estate sale

reSettling Life's Treasures- Slag Glass

Much like the depression glass we discussed in a previous post, slag glass is often found in homes as a collection or a few treasured pieces, despite its slightly unappealing name.

Slag glass gets its name from one of the components in it. Early manufacturers of this type of glass would add the waste content of metal ores from iron-smelting works, or “slag,” to their molten glass to create swirls of color within it. These swirls gave the glass a marbled look, and people often refer to slag glass as “marble glass.” Some companies achieved a similar look by mixing two colors of molten glass. The end result is often called “mosaic glass.”

It is believed that slag glass got its start in England, which remained the main manufacturer of this type of glass in Europe. It caught on in the U.S. and was made by several companies, mainly located in Pennsylvania, including H. Northwood Glass Co., Challinor Taylor & Co. and Atterbury. Another company that came to be known for slag glass was Akro Agate, which made a name for itself in the early 20th century with its unique swirled marbles made by their patented process.

Slag glass has been around since the late 1800s and became very popular in the early part of the 1900s, during the arts and crafts period. One of the most common uses for this type of glass at that time was in lamps because the white or off-white swirls within the color allowed the light to shine through. Tiffany lamps made with leaded stained glass were in vogue, but many people could not afford them because they were expensive to make. Companies started using slag glass fit into metal frames to create similar-looking lamps but at a much lower cost, making them available to more people.

Rather than being blown, slag glass is pressed into the desired shape. In addition to lamps, it frequently appears in vases, bowls, figurines and candy dishes. Chunks of this unique glass are also often used as a decoration on outdoor patios and in gardens where the sunlight accents the swirled pattern. Purple is by far the most common color, and was one of the original colors created by Sowerby in England, but it can also be found in blue, pink, green, red and various shades of brown.

Slag glass is still manufactured today, and many people enjoy collecting it because of its beautiful colors and unique patterns.

reSettling Life's Treasures- Jewelry Markings

Even if you aren’t a collector, there is a strong chance you own some jewelry. During our senior moves, we often come across pieces with marks on them. These markings can actually tell you quite a bit about the piece if you know how to decipher them.

Any type of mark on a piece of jewelry is called a “hallmark,” and they are generally found in the same place on similar pieces. Rings will be stamped on the inside of the band, marks on necklaces and bracelets are generally on the clasp, and pins, earrings and brooches will be marked on the back. Don’t be surprised if you don’t find any marks at all. While jewelers are required to disclose the type of metal used, it does not have to be marked on the jewelry itself. This information can be included on a receipt, appraisal or even the price tag, all of which easily become separated from the jewelry or lost.

The mark most commonly found on jewelry is the purity mark, which tells what type of metal is in it. Gold is often expressed in karats and other metals are measured in percentages. The purest gold is 24 karat gold. It is rarely used in jewelry because of its softness. Lesser karats mean the gold has been combined with other types of metals. For example, 22 karat gold is about 92% gold and 8% something else such as copper, silver or palladium. As the karats go down, so does the value of the gold. If you have a piece of gold jewelry stamped “carat,” that doesn’t mean it’s misprinted or counterfeit, the piece was made somewhere other than the U.S. or Canada.

Sterling silver (SS) is the name of the purest silver used in jewelry. To be sterling, a piece must be over 90% silver. Other designations used on silver pieces are “silver-plated” and “EPNS” (electro-plated nickel silver). Jewelry designated as “nickel silver” does not contain any actual silver, it is just silver in color. A three-digit number on silver jewelry tells how much silver is in it. For example, “925” means the piece is 92.5% silver, so it is sterling. These three-digit numbers are also sometimes used on gold jewelry in place of karats.

Other purity marks you may find on jewelry include:

·       GF or GP – gold-filled or gold-plated

·       Vermeil – sterling silver with gold plating

·       Plat or PT – at least 95% platinum

·       Pall – at least 95% palladium

Your piece of jewelry may be able to tell you more than what it’s made of. A signature mark tells you who the manufacturer of the piece was. Just as the logos of well-known brands like Coke or KFC change over the years, jewelry makers often change the style of their signatures, so these marks can also give you an idea of when the piece was made. If the piece was made as part of a limited series for a retailer, a mark may signify that as well.

Very unique jewelry designs are often patented, and the patent number can appear right on the piece. U.S. patent numbers can be searched through the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office’s website and can provide a wealth of information, including the designer and when and where the piece was created.

If a piece of jewelry has gems in it, the weight of the gems may be stamped on it. If two numbers appear, the first number is likely the size of the largest gem (the solitaire) in carats, and the second number is the combined weight of all the others. “TDW” stands for the total diamond weight found on a piece with multiple gems. The gem weight may just be a number or it can be followed by “ct” or “cw.”

Deciphering the marks on jewelry is quite interesting, especially with pieces you have inherited or purchased from an auction or estate sale. Spend some time looking at your necklaces, rings, bracelets and pins—you may find a hidden treasure in your jewelry box!

reSettling Life’s Treasures – Depression Glass

In our line of work, we come across many personal collections. Items range from toys and coins to dolls and holiday decorations. Each of these collections has a story, both personal and historical. We would like to share some of those stories with you, starting with Depression glass.

