How to Value Your Antiques: 4 Helpful Tips
Valuing your antiques correctly is the first step towards obtaining not only a full understanding of how much they’re worth but also the best way to ensure you receive the best price if you sell them. When determining any antiques' value, whether you’re pricing for retail or to sell on to other antique dealers, an accurate valuation will be the difference between an effective sale and a damp squib.
So how do I value my antique items?
While there are more methods than ever available to people looking to value their antiques, it’s important to remember that valuing takes skill, patience and research. Without proper care, mistakes can be made, and these might cost you in the long run.
Here are our 4 top tips to help you value your antiques correctly:
1. Do Your Own Research
This might sound like an obvious place to start but finding out how much your antiques are worth can take more research than you might think. For example, it was once common practice to rely on printed books that were published with guide prices annually. However, getting hold of the most recent copies of these can be costly and older examples necessarily won’t be as up to date. Checking the copies in your local library might be useful, but it’s more likely you’ll move your research online.
But where do you start on the internet? One question often asked is 'Can I value my antique online?' Beware of sites and individuals eager to take large cuts of any profit in exchange for a valuation. Instead, browse both general and specific auction sites to find examples of similar items that are on sale or have been sold in the past. Remember that prices fluctuate due to demand, so just because an item sold for a high amount last year, it doesn’t mean that it’ll fetch the same price today.
Social media groups (for example on Facebook) are another free avenue to consider as these are often full of enthusiasts who have detailed knowledge of different types and styles of item. Together, they can be a powerful online community of experts. Be cautious, though, and remember that some dealers use these groups to get bargains for themselves, so don’t just rely on information gathered there.
Ultimately, the more information you have about an item, the more accurate your valuation will be and the more chance you’ll have of selling the item at a figure close to its worth.
2. Talk to Experts
As well as experts you might encounter online, free appraisals and valuations are part of the industry. Visit your local antiques store to talk to a dealer and try to find out if there are any specialists in the type of item you’re selling in the local area. For example, antique clocks are popular collectors’ items and an enthusiast will be well-placed to give you far more information about the value of the item in relation to its condition than a more general antiques dealer.
3. Makers Marks Can Be Crucial
One of the first things that experts will recommend you do is check for a manufacturer’s or designer’s mark. Pieces that are stamped with such marks are usually worth more as their authenticity is accredited by those marks, but they’re not always obvious to the naked eye. Get the magnifying glass out and double-check if there are any marks on your item. It’ll help with your research and should improve the market value of the piece.
4. Do Not Repair or Restore
You might think that repairing a faulty light or restoring a chest of drawers will improve the value of an antique, but it’s likely you’ll be bringing the value down rather than improving it. Items that are in their original condition with original parts, colours and other elements are comparatively rare, so if your item has original features, it’ll likely boost the price tag. Any repair or restoration could destroy the one element of the piece that has true historical significance – don’t risk it until you’ve had the piece properly valued and found out what you’re working with.
Valuing Antiques with The Hoarde
Members of The Hoarde have access to the friendly and helpful team bursting with expert knowledge across a range of antique specialisms. If you’re interested in becoming a member of The Hoarde and accessing this exclusive expertise, get in touch. You’ll need to provide details of the types of items you sell, along with information about you and your business. Other benefits of The Hoarde membership include the ability to list items on our site for direct sale to dealers and other collectors across the globe.