Frequently Asked Questions
Skinner works to realize the maximum value for your consignments. Your items receive personal care and attention in a Skinner auction, including targeted marketing, advertising, and worldwide exposure.
We want you to understand what you have, what it is worth, and whether it is suitable for sale at auction. As a full-service auction house, we are here to answer all of these questions.
What is my item worth?
When it comes to determining value, a picture is worth a thousand words. So before we accept an item on consignment, we have to see it.
When is it advisable to meet with an appraiser in person?
A specialist may respond to your online inquiry with a request to meet in person. Our Appraisal & Auction services team may reach out to suggest an in-home visit for the review of a larger collection or entire estate. We often ask for images and additional information before scheduling; you wouldn’t want an American furniture expert looking at your fine violin.
How should I prepare for an in-home visit?
Please be prepared to welcome an appraiser, have the items you wish for them to see accessible, and any prior appraisals or documentation at hand.
Do Skinner appraisers travel?
Our appraisers travel throughout New England and across the country to meet with clients and view collections for auction. Please contact us regarding the sale of your collection and we can discuss a visit.
Do Skinner appraisers participate in community events?
Skinner appraisers enjoy sharing their expertise and regularly host informative lectures, seminars, gallery walks, and appraisal days in cities and towns across New England and around the country. In addition, Skinner experts regularly accept consignments on appraisal days and share their knowledge of the history and value of your property.
Is there a fee for an auction estimate?
There is no charge for auction estimates and no obligation to consign, but we take it in good faith that requesting an auction evaluation means that you are considering selling your item at auction.
When would I need a written appraisal?
Typically, written appraisals are only for estate planning, tax, or insurance purposes. Learn more.
What is an auction estimate?
The high and low auction estimates provided by our specialists, and listed on your contract, are an expected range of value for your property and give the buyer guidelines when bidding at auction. However, an estimate is not a guarantee; your item may sell far above the estimate or below.
How do I consign?
When your items are a good match for upcoming auctions, you will receive instructions on shipping the material to Skinner or arranging an appointment at one of our locations. Next, you will sign a contract with Skinner itemizing your consignment. The agreement contains important information on how the auction process works and outlines your commission rates and fees.
What is a reserve?
Your contract may specify a reserve or a minimum bid price for high-value objects. Most property at Skinner is offered without reserve, which can work to your advantage since starting the bidding at a low price will often inspire more bidders to join in. Bidder competition is essential to earning a higher final hammer price.
What are the consignment fees?
Skinner charges a commission fee that is highly competitive, determined by the type and value of items being sold, and is negotiable. There is a fee for insurance while your objects are at Skinner, and we will discuss other fees, which may include transport, handling, photography, and are negotiable.
What happens once my items are at Skinner?
Your items will be insured and stored in our warehouse for review. Then, our specialists and marketing team will research, catalog, photograph, and market your items and place the objects in the next appropriate auction.
What type of Marketing does Skinner do?
We photograph, catalog, and describe in full all items on skinnerinc.com. If there is a print catalog or brochure, it may feature your items as well. We market all auctions digitally and share our content with select third-party partner sites. Our ads appear in print and online in newspapers, art and antique trade publications, and you’ll find us active on Facebook and Instagram.
How will I know when my items will be auctioned?
Skinner takes special care to place your property in the most appropriate auction to attract passionate and motivated buyers. You will receive a pre-sale notice to your email, including the auction name, number, and date, along with the lot numbers of your property so you can follow along on our website. If you have an account with Skinner, you will also see your items under My Consignments.
Can I attend the auction?
Yes! An auction is a fast-paced, thrilling experience for bidders and consignors alike and is open to the public. Join us on sale day at the gallery or watch the video stream for live auctions from your computer or mobile device. Our timed auctions happen online only and can be followed in real time from skinnerinc.com or our mobile app.
When will I get paid?
We continuously publish results to our website during the sale, viewable in two formats: the hammer price (or final bid price) plus buyer’s premium, or simply the hammer price. A consignor’s payment is calculated from the hammer price. A week after the auction, you will receive a results statement in your email. Consignor payments are made 35 days after the auction.
What if my property didn’t sell?
Markets can be unpredictable. You may choose to have your property returned to you, or we can re-offer the item in a future auction.