Arts of Native America
How To Sell Your Collection

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How do you go about selling your Native American item?

We constantly get e-mails from folks wondering what the value of an item might be, or wondering about how to sell an item(s) that they may have in their collections.

Here are some tips and considerations for you.  There are many ways to sell your piece, but each has an upside and a downside to it.

Our first tip: Know what your asking price is for your item.  Or, at least what you would like to receive price wise for your item.  Then go to work and look at your options.  Here are several of them for you to consider. 

Have a catalog of your items.  This should include images of each individual item, sizes and general description including any flaws in the item, origin and artist, age, etc.  We've included an example of what we're talking about here.  (Catalog Example)  You will need this information before you even begin to sell your collection.

Do Some of Your Own Research First. 
With the Internet this really is not difficult.  Search by artist name, item (i.e. Navajo rugs), and look at recent auction sales from houses such as Cowan's Auctions, Bonham's and others. Also check e-Bay for comparable items. Google American Indian Art Auctions.

This is a great starting point to help you determine the value of your items by comparing items similar to yours.  Then you have several choices:

Sell your item directly to a collector.  This is the way that you can realize the greatest return possible.  But it also is the most difficult to find that "buyer" unless you do a garage sale.  And that isn't the answer.

Sell your item to a gallery.  You can sell your item to a gallery.  Typically you and the gallery will determine a likely market (retail) price for your piece, based on the recent sales of comparable items.  A gallery will probably offer you 50% of the prevailing retail market price for your item.  Most galleries don't buy outright, but may consider taking your item on a consignment basis. (The upside of selling is that you will realize an immediate payout...but not as much as if you consign your piece to a gallery.) At River Trading Post we only accept high very high quality items on a consignment basis.

Consign your piece to a gallery.  You can consign your piece to a gallery.  But be aware that it can take a while to sell your "very special piece."  Maybe even a few years
But your odds of selling your piece are much greater on a consignment basis, even it it takes time to do it.  And, in the long run, you will realize a greater return than you will from selling it outright. Usual consignment fees from a gallery range from 40% to 50% of the selling price.

Place your piece at auction.  If you have a serious quality item, you might consider placing your item for sale at an auction.  There are but a few auction houses that we would recommend (Bonham and Butterfields, Cowan's, Sotheby).  The great thing about auctions is that you might have a quick sale for your item at a price lower than you might expect and you have to be prepared to pay sellers fees, and other fees charged to you by the auction house.

How River Trading Post Can Help You

If you have an item, or a collection, of fine Native American pieces that you wish to liquidate, call us.  We will be happy to discuss alternative approaches to selling your items that will best meet your own needs, including simply placing your items at one of the top auctions. 

Don't Know How Much Your Item is Worth?

While we aren't appraisers in a literal sense, we know enough about things that we can give collectors a solid idea about the value of many items in today's market. We are happy to do that for you for a very nominal fee.

If you wish an appraisal or a formal valuation of your entire collection, including a detailed report, we suggest that you read about appraisals, valuations and how we may be able to help. Read our guide:
River Trading Post American Indian Art Evaluation Services.

If you consign your item to River Trading Post, your item will be featured in one of our galleries (Chicagoland, or Scottsdale) and on our website.

There are ways to market the item that you want to sell.  If it is a quality item.

If you believe that we can help, just call us.  Toll free -866-426-6901.