As the recession continues, more people are trying to sell personal belongings to make money.
Unfortunately, what the items sell for is often much less than what they hoped it would be.
Bridget Donnelly, who is in charge of marketing at David Donnelly Antiques in Duncansville, said people are selling their antiques because the economy is forcing them to downsize.
(Mirror photo by J.D. Cavrich)
David Donnelly, owner of David Donnelly Antiques in Duncansville, stands beside an Empress music box made during the late 1800s.
''The sad reality is that [the sellers] have emotional attachment to the antiques that they are selling. They have a perception that the items will be worth a lot, but the value is not as high as their emotions want them to believe,'' she said.
Pam Danziger, who studies consumer behavior as president of Unity Marketing, said people who start collections often make a mistake by considering them an investment. Then they end up disappointed when they try to sell the collections to people who don't share the same emotional ties to the items.
''Even if things are 100 years old, it doesn't necessarily mean they're rare or valuable to anyone else,'' she said.
David Donnelly, owner of David Donnelly Antiques, agreed.
''It's human nature to want the moon. People always want things [to sell] for more than they are worth,'' he said.
Jesse Helsel, a vendor at Antique Depot in Duncansville, said people are bringing in everything and anything to sell. Some jewelry he sells is worth more than $4,000, but he is having trouble getting $225 for it.
''Everything is flat,'' he said.
Gene Kowaleski, also a vendor at Antique Depot, said the items that are selling during the hard times are rare and unusual.
''Average items just aren't selling,'' he said.
Kowaleski said most young people don't want antiques because they believe the items are too fussy to take care of.
While experts generally agree that demand remains high and prices good for rare, top-of-the-line items, the market for mid-range and lower-quality collectibles is down sharply.
''The majority of items have a value under $10,000, and that's the material that's been hit the hardest,'' said Mike Gutierrez, a sports memorabilia expert for Heritage Auctions in Dallas.
A downfall in sales has led to Kowaleski closing two of his businesses in Tyrone where he sold cut glass.
''We were basically giving stuff away,'' he said.
Donnelly said the best thing for people who have to sell items is not to part with antiques that have emotional value.
''If you can't get too much for it, you might just want to hold on to it,'' he said.
The Associated Press contributed to this story. Katie Duffy is a senior at Altoona Area High School. She works at the Mirror through the School-to-Career program.