Well-known member
I would like to ask the membership if they could recommend an auctioneer capable of liquidating a 40 year old shop that would have the typical stash of great wide boards, many hand tools, partially completed projects, and virtually every book written pertaining to period furniture. Clearly this is a specialized niche and the average auctioneer would not be able to distinguish the difference in wood species nor be able to tell a good tool from an average one.
1st question would be were are the items located? The second would be the types of items, i.e. small shop or commercial, and quality (powermatic vs. craftsman) age, quantity, and how long is the seller willing to wait before the auction.

Not to sound negative but with auctions your best bet is to to total how much you think everything should sell for, then hope for 25% of that amount.
The location is the Tampa Bay area of Florida.  The shop was always a small 1-3 man operation with the past 10 yrs being a one man custom woodworking/restoration and finishing shop. The run of the mill power tools will easily sell but its the other pieces of such things as wide, long and thick honduras and cuban mahogany, with crotches and figured grain.  There is a wide arrangement of hand tools all in tip-top shape, many vices incl. paternmakers, patterns, plans, carving samples and two large file boxes containing Ball & Ball and Horton brasses.  There is much much more.  I envision the auctioneer running an onsite and online auction simultaneously. I also have attended both good and badly run auctions where wood was listed as "stack of lumber" tools were listed as "old hand tools" and others with licence plates from up to 10 states.  Just thought someone out there might have had a positive experience they could share.

I do not know the perfect auctioneer to assist you, but I may be able to provide some insight as I have been involved in liquidating some relatively valuable specialty items. You did not mention your role or stake in this, and you need not disclose it; but it matters a great deal what it is.The simple reality is that it takes substantial resources to properly sell items of any sort, but especially those that appeal to a niche market, or else you will achieve the sorts of returns that were mentioned in the previous post - or come away feeling that you did.The keys to maximizing the return for items are:1. Getting the items into the optimum condition for a sale,2. Collecting, cataloging and describing the items extremely thoroughly, and researching their expected value and 3. Presenting them very professionally and to the widest possible audience. All of these "cost" resources, someone's time or someone's money, but will usually be repaid in the rate of return. If it is your personal stuff, or you stand to benefit from a good result, expect to take a lot of time to do these steps or to pay someone to do so. Auctioneers who show up at the auction, sell the stuff and disappear will not maximize your return unless you have done all of the other things above. Exposure to large groups of buyers costs money, in fees and commissions. Finally, consider on-line auctions ; I have used them to advantage where I prepare the materials for the actual seller who then handles the transactions part of the deal; listing, selling, shipping etc.

What Karl mentioned is correct. If I were to sell my shop, I would pull all of the niche items and put them on eBay. For example I have a Norris A5 and and I doubt I would get half it's worth locally, since it's only a niche market that would know what it is, so that would go on eBay. My Stanley 45 would sell at the local auction.

The same with my lumber, I would all of my domestics at the auction, but my Mahogany and other exotics would go on eBay.

You could also list the niche stuff on the classifieds here.