Choosing the Best Type of Fundraising Option for Your Nonprofit

Many nonprofits hold charity auctions to raise funds for their mission. It’s no wonder that they’re popular—auctions are exciting interactive events that give your donors an excuse to spend money in a good cause. They also tend to be lucrative, which is why organizations hold them despite the challenging amount of planning they can sometimes require, both in obtaining items to auction off and in running the event itself. However, what kind of auction you choose to hold can make a huge difference in how much revenue you generate for your nonprofit. Here are the three primary types of auction and their advantages:

Live auction: This is the classic auction scenario—an auctioneer shouting out the current bid while audience members compete for a coveted lot. When you want your auction to be the centerpiece of an event like a gala, and you have high-end items like tropical vacations to auction off, a live auction is a good bet to get the maximum value for the items you have on offer. With a live auctioneer driving the excitement, bidders are more likely to bid at or above an item’s value in the name of supporting your cause.

Silent auction: A silent auction is a great idea when you don’t want the auction to occupy center stage at your event. Bidding is open for a set period of time, with bidders writing their name down on a piece of paper with their bid for each item. Donors who aren’t comfortable getting into the thick of live bidding tend to prefer this format, and it’s ideal when you’d like something quieter that guests can participate in at their discretion. It’s easy to browse a silent auction during a cocktail hour, for example. This format is also good for raising interest in items that benefit from a closer look.

Online auction: Online auctions are the best option if you’d like to hold an auction without having to plan a huge event. If your supporters are spread out all over the country or the globe, conducting an auction online can be a way of bringing them together virtually to benefit your cause. In addition, you don’t have to charge admission to cover the overhead for an event, and your donors don’t have to buy fancy clothes or pay a babysitter to be able to attend, which gives them more money to spend at your auction.

Auction King can help you combine the best aspects of live and online auctions to net the greatest benefit for your organization. We supply expert auctioneers to run your live online event and the high-end items necessary to attract the most generous bids—you just direct your members to the dedicated URL we set up so they can participate. Our expertise and secure live-bidding platform guarantee a superior experience for your supporters. To find out more about how we can support your mission with a live online charity auction, contact us today.

Tips for Displaying Art in Your Home

Adding artwork to your home is a natural way to add your own personal touch to your décor, truly individualizing your space. Over time, most of us assemble a collection of prints, original artworks, and photographs that express what’s important to us and what we find beautiful. When it comes time to decide how best to display these treasures, though, we may be unsure of how to go about it. While there will always be personal taste involved in deciding what makes the most appealing arrangement, here are some general tips for how to display your art:

Protect your art

Direct sunlight can fade artworks, particularly works on paper, such as watercolors or prints. You can avoid damage to your favorite art by hanging it out of the sunlight, rotating your artwork so that none of your pieces are exposed to sunlight for extended periods of time, or having your art professionally framed with UV protective glass to combat the sun’s fading effects.

Hang artwork at the right height

One of the most common mistakes people make when hanging artwork is placing them too high or too low for comfortable viewing. Think in terms of eye level when you are deciding where to hang a piece—ideally, the center of a painting or print hung on a bare wall should be at about that height (about 57 to 60 inches off the floor for someone of average height).

If you’re hanging a piece of art above a piece of furniture, however, consider its relationship to what it is hanging near, as well as its overall height. When there is too big a gap between a framed artwork and the item it is hanging above, the excessive space can make it seem like the artwork is disconnected rather than part of a pleasing whole. This ideal distance can vary depending on the size of the artwork and the piece of furniture, so try having a friend hold the artwork in place while you stand back to gauge the effect before hanging it.

Display artwork in proportion

Correct proportions are a large part of getting that “just right” feel to an art display. If you have a large space above your couch, for example, putting a single small lithograph there will look out of balance. Instead, choose one large piece of art or a grouping of related pieces that will better fill the space. At the opposite end of the spectrum, a powder room or small hallway is likely to be overwhelmed by an outsized piece of art. A smaller artwork with delicate details is perfect for this type of space, where it can be viewed and appreciated at close range.

