Thanks to modern-day TV series we all hear of the many cases of antique finds selling for millions of dollars at auction or online sales.
So, if you’ve found something special in a thrift store, inherited something, or come across an unexpected treasure while clearing the attic, it’s worth finding out more about it.
An antique’s value depends on a few things. Read on to find out if you’ve got a valuable treasure in your hands.
Factors that Determine Your Antique’s Value
There are only a few basic steps involved in finding out what an item’s worth. These are:
Identification of the Item and Assessing its Condition
Most antique items are pretty easy to identify. They usually fall into the familiar categories of furniture, art, clothing, or other everyday things.
However, some items have been out of fashion or use for so long, that we’ve never seen or heard of them before. If you’ve found something that looks old but you don’t know what it is, you’ve got some work to do.
A google image search may help you identify it, and start your journey down the rabbit hole towards discovering what it’s worth.
Simply take a picture of the item with a digital camera and upload it onto your computer or phone. Then head over to the internet and open up Google images.
Click on ‘search by image’ and upload the image. The search engine will pull up similar images to help you find out what your item is.
Usually, the newer and less unscathed an item is, the higher its value. However, items with obvious wear can shoot up in value if they were once owned by a celebrity or historical figure.
Verifying its Age
Some antique items like coins and books have a date printed on them. If not you’ll need to search for other clues.
Many other antiques have labels or marks on the underside which can yield valuable information about the item. These include:
- The manufacturer
- Country of Origin
- Approximate production date
All of this information will help you to find out more about the antique and how much it could be worth.
Figuring Out Who Crafted it
In the ages, before mass production became commonplace, craftsmen made their products by hand and in limited numbers.
This makes it a lot easier to get a rough idea of how valuable it is.
Other factors that can escalate the value of antiques include rarity and who’s owned it before.
Discovering the Value of Your Antique
Once you’ve amassed as much information as you can about your antique find, the next step is figuring out what it’s worth. Even if you don’t intend to sell it, owning a priceless antique is still a good feeling.
As with most things, the internet is your go-to for information on antiques. You can do some research on sites specializing in antique valuations.
You can find out the prices of similar items on websites that specialize in antique sales or look for books containing valuable information about your particular item.
Some of the best-known websites to use in this regard are Kovels.com and Collect.com.
Reading Up About Antiques
Books are a great source of information on antiques. Your local library could reveal some more information on antiques common to your area.
Remember, books aren’t updated after publication, so don’t take any prices mentioned in print at face value. Rather use books to find out more about your item and use other sources to find information on the possible value.
Visiting antique roadshows are also a good option, especially if your research has sparked a new interest in this field.
These events overflow with fascinating artifacts and interesting people. They’re also a magnet for those with masses of experience in the field of antiques, so you could learn much from them.
Antique Dealers vs. Auctions
If you decide to get an antique dealer to value your items, expect disappointment. It’s in these shopkeepers’ best interests to place a lower value on your items.
After all, they need to sell it at a profit to their customers.
Auctions often yield the highest prices for antique goods. If you visit an auction and there are similar items on sale, you could get a fair indication of what your antique’s worth.
Auctions are totally unpredictable though, and fraught with risk. If you’re selling an item at auction, always place a reserve price on it, so you don’t lose money on the deal.
You can always try again another day.
A Professional Opinion is Best
Finding out more about items passed down to you or thrift shop finds is always interesting, but buyer beware. Things aren’t always as they seem.
The attractive designs of some antique artifacts, like these coins, are often used in jewelry and ornaments. That’s why it’s important to get an expert appraisal before buying or selling antiques.
A professional antique appraiser has immediate access to information that could take you years to discover. They’ll do due diligence in determining an accurate and fair price for your antique item.
Professional appraisers are adept at rooting out imitations quickly too, which can save you a lot of time pursuing the issue of value.
Antique values are largely governed by what people will pay for them, but this can’t account for sentimental value. An antique that you’ve inherited from a beloved family member is priceless to you even though it’s worth almost nothing on the open market.
Something Old, Something New
The exciting thing about an antique’s value is that it fluctuates with the times. Something worthless today could be the next big thing, especially as time passes. Keep reading our blog for more interesting articles on the best-of-the-best when it comes to lesser-known facts of life and the latest trending topics.