Department Specialist


Samuel T. Freeman III
Senior Vice President

267.414.1222

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Published: 6 June 2018

The Benefit of Single-Owner Sales

When is a group of collectible items determined to be a ‘collection’ suitable for the attention of a single owner sale? Collecting items of interest that have emerged into great value can happen through a studious and measured effort or, in some cases, good fortune. Freeman’s has found; there are numerous avenues to the end goal of realizing great appreciation of a collection.  In the case of the Collection from the estate of Mrs. Dorrance (Dodo) H. Hamilton; the collection emerged from within the thoughtful interests and comfort Mrs. Hamilton derived from their presence within her home.

The Collection from this estate has been a tremendous success from the perspective of an auction house. However, this conclusion was not easily reached. While the end results were gratifying for the family and the executors, the process by which we came to that conclusion involved long and intriguing discussion.

Looking at the catalog, you would arguably wonder why such disparate items all made it into one sale and one catalog. The overriding theme in this situation was simply the nature of the woman who owned these items. Hamilton was not overly concerned with what others thought. Her premise was simple: she collected items of interest for her personal enjoyment. However, as a noted Philadelphia-centric philanthropist, her name was synonymous with generosity and kindness. These popular and endearing traits earned Hamilton great recognition and with that, the items that surrounded her in life, are also well regarded. These elements contributed to what we call the ‘single owner premium.’

Freeman’s believes even the most everyday item is lifted in value by its association with an illustrious collection. This idea has been proven consistently over more than two centuries in business. An item often achieves a far greater price when sold as a part of a unique collection, than if sold individually or anonymously.

Freeman’s is perfectly situated in the auction world to market and sell private collections with great success. With the right promotion, private collections can exceed prevailing prices by 10-30 percent, and sometimes more, as in the cases of the Lehman Brothers Collection, Selected Contents of Vaux Hill: The Collection of Robert & Barbara Safford, and most recently, the near white-glove sale of The Collection of Dorrance “Dodo” H. Hamilton.

Freeman’s fully understands that each collection’s story is as unique as the works of art with which it comprises. This premise is at the heart of Freeman’s approach to providing our unique auction services. From the research and scholarly essays that tell the stories behind the objects, to the tailored marketing and presentation aimed to showcase the collector and their collection, we dedicate ourselves to each project wholeheartedly, devoting due time to the details that can help to ensure the sale’s success.

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