Don’t rush

Take your time and do some preplanning before you start pounding nails into the wall. Start by setting the artwork in the room you’re considering hanging it in. If it doesn’t feel right in the first spot, try setting it against a different wall to see if you like the light or overall effect better there. To get the exact right positioning for a gallery wall of mixed art pieces, cut out paper in the size of each artwork to be included and tape them up on the wall. That way you can move them around and get the exact right positioning before you begin.

When you’re looking for fine art to add to your home, Auction King’s collection of authenticated lithographs, giclées, prints, and originals is your source for stunning works at below-market values. Register for a free online account and start bidding today.

Why Buying Jewelry from an Online Auction is a Great Value

Why Buying Jewelry from an Online Auction is a Great Value Auction King

It’s common to assume that high-quality jewelry inevitably comes with an equally high price tag. However, that doesn’t always have to be the case. Experienced jewelry collectors know that buying at auction is a little-known secret to getting fine jewelry at unbelievable prices, and that the growing availability of online auctions is bringing this opportunity to a wider audience.

To understand why an online auction is a great place to find a bargain on jewelry, it helps to understand why retail outlets are often not good places to get a deal. Any brick-and-mortar store will be paying defined wholesale costs for all of their goods. On top of that, they have the overhead costs of running a physical store, expenses that get folded into the cost of every piece of merchandise sold, which drives prices higher. If a necklace or earrings are made by a specific designer, the premium for that name or brand can mean an even larger price tag. Some retail jewelry stores and chains routinely set prices above what they know the pieces are really worth and then run constant “sales” and “specials” to make customers feel like they’re getting a bargain. That’s rarely the case in those circumstances.

In contrast, online auctions give customers advantages that benefit their bottom line:

No need to meet overhead: Online auctions often source their merchandise in ways that mean there is no concern with making up manufacturing costs or meeting minimums. Fine jewelry can come from government seizure of goods, overstocking, abandoned pawn shop items, estate sales, and more. In those cases, the sellers are highly motivated to get rid of stock that is taking up space at whatever price they can get.

Convenience: Time is money, and the amount of time you have to spend traveling from store to store to find the ring or bracelet you’re looking for is something you should consider as part of the overall cost of buying jewelry. Purchasing from an online auction saves you gas money and fatigue, since you can browse and bid from the comfort of your own home. You also have the opportunity to purchase from a far larger and more varied selection of jewelry than you’d be able to find at any single store.

Of course, in order to truly realize the potential advantage of purchasing fine jewelry at an online auction, you have to buy from a reputable auction house. Auction King authenticates every piece of jewelry sold on our site, providing certificates of authenticity so you can be sure that what you get is exactly what you expected. Our auction format, conducted by a live professional auctioneer, gives you the genuine experience of a live auction, where the ultimate winning bid is determined by the flow of bidding, not by an artificially timed or automated process. Finally, our items do not have reserve prices, so bidding on even a priceless diamond ring can start as low as $1.

Auction King is your source for fine jewelry at below-market prices. We offer a continually updated selection of necklaces, bracelets, earrings, rings, and more featuring a variety of styles, gemstones, and precious metals. Register for a free online account and start bidding today.

Are Cartier Watches a Good Investment?

Are Cartier Watches a Good Investment Auction King

When a new collector thinks of luxury watches in terms of an investment, Cartier may not be the first name that springs to mind. From one perspective, this is understandable. Founded in 1847 by Louis-Francois Cartier, a master jeweler, the company was known for its fine jewelry well before it designed its first wristwatch. However, Cartier watches are prized for their workmanship as well as their superior design, which makes them worth consideration if you’re in the market for a luxury wristwatch.

Cartier’s history as a watchmaker began in the nineteenth century, when it produced jeweled and enameled pocket watches that echoed the motifs of its jewelry lines. However, in modern times we associate their watchmaking history with the advent of their first men’s wristwatch in 1904. This was the Santos, created for the aviator Alberto Santos-Dumont, who had complained that consulting a pocket watch was impractical when flying. The square-bezel design that Cartier produced appealed to more than just its original recipient—in fact, variations on the original design are still part of Cartier’s watch line today.

