How to Appraise Antiques

How to Appraise Antiques

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  1. There are several things you need to do to make an accurate and effective antique appraisal. You must first look up the item in a price guide and check out comparable items that match the kind of antique item you are looking for.

    Next, you need to look at the condition of the piece. When checking the item for the condition it is in, look for type of material it is made of such as plastic, cloth or wood. Then, look for defects, crazing, finish condition of the piece, flaws, missing parts, stains, tears and any repairs or touch ups. Then, check the antique and collectible market trends.

    Age of the article does not necessarily mean that it’s an antique. To qualify as an antique, many other factors such as the material it was made of, dents, signatures or lack of signatures and authenticity have to be determined.  

    Be sure to check for marks. Marks can tell you a lot about a piece—who made it, when, if the piece is a fake, and the pattern or design of a piece. If you know something about the pattern or design, you will know the value of the piece and that will give you an insight into more research information on the piece.

    Another way to appraise antiques is by looking at the “rarity” angle. Items that are rare but have some damage clearly seen on them, may still be quite valuable. For example if you have an item that is well known but has a small crack, it will usually be considered quite valuable but if you have an item that is not well known and has a crack, it will not be valuable.

    Still another way to see if an article is antique is to look for authenticity. There are things to look for when looking for authenticity. Look for errors in marks or signatures on the piece, obvious or not so obvious signs of age and wear, techniques of construction, the date when it was made, and who made the item.

    Another way to find out if an item is antique is to ask someone who is an appraiser, someone who knows antiques about information on a particular object. Asking someone who is an expert on antiques can save you time and money and give you the information you need.

    To find out if an item is a fake, copy or the “real thing,” examine the object for identification of time. Most pieces will reveal a “time” element. Items that have been tenderly cared for, will still show the wear and tear of time. If colors are too bright, if linens have no fold marks or look too new, then you will have a better knowledge of the object—if it is indeed an antique.

    To conclude, to find out the value of an antique it helps to find out who made it, when it was made, if it was broken and its pattern. If possible find an identification guide. This has pictures and wonderful information on many antiques. In addition, always be on the look-out for the maker’s mark and the date when it was made. Both should be seen on the bottom of the piece. If it is not there, then there is a likelihood that the piece is not authentic. So, always look for the details when checking for an authentic antique.

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