Whether it’s an old lamp you just found in your attic or an interesting piece of pottery you picked up at a garage sale, it’s important to know what your antique is worth. Although there is a wide range of pricing for various antiques, certain universal principles apply when assessing value. These have to do with the date of your antique, the condition and rarity of the item.
Determining the Worth
Determine the date of your antique. There is usually a stamp located on the bottom or back of an item with the date of manufacture. If purchasing your item ask the seller of the date. If neither is available, try to find similar antiques through an online search.
Classify the condition of your antique. An excellent or mint rating would be as close to the original condition of the antique when it was first purchased. For every defect, however minor, the grading of your antique is decreased. An honest representation of the condition is key to finding out the value of your antique.
Check out the library or book stores for pricing guides available in the category of your antique. Everything from furniture to comic books to Disneyana has a pricing guide. This will be your first indication of value.
Investigate auction sites such as eBay to see if similar antiques are being sold. The true worth of your item will be determined by its value to other collectors. Something that was mass produced and is in abundant supply won’t be as valuable as a hard-to-find antique.
Find a local dealer who handles the same type of antique and ask for an assessment of your item. You can also try visiting large flea markets that might be selling similar items.
Determine the provenance of your item by knowing the chain of ownership. For instance a set of golf clubs used by President Kennedy is more valuable then just a set of golf clubs from 1960. But make sure you can back up any provenance claim with substantial proof.
If transporting your item for assessment make sure it is wrapped up and protected from damage.
Get more then one opinion from the various sources mentioned.
Note that a date stamped on an item might not be the manufactured date but the copyright date of the item. Make sure to determine the difference.
Additionally, when selling an item to a professional dealer you might not get the price-guide value.