How to Get the Real Value of Your Antiques

Somewhere in your house, you have that one old antique or collectible that you just know is valuable!  We all do!  If you ever get serious about figuring out exactly how much that antique is worth, you need to take some time to do your research, so we've laid out this easy guide on how to figure out the value of your precious antiques.  Scroll down to learn the details...

(This 1890 Singer Sewing Machine variant is in great condition and is worth between $180-$200)

We've all dreamed of those stories of finding that treasure worth millions at a yard sale or estate sale, but have you ever thought about the guy on the other end?  The one who accidentally lost millions because he/she didn't know what it was worth?  We DEFINITELY don't want to be this person, so let's jump right in to a guide on how to find out: 

  • Take the item to a professional appraiser.

    There are countless sites on the web that promise you an official, documented appraisal from pictures, but the truth is these really aren't worth the paper they are printed on, because true value must be assessed in person.  The appraiser needs to be able to fully inspect the item for authenticity, damage, and any special unique things that may skyrocket the value. 

    So if you think you have a high-value item, we strongly recommend you take it to a local appraiser.  If it is worth perhaps less than $100, the online options may work just as fine, though.

  • Never sell the item to the person who appraised it!

    It probably won't surprise you to hear that everyone is out to make a buck - even the appraisers!  Indeed, there are some that would intentionally give you a low appraisal and then an offer to buy it right after that.  If this is the case, it means that you may have something good on your hands - and that you shouldn't sell right away!

  • Check out online resources like eBay. 

    We've had both good and bad experiences with eBay, but that doesn't take away from the fact that it is a GREAT way to learn the value of your item as a function of what people are actually paying for it in the wild. 

  • Remember that an appraisal doesn't last a lifetime. 

    The number you get today from an appraisal wouldn't be the same at an appraisal in ten years, so it's important to remember that markets change and items might need to be reappraised every five years or so.

 

You can also check out price guides to see what the current market value is, which both educates you about the item and might influence whether you get a professional appraisal. Between reference guides and relationships you build with appraisers, figuring out the value of your antiques will get easier and easier!