Sunday, May 17, 2009

The Value of Sentiment

Working in the antique and estate dispersal business requires being part liquidator and part therapist. Many times we enter people’s lives during an emotional time, and when it comes to things-objects people seem to attach a lot of emotion and sentiment, especially things we grew up with, things that belonged to our mothers, fathers and grand parents. Evidenced by how many family riffs happen over the division of an estate, sometimes over Tupperware!

Part of being a therapist is listening to people’s stories and memories and sharing in the warm feelings that these pieces have brought our clients over the years. However we can never loose sight of why these people have brought us to the table - to sell this stuff in an efficient and profitable way. And when it comes to this part, sentiment has NO value.

It’s a difficult line to walk, the one between hearing and understanding the value these things have to their owners and providing them the real picture; how this stuff will be viewed by today’s market.

We discover that while some of it truly is precious, some of it is not, and the stories and fond memories which must be listened to, ultimately must be dismissed because they contribute nothing to an objects true value. It's a hard thing to say sometimes, but just because this silver was bought by great grandmother and used at every wedding since new doesn’t contribute anything to its saleability (in fact it is probably so worn out that it’s actually detracted from it).

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