Equally iconic, the Cartier Tank watch, first created in 1917, was inspired by the design of Renault World War I tanks. The first prototype was given as a gift to General Pershing. It is known for its clean rectangular look, updated several times in the century since its introduction. The ladies’ versions of this line have proven to be as popular as the men’s, and again, you’ll find several current variations of this design for sale today.

In general, Cartier is known for the cutting-edge designs of watches such as the Panthère, Ballon Bleu, Baignoire, and Tortue, but it would be a mistake to assume that the brand is all about looks. Cartier dedicates as much energy and passion to the precision of the movement within the watches it produces as it does to their exterior design. Thus, a Cartier watch is not simply a beautiful ornament, but a quality timepiece as well.

As with any collectible item where subjectivity is a factor in appraising value, Cartier watches should not be considered a short-term investment. In general, individual watches that are from iconic lines or that incorporate precious materials like gold or gemstones are more likely to maintain a predictable price, but that isn’t always the case. The amount you might be offered at resale can vary according to current fashions, so be prepared to hold on to the watch until market conditions are right. This is why it is always a good idea to buy a watch that appeals to your personal sense of style, so that you can enjoy owning it until you feel the time is right to sell.

To get a Cartier watch at below-market values, you should first check out auctions. At Auction King, we regularly stock previously owned luxury watches spanning a wide variety of famous brands and styles, with opening bids starting as low as $1. We triple-check every item on our site for authenticity so you can bid with confidence. Register for a free online account today to get started.

Tips for Making Custom Jewelry with Loose Stones

Tips for Making Custom Jewelry with Loose Stones Auction King

Everyone has their own taste when it comes to fine jewelry. Some prefer simple pieces, others prefer ornate. Some wear signature precious stones or metals exclusively, while others mix and match. With so much variation in personal taste to contend with, it’s no wonder that sometimes commercially available jewelry designs don’t quite match what you’re looking for. However, there’s no reason to settle for something that isn’t exactly right. If you start with loose stones, you can have a piece custom-made to fit your vision exactly.

Perhaps you like a particular style of ring but would like it with a different center stone. Or maybe you haven’t seen the type of pendant you’re imagining in any jewelry store. An experienced jeweler can help you create the exact piece you want. Here are some tips on how to go about it:

Find your jeweler

Look for someone in your area who advertises custom work. Ask friends and family if they have anyone they would recommend, or check out online reviews to get a sense of who’s reliable. If you already have a jeweler you know and trust, even better.

Discuss your idea

Talk to your prospective jeweler about what you have in mind. What type of piece are you looking for—a bracelet, pendant, earrings, ring? What size? What kind of metal? What type of stone? The more specific you can be in what you’re interested in, the better able your jeweler will be to create a design that appeals to you. If you already have a stone or stones that you would like the jeweler to use, make sure they know. They’ll need to know the exact size of any stone you want to use in order to design the mounting accurately.

Be willing to listen to the advice your jeweler gives you during this step. For example, some softer stones, such as opals, are not well suited for harsh or daily wear. Other stones, such as emeralds, can be brittle and should be worn in settings designed to protect them. A thoughtful design can help ensure the longevity of your piece and maximize your enjoyment.

Establish your terms

Some jewelers may charge a minimum fee to create a custom piece of jewelry, especially if they are fabricating the mounting from scratch. Make sure the proposed price is in line with your planned budget. You’ll also want to be clear on the process, from preliminary discussions and sketches to delivery of the final piece. Getting a custom piece of jewelry made typically takes longer than simply having a calibrated stone inserted into a premade setting, so be prepared to exercise some patience, especially if the item you’ve requested is unusually complex. Knowing exactly what to expect will help you enjoy the journey from concept to reality.

You can help your jewelry budget go further by purchasing loose stones at auction, where you can avoid retail markup. Auction King regularly stocks an assortment of unmounted precious gemstones such as diamonds, rubies, sapphires, amethyst, tanzanite, jade, and more. All are accompanied by gemological reports verifying their authenticity, and opening bids start as low as $1. Register for a free online account today to start bidding.

