Establishing equiptment value?

I am liquidating my workshop and have stakes, hammers, mandrels,
buffing wheel, kiln, enamels, etc. for sale. How does one establish
a value and then sell these types of items?

Patricia Bloom-McDonald, Esq.

I am liquidating my workshop and have stakes, hammers, mandrels,
buffing wheel, kiln, enamels, etc. for sale. How does one establish
a value and then sell these types of items? 

I would suggest you inventory the whole lot, look each item up in a
catalog, decide how much wear each item has and price accordingly.


Hi Partricia,

Silversmithing stakes and hammers are selling for a good price on
Ebay. List them under “silversmith, tinsmith and blacksmith”. Dixon
stakes seem to be especially in demand, so list the manufacturer to
attract collectors.

David Luck
627 Center Street
Iowa City, IA 52245-3008

Patricia -

It can be a hard thing to part with equipment you ‘love’, that have
been workshop companions. If you are like me, where you have a
visceral relationship with your tools and the things you make, you
will have to take a deep breath and put that relationship in a
mental ‘box’, close the lid, and…

But if you are not like me, then ignore the first paragraph. Now:

Visit various commercial websites that have prices and photos of
comparable equipment. Be critical in your judgement of what you own.
Has kiln technology left yours in the dust? Do you have a
top-of-the-line controller? Are your stakes without blemish? Is the
set complete? Has the enamels package ever been opened?

Be ruthless, but honest. #1: did you get your money’s worth from
your equipment? (If so, anything you get for it now is gravy. Let it
go with a blessing and a smile.) #2: just because the stuff from a
certain overpopulated nation can be had for a pittance on eBay does
not mean your stuff is of low value. #3: price to sell, but don’t
give it away; if your equipment is in great shape, then no less
than 1/2 of what’s curently demanded. #4: do lots of internet
searches on Google and Yahoo…different keywords and different
times…you will get results that can be weighed in your mind as to
what you are willing to live with.

I remember one guy this year selling a set of stakes that were so
beautiful and clean! for a price less than could be had
commercially, but more than I could afford. I’d have still bought
them but they had been sold hours before I got the email notice that
they were available.

best wishes to you,

Hi David,

Silversmithing stakes and hammers are selling for a good price on
Ebay. List them under "silversmith, tinsmith and blacksmith".
Dixon stakes seem to be especially in demand, so list the
manufacturer to attract collectors. 

I’ve searched for the category ‘silversmith, tinsmith and
blacksmith’ on Ebay without success. Could you explain the route

Best wishes

Patricia - a fairly common rule of thumb for used equipment is one
half of retail. That is for gently used equipment and tools. More
expensive things sometimes bring a higher percentage.

Judy Hoch

I want to thank those who rersponded who are interested in
purchasing the tools and other workshop equipment and items that I
have. Unfortunately, I do not have time to photo, itemize, and look
up current retail costs, therefore I am looking for someone who may
do this for me for a fee, an appariaser or someone similar who does
or would like to do this. Anyone in Massachusetts that someone could

Look at the price now and sell for 10c on the dollar?

You can check the American Society of Appraisers for a referral. But
it wont’ be cheap. I’d do it myself…


Some time ago, I heard that there is a company which lists items on
the Ebay. They do all the work and charge some fee. They supposedly
located in different areas. Check in your location.

I do not remember the name of the company or any other details.

May worth you time to check it out.

Beyond looking at catalogue values are:

Condition of the item

Depreciation or appreciation: if they were manufactured by
"collectible" tool makers, such as dixon, freidrich dick, van
goerder, or were wwII german, russian, or other european made items
they have appreciated,if they are currently available then there is
the question of condition in relation to new.I would detract 10% each
for things like pitted or oxidized (rust),misshapen, deeply dented or
marred, shank/tang condition, etc.

Electrical items: full rated power or compromised? Condition of the
cording,and age of the supply ( 2 prongs vs. grounded 3
pronged),arbor condition, availability of brushes ( if
required).Again if it’s identical to currently available then look at
depreciation, not less than half it’s value though to be fair, in
selling as a per piece item. Kilns are a different story.

Consumables: enamels, etc. if opened =depreciated, depending on the
amounts used it would be best to put them on an auction site as a
"lot". Lots sell fastest and get the most visitors. Also list under
Jewelery and watches> tools and supplies>other, if you’re going for
ebay…If craig’slist, just for sale would work for category, each
city has many subcategories and you should find an appropriate one
easily and pick good active lists like san fransisco, and atlanta, or
your hometown, and a word about craigslist if you opt for that,and
deal locally, meet the buyer at a bank, police station, or courthouse
building, or other public, secured site.NEVER your house, never give
your address, and create an email box just for use on craigslist or
other less secure sites for auctioning via the www. Silversmithing,
metalsmithing, and the other aforementioned categories are not
appropriate, nor do they exist per se.Metalwork does, but its under
industrial, then tools, then along way to go- and not your target
market.Metalwork is primarily for welders, journeymen riveters,
shipbuilders,industrial steel workers/work,etc. Jewelry is a very
active category.Supplies and tools are the third most most visited
(findings, and gold jewelry are first and second), ( besides loose
gems as categories therein-I have thoroughly researched this and can
assure you that is the listing category that will get the most

