As a certified professional personal property appraiser and owner of an 39 year-old estate sale company, I often attend the sale events hosted by my local competitors. We are fortunate in our area to have many fine companies doing their due diligence to provide competent service to deserving clients.
All too often, however, I come across items that were grossly under-priced, not because the hosting company had bad intentions, but simply because they failed to properly research the value of a specific item, or in some cases, didn't even know what the item was. This is especially true in the case of industrial tools and equipment.
At a sale just a few days ago, I noticed a mid-century pipe chain cutter designed to cut 36" diameter steel culvert pipe. When purchased in the 1950's the cutter would have cost as much as a new 4-door sedan. A new one like it today costs around $3,500.00. The estate sale company had it offered or $2.00. I mentioned to one of the helpers at the sale that I thought the price was a little low. They bristled at my advice, so I bought it.
With almost forty years under our belts, our company has liquidated everything from thimbles to crew-ships, sewing machines to farm silos. It's important to know the value and the market for every item that you sell. If you are planning to liquidate the estate of a loved one that is tool or equipment heavy, ask the liquidator about their expertise regarding the specialty tools and equipment. Check with several companies. Hire the right company for the job.
Dr. Michael E. Bowen, PhD