The Most Expensive Items That Have Been Auctioned in History

There are many categories of items that set legendary auction prices—fine artwork, rare manuscripts, precious gems—but they all have certain characteristics in common. They may be extraordinarily beautiful or well crafted, have historical significance or cultural resonance, but the most important factor is their rarity. When an item is unique or nearly so, its price at auction can go through the roof. Here are a few of the most expensive:

The Codex Leicester: Leonardo da Vinci was not only famous as an artist, but as a thinker whose ideas in many fields were well ahead of his time. He wrote his notebooks in a mirror cursive script, which this manuscript features. It was sold to Bill Gates in 1994 for the whopping price of $30.8 million.

“Pink Star” diamond: The largest fancy pink diamond ever graded by the Gemological Institute of America, this 59.6 carat stone sold at auction for $71.2 million at a Sotheby’s auction in Hong Kong in 2017, exceeding the previous record for the most expensive diamond sold at auction.

Balloon Dog, Orange: This sculpture by Jeff Koons is one of a series whose counterparts are owned by a veritable who’s who of the elite. When this one sold for $58.4 million in the 1990s, it set the world record for a work by a living artist.

The Clark-Sickle Leaf carpet: This seventeenth-century Persian rug sold at auction for $33.7 million in 2013 to an anonymous buyer. Once the property of industrialist William Clark, the carpet was auctioned off by the Corcoran Gallery of Art to raise funds for future acquisitions.

L’Homme Qui Marche I: This 1961 sculpture by Alberto Giacometti of a walking man, which stands six feet tall, sold for $104.3 million, making it the most expensive sculpture ever auctioned.

The Scream: One of the most easily recognizable works of modern art, this version of Edvard Munch’s famous painting sold for $119.9 million. Of the four versions of the work that the artist created, this is the only one that is privately owned.

Salvator Mundi: This Leonardo da Vinci painting, once thought to have been destroyed but rediscovered in 2011, sold at auction in 2017 for a mind-blowing $450.3 million, smashing all previous records for the most expensive painting sold at auction.

Qianlong Vase: This antique Chinese porcelain vase is believed to date from the 18th century. Once belonging to Chinese royalty, it was taken from the Chinese mainland during the Second Opium War. It sold at auction for $53 million.

While the world’s treasures may set records, AuctionKing.com brings fine art, high-end jewelry, and collectibles to our customers at down-to-earth prices. You can shop our authenticated selection with confidence and bid from the comfort of your own home on our secure platform. We bring the excitement and opportunity of a professionally run live auction to you. Register today for a free online account and start bidding!

The Jewelry Brands That Celebrities Swear By

We can’t help but be fascinated by what the stars choose to wear. After all, celebrities aren’t just in the business of looking good, they’re also in the position to know the top brands for both style and quality. Where these trendsetters lead, others follow. If you’re looking to add a dash of celebrity style to your jewelry wardrobe, here are some brands to check out.

Unsurprisingly, celebrities tend to be associated with some of the biggest and well-known high-end jewelry brands in the business. For example, Cartier’s Love bracelet is a favorite, spotted on the wrists of celebs such as Jennifer Aniston, Sofia Vergara, Kylie Jenner, and Pippa Middleton. Chanel jewelry, especially one-of-a-kind vintage pieces, is also popular with stars such as Beyonce, Rihanna, and Lady Gaga. Bulgari is another favorite, with both Ashley Judd and Olivia Munn having been spotted wearing their jewels. The gorgeous aquamarine and diamond necklace that Gal Gadot wore to the 2018 Oscars was a creation of Tiffany & Co., as were the tassel earrings Natalie Portman wore to the same event in 2011. And of course among Hollywood’s elite, Harry Winston jewels are a classic go-to.

Believe it or not, however, celebrities do not always go around dripping in lavish jewels. When they go for a more understated look, they often turn to newer, up-and-coming designers for something different. For example, delicate pieces by Los-Angeles based Jennifer Meyer have become popular, with stars such as Reese Witherspoon, Hilary Swank, and Katy Perry sporting her designs. Jennifer Lawrence and Kate Winslet have been seen wearing multiculturally influenced necklaces and rings by Jacquie Aiche. And UK designer Monica Vinader produces contemporary jewelry that attracts celebrity fans like Emma Watson and the Duchess of Cambridge. These designers tend to have prices that, while not exactly bargains, are a little more affordable for mere mortals.