Kilns: highly valued at the moment. not less than 60% of what you
paid for should be the least you ask, if its in very good to
excellent condition, no problems, no ratings issues, warranty still
exisiting?,no missing parts, replaced parts? digitized vs.
thermometer. door or doors.If its a bead door type, add to the 60%
as lampworking is at an all time high valued trend item presently. A
very effective approach is to list your hand tools as a lot, or
lots.sawa and blades, for instance, pliers and cutters, hammers and
mallets, specialty hammers, soldering supplies, torches, all can be
as lots, or list as complete jewelry making kits, and divide your
supplies into lots of what you deem to be esentials in the art and
see how many lots you come up with, reserving specialty items for
their own sales (stakes,forming hammers, raising and chasing tools,
beading tools, etc.- not standard to beginners).Also put a reserve
price on the lots or kits-you come out better in the long run having
a minimum you’ll sell for.there is also a best offer option, consider
that on items more than 3000.00 in value.

If you want to sell the entire shop outright, locally or via for
pickup only via the auction sites, it sounds to me like asking
10,000.00 is not unreasonable, including the kiln,and reserving some
specialty items for individual sale, and to keep a set of basics for
yourself, or most treasured tools as inspiration or sentimental
value for your next phase of life. And the buyer gets to clean out
your area…what a perk! Jusat remind them to bring their own packing
materials, and again ask for your local police to come to your house
for the transaction. their job is to protect and serve, make certain
you remind them of this, when requesting their assistance from the
community affairs division of your local police force, or if you
live in a gated, or privately secured neighborhood, ask your
privately paid force to be present…there is too much
methamphetamine in the world to risk your safety over! Believe me i
am far from paranoid, but too many people watch too much tv, live in
poverty, and aren’t laid back & just smoking joints anymore…violence
and meth seem to be partners in the wreckless abandon of ethos,
deviance and limitations.You are probably a trusting person that
would take someones offer of 10,000.00 to be safe at their word…I
personally would not want you to become a statistic based on your
belief in ‘the golden rule’ existing, society wide, anymore…just be

If you have a school of arts in your area aprise the design, or
metals dept, of the intended sale, or trade schools and universities
many of which have art dept’s that include
goldsmithing/silversmithing/ jewelery making as a curriculum. Many
times there are students that need assistance in building any set of
tools for their own use, outside the lab than they can afford from
catalogues, or retail sources…you may consider a contest for one of
your tool lots, which could then be written off( as schools and
universities that are not private are 501© 3 organizations and can
issue donated value receipts), covering the value of the depreciated
stock, therefore making it all come out evenly in your favor…

There are many options you can consider for maximizing your
investment, doing less fortunate a favor, awarding tools to those
who could never afford them but have a passion for metalsmithing as
strong as any other desire, getting a return for your good deeds, and
donations, the ability to write off some of your inventory on taxes
if you itemize, and still retreiving cash monies from the whole…so
think befor acting hastily, inventory your items fairly, consider the
amount of tools and equipment you have and the categories of
metalsmiths they would accomodate ( beginner, intermediate, advanced)
and divide your collection accordingly, subdividing based on quantity
and then begion to attach value and direction to the lots you come up
with. your studio may prove a great gift, as well as getting back all
the value you can from your initial outlay.

Auctions usually don’t give what you expect withou a reserve. Buy it
now is a great tool, as it lets a buyer take it away for x price and
they pay shipping and handling ( in which case you have to come up
with packing materials!).Craigslist gets you alot of spam, and also
good offers, but you need extra caution when using it. To have an
advertised event like an estate sale where EVERYTHING is in your shop
and priced,is perhaps the easiest way to do it, then it’s just a
matter of having helpers come over,a lot of change, a credit card
machine ( if you want to take credit cards,) big signs that say"all
sales final" and “prices are as marked- no haggling”(unless you want
to) and vacumming it out at the end of the sale period should it be a
wall to wall sale! Two days of selling, a day or two pricing, and
you’re done…although I personally would not chose that option, for
someone that wants to be done with the entire project, a well
advertised sale is quick ( and have a rain date advertised as well,
write no early-birds unless you want people showing up at 6 am in
the ad, and secure at least two helpers if you have a lot of
items…small tools walk off in crowds!).I like the idea of getting
some tools to the needy however, and would consider passing on the
gift of tools to future metalsmiths as a viable and reasonable option
in regards to taxde ductions/charitable contributions of in-kind
goods and /or services if you itemize.

If you have questions feel free to contact me.R.E.Rourke