• Walt Kolenda

What/How to Sell Estate Contents, Antiques, Art & Collectibles to Cape Ann Auction

Updated: Apr 23




We get dozens of monthly calls, texts and emails asking what Cape Ann Auction buys and how to sell to us. Here's a guide we hope to be helpful.


What we Buy:


  • Estate Contents: We love to buy entire estate contents and large collections. This allows us to purchase in large enough quantities to offer our auction lots up without reserves. Their may be many items included in a large buy which we wouldn't seek out individually, The biggest reasons for selling an entire estate's content is to raise needed funds in a very fast manner & to clear out a home to put it on the market.

  • Coins: We are always interested in coins, mainly US coins. We buy coins collections, or high value coins singly or in small lots.

  • Mid-Century Modern Furniture & Accessories: Especially Danish Teak & Design,

  • Fine Jewelry: Much the same as coins, the chance to buy a fine jewelry collection or a wonderful single piece, will get us out the door faster than an auctioneer with a caffeine addiction. We pay on the spot.

  • Sports Collectibles: Generally speaking, the older the better here, but we'll look at anything. Baseball cards, jerseys, autographs etc.

  • Watches: See jewelry and coins. We'll travel a reasonable distance depending on what is in your collection, or you can bring the items to us.

  • Bronze Statues & Objets d'Art: An enormous category, but we're looking for quality here. If you're not sure, Facetime or emailed pics can be helpful. We're most interested in bronze art nouveau & art deco statues, anything related to Gloucester & Cape Ann, especially works by Walker Hancock & contemporaries.

  • Historic Gloucester MA & Cape Ann Items: From postcards to paintings, if it's a historic item or collection of items related to Cape Ann, WE WANT TO SEE IT!

  • Militaria: Especially old soldier's scrap books, medals, documents etc. From the Civil War to Vietnam.

  • Art: Of course our favorites paintings from the Cape Ann School, Rockport, But we also buy mid-century posters, pop-culture art and much more.

  • Musical Instruments and Memorabilia: Guitars, Drums, Accordions, (almost any stringed instrument) Horns, Rock N Roll Record collections, posters, concert tickets etc.

  • Books: We're VERY picky with what kind of books we're interested in, but we do buy some, mainly, local historic books.

  • Old Toys and Comic Books: They're fun, we like them!

  • Gold & Silver: From scrap gold to sterling silver flatware sets, we'll always make a fair, competitive offer!

  • Old Cameras and Photographs: By the piece or in large collections.

  • Pocket Knives - Any age, if they're of good quality.

  • Old Bottles: They present a kind of a "needle in a haystack" scenario, but we'll look.

  • Architectural items and Hardware: Construction quality and material count here more than anything.


What we DON'T Buy


In general, the items below only come to us if they're included in an interesting estate contents purchase.


  • Glass and China

  • Foreign Coins and Stamps

  • 78 rpm records

  • Collectible Figurines

  • Nascar Collectibles

  • Beanie Babies

  • Collector Plates

  • Collections in poor condition

  • Old Magazines

  • Avon Bottles and items produced in the last 50 years that were "made to be collectible"

How to Sell to Cape Ann Auction


  • Call, text or email on our contact page . If we both agree, we'll arrange a house call visit, or have you bring your items to us. We can usually tell from a quick call if you have some things we'd like to see. If not email pictures or a video call may work.

  • Entire Estate House calls: The first thing we're going to need to know is if you are ready to sell. We'll address this later. If you're not, it's best to call when you are ready. For estate contents, all we need is access to ALL areas that contain items you wish to sell. Often people do unnecessary prep work thinking they know what we're looking for. You only need to give us a clear indication of anything you want to keep, there's no need to "get everything ready". Visits usually last about an hour to 90 minutes. In many cases we'll make an offer on the spot, so it's critical to have a bottom line.

  • Specific Collections: House calls or visits to our auction warehouse with specific collections should include the entire collection of what you want to sell, laid out.

  • How to Negotiate Price: Believe it or not, this can be the most time consuming part of the process, here's how to make it painless.

  1. It's best if you have an acceptable price range in mind, at the LEAST have a bottom line.

  2. If you're having other dealers or resellers make offers, let us know when and how you'll make the decision on whom you'll be selling to. If you want the best offer, help us make the best offer by letting us know your plan.

  3. State your needs up front. Price isn't always the only consideration. Do you want the house prepared for the real estate market, aka a Cleanout? We provide this service and have never missed a closing date deadline. We're also, licensed, bonded and insured.

  4. If another family member involved in the decision, please have them present or at least available on the phone to make a decision.

  5. If you're researching prices on your own, make sure you're researching actual sold prices, not "asking" prices, and that you're comparing apples to apples.

  6. Try to avoid the "I'll think about it" answer. You'll get far better results if you can make the decision on the day of the visit. If you don't agree with the price offered, counter offer. It's a lot easier than booking another appointment with another reseller and going through the entire process again. We work very hard to make as fair of an offer as possible, we don't want to walk away empty handed. A solid yes or no will relieve stress for you and get the ball rolling. If it's a yes, you'll get a check that day! If it's no, at least you know what you won't accept, we can possibly provide references.

  7. Ask for references. If after each party gives their best and you cannot meet on price, ask for references. The community of auctioneers and resellers is vast, but tightly knit. Cape Ann Auction has a resourceful network of dealers and venues we're able to refer for decisive clients. If we can't close the deal ourselves, we're happy to help your treasures find new homes with vetted sources.

Thanks for reading and give us a call!


Walt Kolenda


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