Up through the early 1900s, glass items were made by hand. Each piece was individually poured, cut and polished, making glass time-consuming – and costly – to make. To own a piece of glass was a sign of privilege. When the Depression hit in the 1920s, glassmakers were forced to either find another way to manufacture glass or risk going out of business.

One such company was the Hocking Glass Company in Lancaster, Ohio. Named for its proximity to the Hocking River, the company was founded in 1905. According to the Anchor Hocking Glass Museum, the company could manufacture one piece of glass per minute when it started. Shortly before the Depression, they began using a machine that streamlined the process and allowed them to make up to 30 pieces per minute. The stock market crash forced them to create glass at an even cheaper rate, so they invented a machine that could make 90 pieces per minute. The glass made on this machine, and others like it in the area, came to be known as Depression glass.

In an effort to encourage people to spend what money they had in their establishments, business owners started giving away depression glass with qualifying purchases. Filling up your tank at a gas station could earn you a dinner plate, a trip to the movies on “Dish Night” could net a coffee cup. Some pieces, particularly drinking glasses, were included in packages of Quaker Oats and boxes of laundry detergent, and families would collect a complete set, one glass at a time. For larger pieces, like a platter or punch bowl, frugal housewives would collect multiple coupons or proofs of sale to send in at the same time.

Depression glass came in a variety of clear colors, including green, red, pink, amber, yellow and blue. Opaque glass was also available in white, jade green and black. The patterns printed in the glass often mimicked those used in the handmade glass only the truly wealthy could afford. For those with a little bit more cash, elegant glass was still machine-made, but had some finishing work done by hand after it was removed from the mold to smooth out edges or remove unsightly seams.

The reasons people start collecting Depression glass are as numerous as the collectors themselves. Many older collectors remember using it as children, while others fell in love with it while visiting their grandparents’ homes. Some simply enjoy the hunt and finding a hidden treasure at a yard sale or consignment shop. The value of Depression glass varies widely, depending on your location and the rarity of the pieces.

There are several things to look for when buying Depression glass to ensure you don’t buy a less valuable reproduction piece. True Depression glass is lighter and thinner than replicated glass and it often has small bubbles within the glass. Scratches on a piece often means it’s authentic because these pieces were used in everyday life, not just put on display. Seams on lids from molds and straw marks on the bottom of the glass where it would have been set to cool are also signs that the glass is truly from the Depression era.

Whether you display it in a china cabinet or use it on a daily basis, Depression glass can bring a beautiful piece of history to your home.

 

Why Auctions Are the Best Way to Sell Unwanted Estate Items

Losing a loved one or moving them into a long-term care facility or senior living community can not only leave you emotionally drained, it can also leave you with a home full of belongings to deal with. While you and your family may want to keep some things for financial or sentimental reasons, chances are the majority of the belongings will need to be either sold or donated. Out of the numerous ways to sell unwanted items, the safest, easiest and most profitable is an auction.

Auctions are more profitable – As we discussed in a previous post "Are Auctions and Estate Sales the Same Thing?", items tend to sell for a higher price at an auction than an estate sale because bidders start low and drive the price higher instead of seeing a set price and potentially haggling for a lower one. Auctions are also more profitable than yard sales because they reach a larger market and people have several days to bid on items. With a yard sale, you are limited to the people who are available to come during the hours you are open, and when a customer offers you a price, you either have to take it right away or risk not having anyone stopping by who is interested in it.

Auctions are safer – Craigslist is a popular way to sell things and it casts a further net than a yard sale while still staying local enough for you to avoid paying shipping costs in most instances. However, there is the issue of getting the item to the buyer, which involves either them coming to your home to see or purchase what you’re selling, or you meeting them in a neutral place to make the exchange. Both of these options create a potentially dangerous situation. People have posed as potential buyers to gain access to a home, then come back to break in and steal things. This can also occur at yard sales if you have large items that are for sale but are still in your home. With an auction, only the people who have already bid and won items will be coming to the home, and the pickup is staffed by the auction company who is fully insured and bonded. Some auctioneers offer a two-hour or by-appointment-only preview time, which is also fully staffed.

Auction payments are more secure – Unless you sell things on a regular basis, you are probably not set up to accept credit cards, leaving cash or check as the only methods of payment. If you accept a check for a large purchase at a yard sale and it bounces, getting your money will be extremely challenging. And chances are a buyer will not be willing to wait until the check clears to come back to pick up a purchase. Mobile payments like Venmo allow you to take electronic payments, but buyers can cancel the fund transfer after they receive the item and before the money is deposited into your account. Buyers at an auction or online auction use credit cards to pay, making it more likely you will receive the money. Even if they do not pick up their purchases, per the terms and conditions of the auction the auction company can still charge their credit card and you receive the proceeds. The paid-for but unclaimed items are given to charity or you can choose to keep them.

