If you’re looking to acquire or sell fine artwork, vintage or antique furniture, objets d’art, jewelry or fashion, the Magnusson Group of Morristown covers the spectrum with estate sales, online auctions and appraisals.
One of the most interesting elements of their business is family estates. “Often, we find unusual things in unexpected places,” says daughter Lauren Magnusson, an appraiser and the sales director of the family business. “Once, we discovered a 1-carat diamond ring hidden in an I Can’t Believe It’s Not Butter container buried in a woman’s freezer.”
Founder and CEO Lynn Magnusson adds, “Sometimes, families have no idea what the value is. In a hidden closet, we once found 300 unopened bottles of Johnny Walker and other Prohibition spirits. We’ve also been asked to appraise rare antique books, comic books, coins, gems, luxury handbags, contemporary art, and even Louis XIV’s personal nursery rhyme book.” Recently, while perusing the contents of an understated apartment, Lynn spied a piece of art stashed behind the fridge. The owner said, “Just take it. The family hates it,” but after researching, she advised the owner it was an oil painting worth six figures.
Lynn, along with husband Drew, began the business in 1994, before the appraisal industry was regulated. Today, she is one of the only appraisers in the world to hold accredited/certified memberships in all three of the personal-property accreditation associations: the Appraisers Association of America (AAA), the American Society of Appraisers (ASA) and the International Society of Appraisers (ISA). President and senior appraiser Drew Magnusson owned Rascal’s White Elephant Bar & Grill in Ocean Township in the 1990s, dabbled in auctioneering, and then became a USPAP-compliant appraiser.
Today, he specializes in the metal market, art and antiques, and also runs their online auctions. “Since the pandemic, the online marketplace, especially for vintage and sustainable items, has blossomed,” Drew says.
After headquartering in Harding Township for 15 years, the Magnusson Group recently relocated to a sparkly, 2,500-square-foot, open-to-the-public space in Morristown. Retail inventory includes antique, vintage and contemporary artwork, furniture, silver, porcelain, luxury goods and jewelry.
The store is open 9 am-4 pm Monday through Friday, with special events scheduled after hours (162 Ridgedale Avenue; 973-425-1550).
HOW TO SNAG THE BEST ESTATE-SALE STUFF
Is there a strategy behind getting the biggest bang for your buck at an estate sale? “You bet!” says Lauren Magnusson, who shares her top tips:
1. If you’re first in line on the first day, you’ll pay a higher asking price. Negotiate a lower price by making your offer in the middle of the last day.
2. Rather than saying, “I’ll give you…” or “What’s the best you can do?” lower your voice and politely try, “Would you accept…?”
3. Be sure to remove your purchases from the property before the sale ends, or expect to pay more for future access.
4. Check in advance to see which forms of payment are accepted. Paying in cash typically yields a better price.
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