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Outrigger - Exercise caution here. I say that for 2 reasons - 1st - if the sale of these items brings in a lot of cash, it could complicate things for your mom if she's getting medicaid. If she has a Power of Attorney, that individual should be dealing with the sale of these things and ensuring that the funds are deposited in her accounts. If she applies for medicaide and the state looks back to see that valueable furniture was sold and the funds not deposited or it was given away - it could cause problems.

2nd - don't get ripped off!! There are all kinds of unscrupulous antique dealers just salivating to get their hands on stuff cheap then hike the price to make huge profits. I understand they are business people and need to make a profit but they should not rip off elderly people. How long do you have to sell these, are you in a hurry? If not, then do some research to see what she's got. if you're in a larger city, there should be an auction house that you can call to help you understand what you have. I DO NOT MEAN AN AUCTIONEER - I mean a better-than-average auction house that will research these things for you. They still sell on consignment but might be able to get more for the items than an estate auctioneer. Don't under estimate the value of "odd" things either (think collections of memorabelia) or things you think are ugly. Also look at ebay for the small items and don't forget things like vintage fabrics, clothing or shoes. I saw a pair of 1880 leather shoes sell for $450 at auction once!! Cha ching!!

If you must call an "estate" auctioneer - then ask around a LOT to find a trustworthy company. Call the better business bureau, talk to people at church and the area agency on aging to weed out the scammers. DO NOT give them keys to get in and ALWAYS be there whey they are going through things. They should help you understand garbage from things with value and they should haul off the garbage WITHOUT extra fees. My aunt lost about $2000 in books, costume jewelry and glassware because an auctioneer let one of his buddies "help" sort things while my cousin was at work so be careful!! Auction houses or estate sales companies usually they take 25% of the proceeds. A good auction house generally takes 25% for things under, say $250, then take a lower percentage at items go higher and higher.

If you're in a real hurry then you might see if someone can buy it all for one price. You're likely to get less than you would otherwise but it will be over and done. If you do this be sure to arrange a definite pick up date and "forfeture" if ownership if they don't move it all on time. I heard of one antique dealer letting thing sit in an apartment for a month causing the tenant to pay extra rent.

Best of luck!
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