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Families hope to find cash in the attic

Cash-strapped householders are clearing out their garages and attics to earn money.

Auction houses have seen an increase in calls from people willing to convert their valued possessions goods to cash -- and make a quick recession buck.

Householders are clearing out their attics to sell off family goods including tables and chairs, paintings, cabinets, old records, golf clubs, ornaments, and sofas.

Robin Webb from Mitchell's Auction Service told the Herald: "Obviously people are in a situation where they've been holding stuff over the Celtic Tiger years, and it gives them an opportunity to offload auctions without doing anything.

"We go to houses if someone has something that they want to get rid of, and we offer them 50pc of the value. The auction house takes 20pc, the owner takes 50pc, and we take 30pc."

"A lot of people aren't aware that auction houses exist, and they don't have a large van to move the stuff there. We familiarise ourselves with each auction house, go down on the first day of drop-offs where they categories the pieces and number them, and we take a look at what's coming in."

Michael Jordan from O'Reilly's Auction Rooms, which specialises in silver and jewellery says people have been selling items for money, and buying items as a means to invest.

"People are selling items, not through total necessity, but as a means to prop up other areas of their business. People who would have had rental incomes or shares that they don't have now, realise that they could be selling their antiques."

He added: "Before, people didn't really look to the future when they were buying a ring for €10,000 but now they want to know if there'll be a tangible realisation of investment. Instead of investing in shares in a bank, they're asking is the piece of jewellery good quality and will it stand to me in the future?"

David Herman from Herman and Wilkinson auction rooms said people are more willing to buy second-hand furniture than they were in the Tiger years.

"There does seem to be more people coming in recessionary times. People are looking for good value in furniture."

Robin added that auctions are often a double-edged sword because people selling the items often discover they will get a lot less for their goods than previously thought.

"Mahogany tables and chairs will go for less than €100 even though they may have cost €6,000 when they were bought six or seven years ago."