Q: I bought an old barbershop and all the antiques in it, including 1920s barber chairs, tons of razors, razor sharpeners, strops, combs and about 25 ceramic shaving mugs decorated with words and designs and signed on the bottom with makers’ marks. My favorite mug, titled “10th Infantry,” has a painting of soldiers and a bugler. I don’t want most of these things. How do I sell all of this?
A: There are collectors who would be interested in nearly everything in your shop. The most expensive chairs are those with elaborate iron trim. They sell for hundreds of dollars. And a rare occupational shaving mug—the kind with the name of an occupation and an image of a person working—can be worth even more than a chair. An “Aeronaut” mug picturing a parachutist auctioned for the record price of $45,000 in 2008. You could sell the things yourself, but if you’re not familiar with the collecting world, you could ask an expert, dealer, appraiser or auction house to help you. If the collection is in excellent shape, it would probably be best to contact a large auction house that sells shaving mugs, barbershop signs and barber equipment. The smaller items can be sold in groups (“lots”). It is easy to find auctions of barbershop items by searching online.