If you’re looking to emulate celebrity style without racking up exorbitant bills, there are a number of ways to go about it. First, you can scale back—while celebrities might stack up several Love bracelets on a single arm, most of us can content ourselves with one. Second, you can purchase second-hand or at auction. Buying retail is a certain way to pay a high price, but buying at auction gives you the opportunity to buy a high-end piece of jewelry without the retail markup. Finally, you can always look for a similarly styled piece from a less well-known jeweler or designer. If you can find a bracelet or earrings that have the same style but without the premium name, you’re likely to pay much less.

When it comes to pulling off a polished look, the stars and their stylists know where it’s at. It’s worth taking a page out of their book when you want to look your best.

10 Sports Memorabilia Items That Have Been Auctioned for the Most Amount of Money

Passionate fandom is a given in almost any sport, which is why sports memorabilia is a booming business. Owning a jersey, a baseball card, a game ball, or a trophy is like owning a piece of history, being part of iconic moments in sports that may have changed the course of a game or brought home a winning championship. The rarer or more significant the item, the more likely it will be to command a jaw-dropping price. Here are ten of the most expensive items of sports memorabilia (so far!) that have been sold:

$956,000 – Soccer – Football Association Challenge Cup: The FA Cup is the world’s oldest soccer competition, started in 1871. The trophy auctioned off in 2005, the oldest of the four FA Cups that have ever been made, was given to the winning team from 1896 to 1910.

$996,000 – Baseball – Babe Ruth’s 1920 Yankees Contract: While no-one is exactly sure why the Boston Red Sox chose to sell Babe Ruth’s contract to the Yankees in 1920, there is no doubt that the move launched the Yankees to greatness. This contract marked the beginning of an era of success for both Babe Ruth and his new team.

$1.1 million – Boxing – Muhammad Ali’s 1965 Floyd Patterson Fight Gloves: Even for those who don’t follow boxing, Muhammad Ali is one of the most recognizable sports figures of all time. These gloves, auctioned on Ali’s seventieth birthday, were from a fight he won against Floyd Patterson by technical knockout in the twelfth round in 1965.

$1.4 million – Soccer – Sheffield Football Club Rules, Regulations, and Laws: Auctioned in 2011 to raise money for the club, this pamphlet is believed to be one of the earliest football instruction pamphlets.

$1.265 million – Baseball – Babe Ruth 1923 First Yankee Stadium Home Run Bat: Auctioned in 2004, this bat is the most expensive ever sold, according to the Guinness Book of World Records.

$1.275 million – Hockey – Paul Henderson 1972 Jersey: Paul Henderson, the Canadian hockey legend, wore this jersey in the 1972 Summit Series between Canada and the USSR. Henderson scored the series-winning goal for the Canadians in the eighth game.

$3 million – Baseball – Mark McGwire’s 70th Home Run Ball: In 1988, Mark McGwire smashed the previous home-run record for a single season by nine runs. This ball, driven to deep left field in his seventieth home run of the season, brought a record price at auction.

$3.12 million – Baseball – Honus Wagner 1909 Baseball Card: With only 57 in existence, Honus Wagner’s baseball card has sold for staggering prices more than once. The most recent sale of one, in 2016, exceeded the previous record price for one of these cards by over $300,000.

$4.3 million – Basketball – James Naismith’s 1891 Rules of Basketball: Unlike many sports whose origins are disputed, basketball is considered the creation of James Naismith, who came up with it as a game to be played indoors during cold northern winter months. This original document laid out thirteen rules that established the basics of the sport.

$4.415 million – Baseball – Babe Ruth 1920 Jersey: The most expensive piece of sports memorabilia sold to date is Babe Ruth’s earliest known Yankees jersey, from the 1920 season when he made 158 runs and 54 home runs for his new team.

Of course, you don’t have to be a millionaire to own part of the game you love. AuctionKing.com offers a constantly updated selection of authenticated sports memorabilia at bids starting as low as $1. Register today for a free online account to get started!

