How One Local Charity Realized an Incredible Revenue Increase


BRG Happenings | PUBLISHED 12.12.18 | Jennifer Ventresca

When the volunteers from Operation Hope of Fairfield asked us to help them to valuate items in their annual tag sale fundraiser, the volunteers probably never expected the results they got. In fact, during the consultation, our appraisal team spotted a vase mixed in with a seemingly limitless assortment of generic porcelain and glass. The vase, originally priced by Operation Hope’s volunteers for $15, quickly sparked a conversation, as our team explained that it was truly under-valued. At Operation Hope’s request, we agreed to sell the vase in our 2018 Exceptional Fall Greenwich auction.

Well ... that $15 vase commanded over $4,300 in the auction. (That's a 20,000% increase in revenue!)

What was so special about the vase?

Assumed to be just another pretty decorative vase by the organization’s volunteers, our team noticed the Famille Rose bottle-form vase’s exquisite hand-enameling depicting butterflies and floral sprig decorations over a white glazed ground.

The vase’s hefty height (15” tall) was also a standout feature. The vase also bore blue calligraphic script markings on its base under-glaze.

Although the six character markings on the base translated to ‘Emperor Guangxu,’ the vase showed no signs of aging and use (normal “wear and tear”) that are typical with pieces of that period.

As a result, we simply listed the vase as, ‘possibly of the period, but unconfirmed.’

Where is the vase now?

A bidder in Palo Alto, California purchased the vase for over $4,300. That’s quite a jump from the original $15! The vase’s new owner had the exquisite piece shipped to them a few days after the close of the auction.

How did we spot this gem?

Our expertise in finding value in pieces that others overlook and undervalue is what differentiates us from other appraisal and liquidation industry experts. In fact, as our team left the Operation Hope tag sale staging area with the vase in hand after that initial consultation, another local dealer saw it and made it a point to state that the vase was “nothing special.” We disagreed and, of course, the auction results proved our team’s theory.

When that expertise is combined with our tailored marketing mix and all the excitement generated by our online auction platform, opportunities to achieve results such as those experienced by Operation Hope come to fruition. Because of our expertise, Operation Hope realized a 20,000 percent increase in the revenue of that one piece. That’s huge.

Although we are a small, boutique auction house, our combined expertise in appraisals and valuations exceeds 200 years. Add in the bidding excitement that our custom, house-built online auction platform creates it is easy to understand how we get the results we get.

As one of our managing partners, Christie, will attest, “This vase is just one example of the power and reach of our capabilities. We are thrilled to present Operation Hope of Fairfield with a check for over $4,300.”

Christie Spooner, Black Rock Galleries managing partner presents the consignment check for over $5,000 to Carla Miklos, Operation Hope Fairfield, executive director which includes the $4,300 collected on the exquisite hand-enameled vase.

How can we help your organization?

We love being able to help causes like Operation Hope exceed their fundraising goals and welcome helping other local charities, foundations, and organizations gain higher prices-realized in items they are looking to sell.For more information on BRG and our appraisal services for charitable organizations, visit www.blackrockgalleries.com or call 203-335-0000.

Keywords: Operation Hope, Fairfield, homeless shelter, charity, organization, charitable, foundation, fundraiser, fundraising, sales, tag sale, rummage sale, sales, higher revenues, valuation, value, appraisal, pricing