingly. You may not want to invest in a collectible that is being offered on the internet along with 5,000 other examples that have been mass produced. But, you may want to consider a scarce antique in any collectible field that is in excellent condition. Dealers are anxious to sell right now. They need to sell in order to pay their expenses. The buyer is now in the drivers seat.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

How to buy at an antique auction

If you want to buy antiques at auction it is wise to do your homework before the sale. Make certain that you arrive with plenty of time to inspect the items. Look closely for damage, repairs, evidence of age, and reproductions. If it is a chair you are looking at, make sure that you sit in it before you buy it. Make certain that the table you are considering is high enough to sit under with the right size chair. Check paintings with a black light to look for repairs or an added signature. Most auctioneers sell items "as is where is" so don't expect a refund on the "mistake" you made unless the auctioneer represents the item incorrectly. If the marble top table you are looking at is represented as an antique and you find out it is a reproduction, you have recourse, but if it is represented as simply a marble top table and it turns out that it was made yesterday, then you own it. Don't be afraid to ask the auctioneer beforehand if the blue paint on the blanket chest is from the period or added later. The value of that blanket chest can vary greatly when the age of the finish is taken into consideration. Get to know dealers and appraisers that you can trust for advice on objects. Many will be happy to help you unless they are interested in the same item. Set a limit to what you are willing to pay for an item ahead of the sale. Don't get carried away with your bidding. When you make a mistake learn from it. Every dealer and appraiser will make a mistake on occasion. The key is to keep them at a minimum by "doing your homework".

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Restoration of antiques/ Larry Shapiro/ Appraisals and Antiques

We are always asked the question: "Is it o.k. to restore an antique?" The answer to that question is very complicated but quite simple at the same time. Each antique, each personal situation, and each restoration project is different. If you have a piece of antique furniture with the original finish and it is missing one leg, is it o.k. to add a new leg? Of course you would add the leg. You should have it completed professionally. But, you would not refinish the whole piece of furniture. You should have the leg constructed and finished to match the original. If you have an antique blanket chest in the original blue paint but you want to paint it red, it would not be wise to repaint the chest. If the present finish is not old, it really doesn't matter.
Every situation is different. The degree of restoration, the value, and the likes and dislikes of the owner are all a concern when considering restoration. Lets say you own a rare hanging chandelier but the original hanging device is broken and you are not able to use it in your home. A professional restoration would allow you to enjoy the use of the fixture. The value of the fixture if restored properly would not be as high as if it were all original.
Don't make rash decisions when considering restoration. Consult a professional appraiser or dealer. Weigh the options and then make an intelligent choice. Over the years we have seen too many costly mistakes that people have made concerning restoration.

Friday, August 13, 2010

Buying antiques with a guarantee

Larry Shapiro owner of Appraisals and advises to "get it in writing". When buying antiques at a show or one on one from a dealer ask for a written guarantee concerning your purchase. In todays market there are many fakes, repaints, copies, etc. Know what you are buying and make sure you get a signed receipt from the seller with everything he or she has represented about the item you have purchased. Sometimes dealers are fooled when they are the buyer and pass along their mistakes to the unsuspecting customer. If the seller does not agree to the guarantee, you should just simply cancel the sale.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

antique furniture at auction today

Larry Shapiro antiques buyer and appraiser from always buying antiques and on the web at recently said: "Antique furniture in general at auction is a steal." "The current economic climate, grouped with the lag in housing sales, and the addition of the younger people habitually buying inexpensive modernistic junk has led to a downturn in the prices of antique furniture at auction today". "Everything from a victorian oak chest of drawers to an antique American highboy has been affected"." The dealers have lost confidence and money in this economic situation we are in and the market is suffering." "In my opinion, we will see an upturn as soon as houses begin to sell and when the younger set realizes that what they own for furniture is not good quality." "Right now you can buy excellent quality antique furniture at auction for half the price of what it was selling for five years ago."

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Larry Shapiro antiques and the show promoter

Larry Shapiro from an antique buyer, seller, and appraiser recently was quoted on the subject of the "traditional antique show". Shapiro said: " The traditional antique show is no longer a viable entity in today's fast paced market". He went on to say: "Everything is different today". "Dealers can't show up at a show today and expect to sell items that sold three or four years ago." "Promoters have to work harder to get dealers who connect to todays marketplace and todays prices". " The average buyer today needs to be excited by a show". "The WOW FACTOR is necessary to keep the customers coming back." "We are in a transitional period that needs fuel added to dying embers". "The market today is a buyers market". "They control the market and dealers and promoters have to listen to their customers".

Friday, July 23, 2010

Larry Shapiro from talks about the art market.

The art market is as volatile as any other market in the antique business today. Buyers must be more astute in their selection for investment. Just because an artist is listed and his or her average sale may be a certain dollar amount does not necessarily insure that the painting you are considering has a dollar amount as high as the average past sale. Now more than ever, the buyer must look closely at the subject matter, the use of color, the size, and most importantly , the execution of the work. Is is better than any of the others that have sold in the past? Is it an average work by this artist? If in fact you feel that it is a great example, you should probably buy now. If it is only average, it is a good time to sit back and wait. When the market turns around you can loosen up a bit as more and more pieces will sell more easily. In present conditions pay close scrutiny to each purchase.

Friday, July 9, 2010

Larry Shapiro from talks about buying in a difficult market

The antiques market today is difficult because of the economic uncertainty. So how do you as a dealer respond to this issue? Keep a positive attitude when buying and selling. If you reflect a negative attitude to clients who are either buyers or sellers, you are hurting yourself. Everyone is aware of present conditions. A positive and pleasant attitude will help your chances of either making the buy you want or completing that all important sale. You may not be able to pay the asking price, but negotiating with a smile goes a long way.
Larry Shapiro is an accredited appraiser with The International Society of Appraisers and the owner of Appraisals and Always Buying Antiques located in Glastonbury CT.

Friday, June 11, 2010

What is going on in the antiques market today

It is amazing to me how many people ask "What is going on in the antiques market today?" The answer is quite simple. The economy has taken a big bite out of the market. People are not selling their homes as frequently as in the past, the job market is depressed, and the average person does not have extra income to spend on or invest in antiques and collectibles. The bright spots are still in the higher end markets, but even those markets are not dependable. Lately (June 2010) we have seen a little more consumer confidence.
There have been corrections in many fields that were needed. Let's face it. Many younger people do not have interest in lots of items that the baby boomers collected. The older dealers have to be aware of new trends. Taking a short profit has become increasingly more popular amongst the savy dealers.
Larry Shapiro is the owner of Always Buying Antiques and

Saturday, February 27, 2010

What is an accurate appraisal.

Larry Shapiro of was quoted on a local radio station when asked what an accurate appraisal is. He said "An accurate appraisal is an appraisal that gives a timely value to any item for a specific reason". Shapiro went on to say. "If you are looking for the replacement value of an article, then the value would be the price you would have to pay to buy that item today at the most available level. On the other hand, the fair market value of that same item, would be less because the value would be what you could sell that item for immediately. So, if you had a sofa in your home, the replacement value would be what you would have to pay for that item at a retail furniture store and the fair market value would be the price you could get if you sold your sofa on the used market today." Larry Shapiro is a personal property appraiser with The International Society of Appraisers. He can be reached at 860 646 6808.