Spotlight on May’s Birthstone: Emerald

Emerald is a variety of beryl, a mineral family that includes aquamarine and morganite. Emerald’s rich green to blue-green color is caused by the trace elements chromium, vanadium, and iron. The exact hue of a particular stone depends on the relative proportions of each of these elements, with a higher iron content producing more of a blue tint, and higher chromium and vanadium content producing a purer green tone.

Due to the way emeralds are formed in nature, almost all of these gemstones have readily visible inclusions. Emeralds that are eye-clean are both extremely rare and extremely expensive! Experts expect that genuine emeralds will have inclusions, and their presence does not diminish the value of a stone unless they are so numerous and/or large that they significantly impact the gem’s transparency or clarity.

While emeralds are a 7.5 to 8 on the Mohs scale of hardness, indicating that they have significant resistant to scratching, the stones tend to be brittle. In addition to their natural inclusions, most emeralds tend to have fractures. This makes them difficult to cut and somewhat delicate to wear. In general, they should not be exposed to rough treatment or extreme temperatures. In addition, emeralds may be treated with oil, wax, or other fillers to reduce the appearance of surface-reaching fractures. While such treatments are common, this means that the stones should not be exposed to steam or ultrasonic cleaning methods.

Like other colored gemstones, emeralds are evaluated on the basis of the 4 Cs—color, clarity, cut, and carats. Of these factors, the most important for emeralds is the color. The most valuable emeralds are an even, vivid green without color zoning. The color should not be too blue or too yellowish—when that is the case, the stone is not considered an emerald at all, but some different variety of beryl.

As noted before, a genuine emerald is unlikely to have flawless clarity. However, a heavily included stone will be less valuable than one with fewer inclusions. The cut of an individual stone should maximize the size of the emerald while minimizing the potential effect of any fractures and producing the best possible color. Finally, size does matter—unlike with some stones that are readily found in larger sizes, emeralds increase dramatically in value as their carat size increases when other quality factors are equal.

Although high-quality emeralds tend to be pricey, it is possible to get pendants, necklaces, bracelets, rings, and earrings at below-market values. The live online auction at AuctionKing.com stocks a wide selection of professionally appraised, authenticated emerald jewelry that is updated constantly as new finds become available. Sign up for a free online account and start bidding securely from the comfort of your own home today!

Where Interior Designers Go for Art

 

Interior designers face a multifaceted challenge every time they design a new space. At a bare minimum, they have to work within the constraints of the existing architecture of the house, apartment, or office in question to satisfy the client’s personal taste. They may also need to incorporate existing furnishings or artworks into the scheme of the new design while sourcing new elements to complete the overall look. And undoubtedly, they need to accomplish all of this within a budget. Given that art is the finishing touch that breathes life into any interior design, where do these experts go to find it?

Art presents a particular challenge, because clients’ tastes in paintings or sculpture can vary widely. An interior designer attempting to meet the diverse needs of various clients will need to have multiple sources for artworks that fit a variety of aesthetics. Therefore, they tend to cast a wide net in cultivating relationships and exploring opportunities for finding interesting art for their clients.

The key is to be able to quickly find artwork that is affordable for their clients. Interior designers do this by networking with art galleries, studios, art schools, and artists themselves. It’s not unusual for designers to spot promising talent when artists are still in school and follow their careers as they mature. Modern artists tend to use social media to promote their work, so savvy interior designers will also use this resource to spot potential finds. Interior designers may also work with art consultants or scouts who specialize in finding artworks based on criteria like size, style, and medium.

Interior designers also take advantage of the cost savings and opportunities available through buying art at auctions. From representational to abstract art, original paintings, lithographs, giclees, or sculptures, the artwork found at auction often represents a wide range of styles. Just as importantly, these pieces can be obtained at prices far below those you would find in a gallery, which helps an interior designer stretch their client’s budget further than it might otherwise go.

AuctionKing’s collection of fine art gives our clients the opportunity to buy art (and find deals!) like the professionals, all from the convenience of our secure online bidding platform. We stock an ever-changing selection of styles, types, and sizes of art to fit any taste, and our low starting bids put them within reach of even a modest budget. If you’re looking to give your home or office that perfect finishing touch, sign up for a free online account today to start bidding.