Large Collections

Skinner excels at handling large and valuable collections as well as entire estates. Our expert appraisers will guide you through the valuation and consignment process with sensitivity and professionalism.

What's it Worth?

Contact the Appraisal Services Team

To get the process started, contact the Appraisal Services team at 508-970-3299. The more information we have about your property, the better we can assist you by matching you with an appraiser or appraisers who have extensive experience assessing the type of material you own.

Auction Services for Major Collections

As a full-service auction house with world-wide reach, Skinner has extensive experience handling major collections and commands record-breaking prices in the domestic, specialty, and international marketplaces. We provide thoughtful, targeted marketing including dedicated auctions and full-color print and online catalogs. For example:

Our marketing outreach includes custom website landing pages optimized for search, and email and social media campaigns for featured collections.

Whether you are a collector or someone handling a large estate, we want to work with you to realize the maximum value for the collection.

House Calls

Arranging a House Call

You don’t have to bring your large collection to us – we’ll come to you. For large collections of auction-appropriate material, we will arrange a time to visit your home and view your property in person. To assess the rarest pieces or objects of exceptionally high quality, Skinner appraisers will travel worldwide.

How to prepare for a house call

Although a house call is free of charge and you are under no obligation to consign, we take it on good faith that you are open to selling objects of value at auction. After hearing the appraiser’s verbal opinions, or auction estimates, of what each object may bring at auction, you may decide which items to consign.

If the appraiser tells you that an item is not a good fit for a Skinner auction, trust their advice. We want exactly what you want from auction – the best possible selling price. For any material that we are unable to offer at auction, we will refer you to a local dealer or provide options for charitable contributions.


The Consignment Process

If your estate or large collection has been accepted on consignment, congratulations! You are in the company of experts who will guide you through the consignment and auction process in a warm, approachable environment.

1. Send in Material to be Consigned

At Skinner, a full-time in-house transportation team provides safe and efficient moving services for large consignments and estates. After your house call, we will schedule a Skinner truck to gather large property and furniture at a later date. With years of experience handling valuable antiques and fine art, our transportation team will pack and ship your property with the utmost of care and attention.

2. Sign a Consignment Contract

Review your contract carefully before signing. It contains important information on how the auction process works and also outlines the commission rate and fees that you will be charged.

The high and low auction estimates listed for each item in your contract provide an expected range of value, and give the buyer guidelines for potential purchase. The estimates are not a guarantee; your items may sell below or far above the estimates.

For objects of high value, your contract may contain a reserve, or a minimum price at which the item can sell. Most property at Skinner is offered without a 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.

3. Photography, Catalogs, and Marketing

Skinner takes special care to place your property in the most appropriate specialty auctions. We may divide large, diverse collections and estates  in order to strategically assign the property to several upcoming auctions. We place similar material together in order to attract a higher number of passionate, motivated buyers.

For collections of exceptional merit or value, Skinner offers personalized auction services including a separate catalog or auction dedicated exclusively to your collection. For example: The Early Photography Collection of Rod MacKenzie and The Andy Williams Folk Art Collection. We also create custom website landing pages and marketing campaigns for featured collections.

Working with Skinner means worldwide exposure and thoughtful, targeted marketing. This level of commitment and dedication to earning you the maximum value for your consignments takes time. Our specialists research and catalog your material, photographers take high quality pictures, our in-house production team publishes an auction catalog, and our marketing team plans advertisements, events, and outreach around the auction. This outreach includes email and social media campaigns, a press release, and a dedicated landing page on our website for each auction. High quality photographs and descriptions of your items will appear in the online auction catalog on pages that have been optimized for web searches.

4. Watch for your Pre-Sale Notices

Two weeks before each auction in which your property is scheduled to sell, you will receive a pre-sale notice in the mail. This notice contains the auction name, number, and date along with all of the lot numbers of your property. For example, your collection of fine wine may be Lots 10, 19, 34, 35, and 128 scheduled to sell in Skinner Fine Wines Auction #2840B.

You may wish to visit our auction schedule online and view the online catalog. You may also order a print catalog if you’d like to have a keepsake of the auction.

5. Attend the Auction

An auction is a fast-paced, thrilling experience for bidders and consignors alike. We recommend attending the auction where your property will sell – it’s an experience you’ll never forget.
You may join us at our Boston or Marlborough gallery, or you can watch the auction online from your computer using SkinnerLive!

6. Sold!

If you’re not watching from the audience or your computer when the hammer falls, you can check the prices realized on our website. We update the results continuously during the sale. We report two different results: a hammer price and the price realized, which equals the hammer price plus buyer’s premium. A consignor’s payment is calculated from the hammer price.

In the event that your property fails to sell, we understand your disappointment. We’re disappointed too! Markets are unpredictable, and the auctioneer sometimes has to make the strategic decision to pass a lot rather than sell it for less than its value.

In this situation, you have two choices. You may choose to offer the lot again in a future auction, or you may wish to have your property returned to you. Charges may apply for returned property. The Skinner specialty department handling your consignment can make arrangements for either of these options after the auction.

If your property sold, congratulations! Expect to receive your payment from the Skinner Accounting team 35 days after the auction. You will be paid separately for each auction in which your property was featured.