Want to Sell Antique Furniture
Todd Sigety, an antiques appraiser in Alexandria, Va., recently got a call from a woman who wanted him to look through the contents of a storage unit that belonged to her late aunt. “She didn’t think there was anything worth keeping but wanted to make sure before she threw stuff out, ” he says. Sure enough, there wasn’t much of value—except for one painting. After a little research Sigety realized it was the work of a well-known South American artist; Christie’s will auction it this fall. The presale estimated value: $30, 000 to $50, 000.
Of course, you may not have a masterwork, or even a minor work, hiding in a storage unit. But your basement and attic may be bursting with possessions you no longer want, and you might be surprised by the amount you can pocket if you know the best ways to sell your stuff. “I find people can easily make $1, 000 to $2, 000 when they sell their unwanted stuff, ” says Carolyn Schneider, author of “The Ultimate Consignment & Thrift Store Guide” (iUniverse, 2012). You’ll be helping both the environment—your things won’t end up in a landfill—and your bottom line.
You’ll make the most money by matching your goods with the best places to sell them, whether it’s an auction house, a consignment store, a website, or a yard sale. Just keep in mind that the IRS may want a cut of your profits. It taxes the proceeds from the sale of collectibles as capital gains, generally at a rate of 28 percent.
Under IRS regulations, collectibles include works of art, rugs, antiques, metals (such as gold, silver, and platinum bullion), gems, stamps, and coins. Your profit or loss is the difference between the basis, usually your purchase price, and the sale price. If you end up selling your goods at a yard sale, however, it will likely be for much less than you paid for them, so you probably won’t owe any tax.