When you are looking to sell your antiques, making sure you get a fair price for them is crucial- but how can you be sure? Finding a local appraiser you can trust is the key; these tips will help you determine if an appraiser is trustworthy.
Ask friends and family for recommendations
This can be an excellent way to find local appraisals experts who people you trust have already dealt with. However, keep in mind that the items your friend had might be very different from yours and not every antique dealer or appraisal professional is knowledgeable about certain items, so if yours are rare it might be more difficult to find an appraisal. Ask for recommendations, and try to find at least 2-3 different professionals who you can speak to and get a feel for their experience and expertise.
A professional appraisal will be done by certified members of various appraisal societies. As Consumer Reports states, you can find a certified accredited appraiser by looking at these groups.
Professional appraiser can cost a few hundred dollars, and will provide a written report which will include a description of your piece and estimate its current value. Consumer Reports also notes that a certified professional will not have conflict of interest. When an appraiser does not believe a piece to be valuable enough to warrant a written appraisal, they might recommend price books or other resources you can use to find the value.
Go to a Major Local Antique Show
Local or regional antique shows can be a source of appraisals, and near large metro areas these shows often have professional appraisers and antique experts who offer free or discounted verbal appraisals. Some of the more well-known shows employ a professional appraiser when the tickets to the show are purchased, so though you might have to pay to enter the show, you can access a knowledgeable appraiser for complimentary valuations of the pieces you bring. One downside is that the number of pieces you are allowed to have appraised in these shows is often limited to a few items, so if you have a large collection of estate it is not efficient.
Ask Antique Shops and Auction Houses
Most antique auction and estate liquidation facilities offer free appraisals, although these are often not completed by certified appraisers. Still, these antiques dealers will know a good amount about most antiques, especially if they have been in the business for many years. These are informal appraisals, and you should be sure that you research the shop first and ask for their qualifications. If you have doubts or concerns about the appraisal you received at one place, it may be wise to find a second opinion from another expert appraiser. YOu can contact the owner or manager, and request if they offer free verbal appraisals.
Major auction houses, even ones such as Sotheby’s and Christie’s, occasionally offer free verbal appraisals open to the public, you can look on their websites or in their newsletter updates for free valuation or appraisal days.
Notes for Receiving a Good Appraisal
If you have it ready, bring in details on the item’s provenance, the history and any paperwork you have on the piece. Don’t be afraid to ask for previous customer feedback or have a second appraisal done.