With decades of experience in the field of collecting antiques and hand-crafted artifacts, Material Culture brings a discerning eye and a careful hand to the selling of your items at auction. If you are seeking to consign a single object, a collection, or an entire estate, we are more than happy to assist you. Our auctions include an array of items suited for multiple markets, and we are interested in featuring objects of diverse origin from around the world, including antiques, collectables, decorative arts, antiquities, period and modern furnishings, and a full spectrum of fine, folk, popular, ethnographic, and “outsider” art.
We are a full-service auction house. We conduct a major, widely advertised general estate catalogue sale approximately once per month, as well as a number of specialty catalogue offering three types of auctions: general catalogue sales, specialist catalogue sales, and non-catalogue “Annex” sales over the course of a year accessible to an international audience through online auctions that inter-face in real time with the in-house sales. The most rare and valuable items receive the greatest benefit from the time and resources necessary to promote them in a catalogue. All auction items in our catalogue sales appear online on our website and on liveauctioneers.com for approximately thirty days prior to the auction sale, and consequently must be received, catalogued, and photographed at least six weeks before auction day.
For items suited to different markets, or sellers wishing for a quicker turnaround, our Annex auctions are held as often as twice a month. All non-catalogue Annex auctions are posted with photos of items on auctionzip.com, and receive full in-house preview exhibitions for at least two days before each sale. We are able to process a very high volume of lots in our Annex sales, providing a venue for all kinds of interesting items that have a definite market, but which other auction houses might neglect.
Having three types of auctions easily enables us to accommodate and provide effective, efficient, near-term selling solutions for estates, individuals, as well as corporate, non-profit and institutional collections. We take the utmost care to place your items in the auction that will show them to the best advantage and maximize their appeal to buyers, on a schedule that seeks to narrow the waiting time between consignment and receiving payment.
We are now actively seeking consignments for our upcoming auctions. Read our call for consignments.
Selling at Auction
First, we need to learn a little bit about the items you wish to sell to determine which of our upcoming auctions would be the best match for them, and to provide you with an auction estimate. This appraisal is free-of-charge and confidential. The figure we give will be based on our specialists’ knowledge of auction marketability—how much a similar item might fetch at other auctions, or how popular an auction item is—along with its best market value. We can review your objects in a number of ways:
An easy first step is to email email@example.com or mail photographs to us, before you go to the trouble of bringing your item or items in. Please include any information you can give us regarding the dimensions, condition or markings, media, and provenance, which are often important factors in determining the object’s value. This will help us make our assessment, though our estimate may change on first-hand examination, and an appraisal made by photographs alone is non-binding and strictly for your benefit.
If you would prefer, you can also call us at (215) 438 – 4700 to discuss the details of the objects you would like to sell. Please explain to the receptionist that you have an item you would like to sell at auction, and you will be forwarded to the appropriate specialist.
Appraising an object in person allows us to give you the most informed auction estimate. If you would like to make an appointment to meet with us to estimate the value of your auction item, email us at firstname.lastname@example.org, or call us at (215) 438 – 4700, with a date and time of your preference. We also hold open house appraisals every Saturday (excluding auction days) from 10am-2pm as long as an appointment is made 24 hours in advance.
If you are hoping to auction off an entire estate, an extensive collection, or a large item with limited mobility, an appraiser can travel to your location to make an assessment.
Once an appraisal has been made, we need to receive items for our general and special catalogue sales no later than 14 days before the 30-day cycle of online and print marketing begins–that is, at least six weeks before the auction date. In some cases, we may request to receive an item earlier if we feel it will benefit from additional research and/or a longer marketing cycle. Items determined to be appropriate for our Annex sales should be delivered at least 10 days before auction day. If you are unable to transport the items yourself, email us at email@example.com, or call us at (215) 438 – 4700, and we will work with you to find a solution.
The seller retains ownership of the item or items until they are sold at auction. All consigned property will be itemized on a formal consignment contract, which will be given or sent to you for your signature and review. Sellers are paid no later than 30 days after their items are offered at auction; each lot sold will be accounted for in a detailed settlement statement. We will make every effort to transfer your payment to you sooner, as soon as the buyer’s method of payment has cleared. We respect your time, and will not leave you waiting any longer than is strictly necessary.
If you are concerned about the price that an item of particular value to you may fetch, a reserve can be placed upon it when appropriate. A ‘reserve’ is the price below which the item cannot be sold. Please bear in mind that a reserve ought to be a conservative price for the item, and it may not exceed the low estimate for its value.
We will not nickel-and-dime you with additional fees for services such as photography and storage. We will negotiate a flat fee–taking into account the number of your items, their value, and any other relevant factors–that will constitute a percentage of their selling price. With this flat, all-inclusive, no-surprises percentage, we aim to be very competitive, and offer you a better value for our services than you may find at other auctioneers.