In order to make it worth while to have an auction company pick up items I had to sell, I would sometimes include valuable items I really liked. Beautiful antiques with sentimental attachments. Pieces with fond memories and interesting stories behind them that I have had for many years. I would do this to pad the sale and distribute the cost evenly and ideally pushing the average lot price higher. ORRRR, I just needed extra cash that particular month so I hastily sold off some expensive shit that I never use and was just collecting dust.... It's one or the other.
When the sale was over and those "cherished" items bring way less than I thought they should have, I felt like punching myself in the face repeating "WHY did I sell that? WHY did I sell that!!?" That just happens sometimes. The crowd didn't want it, things fall out of fashion, one buyer wanted it really bad but no competing bidders were there to run up the bids. It's not the auctioneer's fault. That's just the business.
The good news was, thanks to all the other unusual and under appreciated lots, surprisingly the sale brought 30 percent or more than I was expecting. Pieces that should have sold for 350 brought 800. Some paintings that I offered out 2 years ago for 25 bucks brought 150. THAT is the double edged sword of the auction. Pretty sweet when duds explode.
Take the good with the bad. You will get burned on a small margin of the pieces you consign if you don't put reserves on them. You should know that going in. Reframe it and have a price range you will be happy with after the commission and other fees are deducted.
I personally don't put a reserve on anything unless the auction house suggest it. The piece is there to be sold to the highest bidder, not to be displayed and priced like it's in a shop window at the mall. It's unfair to the auction house and the buyer. Sell it. Take your lumps or show a profit and occasionally a potential massive profit. Either way, don't look back or whine about the pieces that should have brought more.
Remember, most of the world record prices in the art world were set at auction. It dictates the market and creates excitement.
If you have something to sell, be prepared to lose or jump for joyous joy joys when that ugly painting of the sailor smoking a pipe in your grandmother's hallway brings fifteen thousand dollars at auction. (You know, the painting you wanted to dump for cash at the church craft and junk sale last year but your husband talked you into letting a competent auctioneer look at it?) Don't be that person. Get an opinion.