Do you have an interesting antique that you think could be worth a significant amount of cash?
Determining its worth entails more than searching for it in a price guide or auction results. There are several factors that will influence your antique’s value.
Here are our guidelines to help you evaluate your antique like an appraiser:
Is it in good condition?
One of the first things you should consider when trying to determine the value of your antique is is its condition. How close is your item to looking like new or “mint” condition? Factors such as visible wear and tear, cracks, chips, stains, and missing components will significantly contribute to its worth. Of course, the degree of imperfection comes into play. Minor nicks are more passable than major cracks.
Does It Have Salvage Value?
A broken or damaged antique isn’t necessarily worthless. Oftentimes dealers will be interested in purchasing items they can restore or disassemble for parts to repair other pieces. An antique can retain some value depending on the extent of the damage and its relative usefulness. Check around before thinking of discarding it.
Is it rare?
There are times when rarity can overshadow an antique’s condition. Extremely rare items will still be valuable even with some slight damage. Not sure about your item’s rarity? Consider consulting an expert.
Does it have a mark?
Use a magnifying glass to closely examine your piece for identifying marks. Items with a manufacturer’s or designer’s mark are more valuable than identical pieces with no signature. Marks can help you determine the following:
- The item’s authenticity.
- The item’s age. Many makers frequently changed their marks; knowing when a mark was used will help you determine when your item was made.
- The artist or maker who made the item. This is important as an antique’s value can increase depending on who the artist or maker was.
Is it in Demand?
Age isn’t always indicative of value. What matters more is the demand for an item. It’s not unusual for a 100-year-old item’s price to fluctuate widely and quickly based on its demand with collectors. It’s important to closely monitor the markets and remain well-informed on value-affecting trends for your antique or collectible as prices may dip to pre-demand levels after a boom.
Is it authentic?
Is your item real or a fake? As a rule of thumb, items that have been passed down in your family for generations are usually more legitimate when compared to items purchased at a random flea market. Examine the subtle details of your antiques as these are often tell-tale signs of its true age. Need a second opinion? Consult an expert.
Has It Been Restored or Repaired?
A restoration or repair may increase or decrease an item’s value depending on the expertise of the person who did it. While professional restoration can potentially enhance the value of a rare antique, an amateur job will negatively affect its value. Haphazardous repairs or improper cleaning may remove the original value-adding “patina” thus decreasing its value. Other factors to consider include visibly detected glue, soldering or chips.
Did you read these guidelines and realize you have a valuable antique on your hands? Check out our tips on selling your antique to a dealer near you
Ask an Expert for Advice
If you’re still uncertain about your item’s value, consult Twery’s! Our family-owned and operated business has successfully dealt with antiques and other collectibles from both dealers and the public in the South Florida area since 1982, making us trustworthy experts you can rely on.