For many of us who spend any time watching home antiques programmes on television, the prospect of finding some hidden attic antiques is amazing. However, that dream often fades away when we look around and believe that we have nothing of value. You might be missing out though. There are some home antiques that linger in attics and cupboards that are worth more than you think. At the very least, you might find some things you never knew you had.
So, how you start identifying antique furniture from the comfort of your own home?
How to Identify Antique Items from Home
The first thing to consider when you’re looking through your potential home antiques is what type of items are often classified as antiques. It isn’t enough to say that an item is old and that makes it worth something – start with the items more likely to be valuable and then you won’t be disheartened as you tackle the rest of your hidden attic antiques.
So, start by identifying antique furniture such as bureaux, tables, chairs, drawers and desks. First check for an antique identifier such as a manufacturer’s mark or see if there are any unusual features that would make it stand out in a crowd. The internet has a wealth of information on hidden attic antiques, or you could go old school and have a look through an antiques guide or two. Before you worry about spending money with no guaranteed return, you can usually pick up these books for a few pounds in charity shops.
Once you’ve covered the big things, move down the scale to smaller items that might be worth more than your antique furniture. Here, it can be both easier and more complicated to identify your home antiques – it depends on the item in question.
How to Identify Rare and Value Antiques
Different types of hidden attic antiques have different identifying marks. Antique silverware, for instance, is usually easy to identify due to its stamps. If you have a fully boxed set which is stamped, you can easily trace that stamp by checking online or posting in forums if nothing immediately jumps out from the search results.
For other items, locating the antique identifier can be trickier. If you’re dealing with fragile ornaments, be careful while checking and use a magnifying glass to assess areas you don’t want to get too close to. Branding on antiques can make the identification process simpler but remember that simply being branded is no guarantee that it’s valuable.
How to Find the Value of Vintage and Antique Items
Value is dependent not only on authenticity, although this is obviously an element of it. Without authenticity, all you have is an old piece of furniture or an old ornament. Beyond this, however, you need to check a few other things.
First, even if you know the item is authentic, the antique market is a buyer’s paradise. If an item is rarer then a buyer is more likely to want it, so trying to sell a perfectly authentic chair when there are a dozen for sale at the same time will necessarily drive the price down. Sometimes, this can be a case of waiting for the right time to sell, so holding onto those hidden attic antiques a little longer can benefit your wallet.
The condition of the antique matters too. If it hasn’t been well cared for – or at least shielded from dust, grime and water – that will lower the value and may even prevent buyers from investing in it at all. So, while you’re rooting through looking for hidden attic antiques, check that everything is preserved as well as it can be in case you’re looking to sell those items in the future too.
What Antiques Might You Have at Home?
If you’re struggling to determine whether any of the items stuffed into your attic, cupboards and wardrobes are likely to be worth anything, ask whether they fit into these popular categories:
- Furniture such as rocking chairs and writing desks
- Antique lighting
- Silverware like cutlery
- Plates, bowls and other crockery
- Old and rare books
- Old luggage trunks
- Ornaments and dolls
- Religious items
This isn’t an exhaustive list by any means, and you’ll probably find that home antiques not listed here are more valuable for their rarity. Just remember that hidden attic antiques are only valuable if you get out there and try to sell them, so take steps to find what they’re worth and get them on the market as soon as you can.