Perhaps you have a special piece of old furniture that has been handed down through the family or even something you bought for a few dollars at a yard sale but love like an old friend. While the sentimental value of such a piece might be priceless, it's only natural to be curious about the its actual monetary value. There are many reliable ways to find the value of an antique table even if you are inexperienced in the world of antique appraisals.
Be clear about which value you are interested in learning. Most antiques can be assigned a monetary value by several different standards.
Insurance value is usually the highest value. An insurance appraisal will state replacement cost if the table is lost, stolen or destroyed.
Estate or tax value is an average of auction prices of similar pieces. Estate value is typically determined by the IRS when seizing property.
Retail value is the price your table would sell for at a furniture or antique store.
Fair market value is the price agreed upon by the buyer and seller. For instance, you may see a table similar to yours on sale for $10 at an antique store, but if a buyer has offered you $15 for it, then $15 is fair market value.
Wholesale value is the price a dealer will pay for your table. Wholesale value is approximately one-third of the retail price the dealer will ask for when she sells it.
Find an accredited appraiser to value your table. Accredited appraisers can be found online, in the phone book, at antique shows and auction houses, or by asking an antique dealer for a recommendation.
Use a price guide to determine the value yourself. Dozens of printed and online guides list current values for thousands of antique items. Find a guide that is specifically for furniture, such as the Stickley Brothers Furniture Identification Guide.
Comparison-shop to find the value of your table. Look in antique stores, penny-ads and online outlets to find tables like yours, and see the price others are selling them for.
Take an average of the different values you have found to establish the most reasonable price. You should seek out more than one source when trying to find the value of your antique table, but this also means you may get a lot of variance between the quotes. By taking an average of the prices that have been suggested, you will have a sound starting place when valuing your antique table.
The more you know about your table, the easier it will be to assign an accurate value. Look inside the drawers and on the bottom of the table for manufacturers' labels, dates or any other information that may help you determine when and where it was made. If it is an heirloom, talk to the elders in your family about it. Write down any pertinent information and tuck it into a drawer or tape it on the bottom of the table so the information will never be lost.
Instead of buying several books that you may never use again, go to the library to browse printed pricing guides.
Beware of appraisals given by someone who offers to buy your table. Remember that dealers usually pay only about one-third of the retail value of an item.