Auctions are easier – Wouldn’t it be nice if someone came in and sorted everything you had to sell, made it available to buyers, handled the payments and purchase pick-up, and gave you the proceeds? That’s how auctions work. No more sorting, pricing, praying for good weather, lugging things outside, haggling over prices, or dealing with strangers. This doesn’t mean you have no control over the sale. You and your family members will decide what you want to keep before anything is put into the auction.

You’re dealing with enough already. Let a licensed auctioneer handle the unwanted items of the estate.

Are Auctions and Estate Sales the Same Thing?

When it’s time to downsize a home, people often turn to the professionals to sell their belongings rather than holding yard sales or trying to sell things on eBay or Craigslist. Auctions and estate sales (also called tag sales) are both ways to eliminate household goods and make a profit, and may seem very similar. But they are actually quite different.

Auctioneers are more accountable because they must be licensed in Kentucky to run live or online auctions and are held to a Code of Ethics. Their license number has to be readily available at any auction, and an address for complaints must be included in their contracts. Before a Kentucky auctioneer can be licensed, they must apprentice under a sponsoring auctioneer for one year, take 96 hours of classes, and pass two exams. All of this training benefits you because your sale is being handled by an educated, trustworthy person, This means they will help you get the most income for the items you are selling, and that you have a clear path to resolving an issue should one arise.

Estate sale companies aren’t licensed or regulated in any way, which means anyone can market themselves as an estate sale professional, even if they have had no training. Does that mean all estate companies are run by inexperienced people? Of course not. But they are out there, and if you have a complaint it can be much more difficult to get a resolution.

Another difference is the way your items will be priced. At tag sales, a price is marked on each item before the sale begins, which leaves nowhere for the price to go but down. Most people view estate sales as organized garage sales and haggle over the prices marked. Buyers will also often wait until the second or third day of the sale to buy because prices are reduced after the first day.

Prices start low at auctions and continue to climb based on demand. Some items that may not have seemed valuable can end up selling at a higher price if two or more bidders are interested. This means that as the auction progresses, your profit on each item increases, while with an estate sale, your profit on items decreases as day two and three approach.

At an auction, items that aren’t selling individually can be grouped together to make them more attractive to buyers. Estate sale items have already been priced and can’t be regrouped to increase their chances of being sold. Also, leftover items at estate sales often become the property of the company, so they can sell them at their next sale and not owe you any proceeds. This gives estate sales managers less incentive to get everything sold for you. If you are signing up to do an estate sale and don’t want them to take the leftover items, make sure you read the contract carefully.

A benefit to buyers at an auction is the ability to preview items for at least 12 hours before it starts. At a tag sale the selling starts as soon as people walk through the door, so buyers have to make quick decisions before someone else buys what they want. This may not seem important to you as a seller, but it actually is because your buyers won’t be rushing through your items to make sure they don’t miss out. Instead, they’ll have time to think about each one and may end up buying more.

The most important thing when hiring someone to help you sell your belongings is to find someone you are comfortable with and that you can trust. Ask friends or family members for referrals, take the time to get to know the people you’ll be working with, and understand exactly how your belongings will be sold.

Downsizing and Getting reSettled Presentation

Getting ready to downsize or move and don't know where to start? Come listen to our owner, Amy Wright, speak about the steps you need to take to make the process easier. Her tips and suggestions will help you #getbacktowhatreallymatters. Presentation will take place on Wednesday September 14th from 6-8pm at the Covington Branch of the Kenton County Library. Call 859-962-4071 to register.

Senior Move Manager?

I have to admit, when I was a little girl dreaming of my future career, Senior Move Manager (SMM) was not at the top of that list. However, there is a good reason for that, the career did not exist at that time (although I cannot tell you exactly when that was and give away my age!) The Senior Move industry is a fairly new one, only coming into existence in the late 1990s. Around that time, individuals from across the country, with a passion to help older adults and their transition from their homes of many years into apartments/condos, senior communities, assisted living, were realizing that there was an actual career to be had in what they had been doing. 

When I decided that this was an industry that I wanted to join and create a business in, I immediately began researching to find as much as I could about this fascinating job. I was fortunate to very quickly come across a non-profit organization called the National Association of Senior Move Manager (NASMM). This organization has been around since 2002 and was responsible for finding those individuals that were scattered all over the nation and bringing them together with a common goal in mind. I have been blessed to be able to start my business with the knowledge, training and community of so many SMMs across the globe, that work together to ensure that this industry continues to reach the needs of those seniors and their families that want and desire the services we provide. Those early SMMs, had no idea that the tasks they were already doing of sorting, packing, organizing, space planning, and many more, would be pivotal to the movement of the Senior Move industry.

So, there you have it. What once started with only 22 SMMs meeting in 2002 to discuss how they could formally establish a professional organization to now more than 900 SMMs across the world, the Senior Move industry is relevant and growing as well as meeting new demands of an aging generation never before seen to this magnitude. It is a profession that requires heart, passion, organizational skills and the willingness to get a little dirty and sweaty. It's a profession that I truly believe I was made to do and I am so excited for what the future holds!

**All stats courtesy of the National Association of Senior Move Managers