If you think you have an antique in your home then you’re going to need to know what they are worth. It doesn’t matter if you’re thinking of selling or not, a genuine antique needs to be valued to ensure that you have the right level of insurance. Sometime you may also hear the word vintage. So what is antique and what is the main difference between vintage and antique?
According to MentalFloss, Antique is defined as items that are over 100 years old. Anything that is less than 100 years, it may be called vintage , but not antique. In the same article, antique can be further described as
“works of art (except rugs and carpets made after the year 1700), collections in illustration of the progress of the arts, works in bronze, marble, terra cotta, parian, pottery or porcelain, artistic antiquities and objects of ornamental character or educational value which shall have been produced prior to the year 1830.”
The rule of thumb of 100 years or older is there to support the claim that antique products are not taxed. Therefore, the 100-year standard was adopted to keep people from claiming things as antiques that actually weren’t.
Do you need a professional appraisal for your antique?
The short answer is: Yes! It helps to obtain professional advice for your antique if you are serious about your antique. Having said that, it is important that you do your own study before you pass it on to the real appraisal company. It will save you headache, time and money in the long run.
But first, you need to make sure your antique item is in the best possible condition. Businesses like Glen Sheldon offer a French polishing service that will make your furniture look like when it was first made. You can then speak to a professional appraiser and either visit them or have them visit you. It is important to choose a professional that has a good reputation.
Now back to the self study, below are some pointers and options to do a self assessment of your antiques value:
1- Try Google for Answer
The concern when using a professional appraiser is that they will simply give you what you think it is worth. They can then sell it on for much more. At the end of the day they are in business to make money. Instead you should use Google to see if you can find an evaluation. You will need to know what type of antique you have. In fact the more details you have the easier it will be for you to find something similar online and locate a value for your item. For instance, if you google the term “Circa 1905 Armand Marseille 390 dolls“, you will see many results, one of which is from homelilys.com and ebay.com for instance.
2- Free online antique appraisal tool
An alternative is to use one of the online valuation services. You will need to upload a picture of your item and as many details you have regarding it. Once again, google is your best friend. And just for the sake of simplicity, here is one of the free valuation tool I found: Gorringe’s or Theodore Bruce (Australian’s site).
The service then provides a report within 48 hours that gives you the history of your item and the current valuation.
3- Facebook Antique Group
I personally use this a lot for my vintage products. I usually obtain a quick and professional feedback from those who own similar items. Sometime though, it can be quite challenging to obtain an unbiased comment from another owner of the antiques. Simply because, not all of them are professional by career. But their invaluable comment is a good information for me to pursue further research on the items.
One of such active antique facebook group I recommend is: Talking Antique or if you speak Russian, try this: antikvarbuk .
4- The Auction House
If you are considering selling your antiques then it is worth taking them to a local auction house. You will be able to see the prices similar items have sold for in the past and speak to their professionals in order to get the right figure for your antique.
You will then be able to set a reserve and watch what happens at the auction. By the way, this LinkedIn article has a good introduction to the top Auction Houses in the world.
5- The Library
It may seem like an old fashioned idea but the library can provide a huge amount of information regarding the authenticity of your antique and the condition it should be in. In this case, the first step is to at least know the name of your antique. With the name, you can then research it more quickly. Nowadays, with Google Image, you can easily find out the name of a product very easily. Simply upload the image into Google Image and click search.
If your research leaves you conflicted on the real value of the item then you may need to see an appraisal specialist. Of course this is likely to cost in the region of $300; you’ll need to consider whether this amount is worth spending or not.
Conclusion Thought on Antique Values Appraisals
If you think you have either a vintage product or antique items in your house, do not wait! Go online, or Facebook group and ask for its worth. Although you might not want to sell them yet, you should still keep an idea of their worth. That way, you are sure to take proper care of these valuable antiques. And last piece of advice, if you do decide to go for professional appraiser, make sure your antique furniture or items are in good conditions i.e. remember to clean and polish them!