Collectibles: what is an auction house?

At first I wondered if I needed to write this article, some of you might be annoyed just by the title. However, you would be surprised how many people come to visit us at Bruneau & Co. Auctioneers without having a clue how an auction house works or what it really is, which is why I decided to explain it to you here.

Auction houses typically work with consignment sellers, which means they bring your items to market and sell them on your behalf through auctions and in return receive a small portion of the sale price. Auction houses don’t buy your collection directly from you (although we can and will if you twist our arm), but it’s always in your best interest to consign. This way, the sales process becomes a team effort; When everyone is working in each other’s best interests, you and the auction house make more money. It’s won, won!

Now that you know that an auction house wins items at consignment auctions, you may be wondering how to get your items consigned and put up for auction. The first step is to have an appraiser at an auction house examine your collection to give you an estimate of the potential auction value. At Bruneau and Co., there are three main ways we offer appraisals (other homes may vary, but I’m not speaking for them!), these are: 1. Via a home visit where we come to see you and let’s take a look at everything you have. 2. By e-mail if you send us photos, and 3. By bringing items on our walk-in valuation day on Tuesday between 9am and 12pm. If you’re not sure which method is right for you, give us a call – we’re here to help!

Finally, if you’ve never been to an auction as a buyer, this is something you absolutely must do. The energy of an auction is unlike any other shopping experience. Most importantly, they are free to the public! An entry fee is a false belief that some people always tend to have about auctions. It’s not like a rock concert selling tickets (although sometimes you can find vintage concert t-shirts at auction!); auction houses want you to join in the fun and buy from them. If you love antiques, fine art, jewelry, vintage advertising, toys, comics, video games – anything cool and collectible – then auctions are for you. Stop by and visit us at Bruneau et Cie from time to time, we would love to have you!