Does Your Insurance Cover That?

It pays to read your policy. You should have General Liability Insurance to cover injury, damage or theft during your estate sales, but do you know exactly what is covered? An incident at one of our sales lead me to take a closer look at our policy, and revealed some interesting details.

 

Guidelines for a “Partial” Sale


We were contracted to perform an estate sale for an elderly couple moving to assisted living. They were selling most, but not all, of their belongings, and they were still living in the house. Some companies don’t accept sales under these circumstances, but we do. And we have very specific rules that we clearly communicate to the client, both in our conversations and in our contract.

  1. Any items that are not to be sold must be either secured by the client, or removed from the home prior to the start of the sale.
  2. All jewelry and other valuables must be removed from the home.
  3. We are not responsible for any items left in the home that are not part of the sale.

 

An Unfortunate Occurrence


The husband showed early signs of dementia, which was confirmed by the wife. Apparently he didn’t remember our instructions about securing valuables and jewelry. He removed two rings from his fingers and left them on the bedroom dresser before the sale. Despite having workers throughout the house who are trained to watch for theft, within ten minutes of opening the sale both rings had been stolen. It only takes a moment to slip something like a ring into a pocket, and it’s gone. Naturally, both the husband and wife were distraught, and asked us to check if our insurance would cover the loss.

 

Check with Your Agent


  1. I’m familiar with our policy and was sure the theft (also called a “mysterious disappearance”) would not be covered. But when I called our insurance carrier and talked to them, I was surprised to learn a few things about our policy.
  2. If the rings had been included as part of the sale and were stolen, they probably would have been covered by our policy.
  3. If the home had been broken into and the rings (or other items included in the sale) were stolen, they would have been covered as long as there was evidence of the theft (broken door, window, etc.).
  4. If we broke or damaged an item in the home, it would have been covered by our policy.

 

A Thorough Inventory


Our insurance representative emphasized the importance of having a complete inventory of all items contracted to be sold, including photos and descriptions. You’ll have photos of larger items you use to advertise your sale, but do you have photos and descriptions of smaller, valuable items such as jewelry, coins, sterling, gold, and art? You should include photos as part of your inventory (attached to your contract), along with copies of any appraisals. This is particularly important in the case of vacant homes, since the chance of an overnight break-in is higher.

 

Check Your Policy and Contract


Even if you’re sure you know what your policy covers and what is in your standard contract, it’s always a good idea to review both from time to time. Have specific language in your contract stating that non-sale items must be removed or secured by the client, and that you are not responsible for any non-sale items left in the house. You may also want to point out to your client that a theft of this nature may not be covered by their homeowner’s policy.

  • Donna

Donna Davis has over twenty years of experience in the antiques and estate sale business, and conducts sales every weekend in the Greater Atlanta Area. She is also the Founder and Director of the National Association of Estate Liquidators, and Lead Instructor of NAOEL’s online school. You can contact Donna by email at donna@naoel.com or by phone at 800-521-8820.

Become a Member of the National Association of Estate Liquidators and enjoy all of the benefits we offer.

 

Judith Leiber Purses

Proof that good things come in small packages, we came across this little gem in one of our recent estate sales.

What is a Minaudiere?


This petite crystal-beaded purse, called a minaudiere, was designed by Judith Leiber. Her purses and handbags are known for their intricate detail and fanciful designs, with animal designs being among the most valuable. New, these little handbags start at around $5,000, and vintage bags can sell for $1,000 and up. So, if you think you may have a Judith Leiber bag in your estate sale, be sure to research its value carefully, and keep it secure during the sale. Our bag came with the accessories shown, which can increase its resale value.

Is It Genuine?


Because of the incredible detail and thousands of beads needed for each bag, it’s unlikely you’ll come across a fake or reproduction. But keep in mind Judith Leiber bags always have a metallic (gold or silver) leather lining that matches the purse’s frame.

How Do You Spot One of These?


It’s a good idea to be familiar with some of the shapes and designs of these bags so you’ll recognize if one is included in one of your estate sales. You can see examples here and on the official Judith Leiber website. And if you’d like to learn more about Judith Leiber and her work you can visit the Leiber Collection website.

 

So, have you come across any of these little jewels in your sales? Please share your find with us!

Stay tuned to Tales From the Sales for more insightful and valuable articles.

  • Donna

Donna Davis has over twenty years of experience in the antiques and estate sale business, and conducts sales every weekend in the Greater Atlanta Area. She is also the Founder and Director of the National Association of Estate Liquidators, and Lead Instructor of NAOEL’s online school. You can contact Donna by email at donna@naoel.com or by phone at 800-521-8820.

Become a Member of the National Association of Estate Liquidators and enjoy all of the benefits we offer.

 

Your Mother’s China: Will It Sell?

I often arrive at a prospective client’s home for our initial visit and find a cabinet full of china, fine china, crystal, and other porcelain collectibles. Most often, the prospective client is expecting to be told their cabinet full of expensive treasures will bring a pretty penny.

An Unpleasant Surprise


It can sometimes be unpleasant having to tell your client that they will get virtually nothing for their beautiful, long cherished china and crystal, if it can be sold at all.

Weddings, Family Traditions, and Holidays Made It Special


Fine china, crystal, and silver have been traditional wedding gifts for generations. You may remember your mother’s china set, or even your grandmothers. You may also remember those “special occasions” such as Thanksgiving and Christmas dinners, when the “good china” and crystal were brought out to dress the formal dining table, along with linen napkins and special platters and serving dishes. For many families, there is certainly a sense of nostalgia about these special items.

Changing Family Traditions


As many have noted, the nature of family gatherings and celebrations, and families themselves has changed somewhat in recent generations. Many families have simplified their special occasions meals and no longer spend the entire day preparing and cooking the meal, dressing up the table, and cleaning up afterward.

For many modern brides, being able to set a fancy table isn’t a priority. Younger adults don’t want to have to do the handwashing required to properly care for fine china, crystal, and silver. It if can’t be put in the dishwasher, they don’t want it!

Why It's Fallen in Value


In addition to changing tastes, the Baby Boomer generation (those born between 1946 and 1964) is retiring. They are downsizing in record numbers, so all of their china, crystal, and silver is flooding the resale market. There simply is too much on the market, and too few buyers.

What to Do?


Perhaps the next generation will have more interest in fine dining ware, wanting to bring back a different level of sharing meals together. Or perhaps it will become one of those often unexpected “retro” fashions. But, I wouldn’t count on it. I tell my clients that we will attempt to sell their dining ware, but they may have more luck finding someone in the family who would like it.


Have you had success in selling china, crystal, or silver recently? Share your success stories!

Stay tuned to Tales From the Sales for more insightful and valuable articles.

  • Donna

Donna Davis has over twenty years of experience in the antiques and estate sale business, and conducts sales every weekend in the Greater Atlanta Area. She is also the Founder and Director of the National Association of Estate Liquidators, and Lead Instructor of NAOEL’s online school. You can contact Donna by email at donna@naoel.com or by phone at 800-521-8820.

Become a Member of the National Association of Estate Liquidators and enjoy all of the benefits we offer.