It is simply not possible to provide an accurate value of any particular Van Briggle item.
How can we say this?
Simple, just look at the items up for auction at any online auction site (except eBay) which includes the major auction houses like Sotheby’s. Every item presented includes a price range where the “experts” predict, in a wide range, what the item should bring at auction. For example, a vase might show a range of ($200 – $400). Now that’s quite a huge price range. Of course, after the auction is over, the actual price paid often falls outside this range – sometimes the final price is above the range and sometimes below the range. This should be proof that it’s impossible to provide an accurate price for a particular item.
Sure, you can pay big money to have some certified appraiser give you an appraisal price on your Van Briggle piece, but remember this, these appraisal prices are generally provided for one of the following reasons:
- For insurance coverage
- To settle estates
- For divorce settlements
As such, the appraisal prices are generally much higher than you could ever expect to get by selling the item yourself. It’s our belief that you are simply wasting money getting a professional appraisal if your goal is to sell your item. Plus, the high cost of an appraisal comes out of the money you get for your item. The only person who wins here is the appraiser.
Still, while we are always happy to provide you with our expertise on what your Van Briggle piece “might” be worth, we caution you that pricing antiques and collectibles is generally a best guess. Why is this? Because the bottom line is this: Something is only worth what you can get for it on the day you are willing to sell it. There are many variables affecting the price you can get for your prized piece of Van Briggle pottery. These variables include:
- The overall condition of your piece (mint perfect versus repaired or chipped)
- The rarity of your particular item (this is the law of supply and demand at work with rare items commanding much higher prices)
- The history behind your item (some folks are willing to pay more for an item when they have the history behind it as it helps authenticate its age and ownership)
- The location where you are selling it (items usually bring more in large cities like New York and San Francisco versus smaller cities and towns)
- How you are attempting to sell it (Sotheby’s Auction, Craig’s List, eBay auction, Etsy, a simple ad in your local paper, a flea market, or in an estate sale held at your home or the home of a deceased relative)
- The time at which you are trying to sell it (for example, people are usually willing to pay more for items just before a major holiday like Christmas, Mother’s Day, anniversaries, and birthdays as people use these events as justification for spending more for something that will make a wonderful gift)
- How long you’re willing to wait to get a higher price
- Changing economic conditions (the lingering deep recession has had a downward effect on pricing of antiques and collectibles)
As you can see, there are many variables that can affect the ultimate price someone will pay for your Van Briggle piece.
Another issue affecting price is the value you place on your item. For example, many people place a higher value on an item that’s a family heirloom than would a potential buyer. Just because your great-grandmother got the vase as a wedding gift doesn’t make the item more valuable in the eyes of most buyers. Usually, you have to dismiss any sentimental value when establishing a price.
Unfortunately, there are no “reliable” books where one can go to find an estimated price or price range. Sure, there are price guides available but these guides are usually out of date within a few months of being published. Plus, where did the author get his or her prices and price ranges? Often these prices come from auction houses where prices tend to be higher because of two or more anxious bidders bidding against each other – thereby driving up the price. In addition, these price guides fail to take in the eight variables listed above.
Another thing that’s hurt pricing today is the growing assortment of reality shows on TV including Pickers, Pawn Stars, and The Antique Road Show. These shows are rehearsed and the items selected ahead of time to provide excitement. Unfortunately, they don’t represent reality. They give TV viewers the idea that everything is valuable. We’ve experienced this many times. Someone will ask our opinion about an item and when we give them an estimated price, they’ll quickly tell us that a similar item on The Antique Road Show was estimated five times higher. The key word here is “similar.” Being similar isn’t the same as being identical. Bottom line, forget what you see and hear on these reality shows. They are pure entertainment – not educational shows.
Because so many people, family, friends, and co-workers – see these shows, it’s made them all experts in value and they are always more than happy to tell you that your vase or other item is valuable. You should ignore the advice of these folks. Ask them if they’d pay the price they just suggested.
Most of us believe the stuff we have is much more valuable than it really is. When deciding to part with one or more of your Van Briggle pieces, you have to ask yourself one very important question: “What is my goal here?” If it’s to get the maximum price because you desperately need the money, then you may have to wait a very long time to find a buyer willing to pay your price. You can elect to send it to auction but remember this, if it sells for $250, the seller gets a piece of this price as his or her fee. If your goal is to simply get rid of stuff because you are moving or downsizing, then you are better off pricing your item realistically based on the eight variables above and getting the money right away. Remember the sage advice: A bird in the hand is worth two in the bush.
We’ve known folks who’ve established a price for a Van Briggle item and it sold right away. Most are happy but there are always those who immediately complain that it sold because their price was too low. Maybe so or maybe not. Perhaps they got lucky and the right person just happened to come along at the right time. Because of this possibility, some sellers set a high price as they are deathly afraid of selling their item at too low of a price. These folks are never really happy with the price they get and should probably just keep their prized vase or bowl as the emotional trauma of setting a price and selling the item is overwhelming. So, you have to be in the right frame of mind before deciding to sell your Van Briggle items.
Again, we’ll be happy to assist you with a price, not a price range, but remember everything that we’ve covered above. Setting a selling price is based solely on years of experience buying and selling antiques and collectibles. The price is what your buyers are willing to pay and what your competitors will allow you to charge (meaning you can’t sell your vase for $125 if identical items are available for sale online in the $75 range).
So, think long and hard before asking our assistance in pricing your item.
Van Briggle Pottery Values – Pricing Experience
I’m able to provide you with pricing assistance based on the following information:
- I was a partner in a major estate liquidation business for four years and during this time I’ve been involved in pricing hundreds of thousands of items.
- I’ve sold antiques and collectibles at area flea markets for several years.
- I have friends who’ve been collectors for well over forty years and I rely on them for assistance when needed.
- My friends and I visit area flea markets, antique shows, and estate sales to keep current on pricing and pricing trends.
- I have a thorough understanding of the psychology of pricing and what the market will bear as it relates to pricing.
Before asking my advice on pricing, just remember that any given price is simply an educated guess based on my experience, that of others more knowledgeable than me, and the research I do when required. I’m not a certified appraiser as I feel it would be more of a hinder than a value in helping others who wish to sell one piece of Van Briggle or an entire collection.
Due to an overwhelming amount of e-mails received for appraisals, pricing, and other information on Van Briggle pieces, there is now a $10 charge per item. Please use the Paypal button below and send pictures as well as any information you have of your Van Briggle pieces to firstname.lastname@example.org. I will provide as much information about your Van Briggle piece as I am able to. There are no refunds. Prices may take up to a month to deliver.