Anyone who has decided to sell an antique knows that there are ways to increase your appraisal value just as there are ways for an appraiser to minimize the value. The key, of course, is to know what the appraisers look for before you ask for a valuation of your antiques and collectibles. Nowadays you can get online antique appraisals by emailing photos and information about the piece.
1. Makers Mark
Manufacturers place their stamp on the items they produce. This stamp is referred to as a Makers Mark. In the world of antiques, Makers Marks are gold. These marks unequivocally identify who produced the item and also will be the basis for their determination of value.
2. Designer Marks
If you have something that is handcrafted, for example a ceramic bowl, frequently the designer or artist adds their mark or signature to the work. If that mark is found, and the designer or artist is popular, it could add significant value to your piece.
The condition of your antique is important. Obviously antiques that are in perfect condition will fetch the highest appraisal value, but even an antique that is damaged is not automatically worthless. Normal wear and tear is typical in many antiques so that in and of itself will not lower the appraisal value.
If you repair or attempt to restore any faults that you find in your antique it will significantly decrease the value of your antique. Better would be to leave the repairs to the purchaser who has the resources to have them performed correctly.
Mass produced items, unless extremely popular, will typically have less value than something that is hand crafted, a trial piece for mass manufacture or an exhibition piece.
6. Fashionable Items
As with almost anything, items that are in fashion will fetch a higher price. To take advantage of this you must pay attention to current trends. For example, at one time porcelain pieces that were typically displayed on mantles and knick knack shelves were worth quite a bit. Currently this interior design mainstay is unpopular and these items have lost value.
Obviously verifying the authenticity of your item will increase its value. A Makers Mark or artist’s signature will help in this verification. But if you have an antique that is over 100 years old and has virtually no wear and tear you should be wary.
Provenance is particularly important with artwork due to the skill of forgers. Provenance is akin to a police chain of custody. The better your ability to document when the artwork changed hands the better the chance of getting top dollar.
9. Specific Collectible Categories
Many collectibles are placed into categories such as toys or Americana. In Bradenton, Clearwater and Tampa, many auction houses are devoted to that particular category. If you can find that auction house, many will help you find the value of antiques for free. You can send them photos of your collectible and they will return with the potential value.
Books that have their jackets are worth more than those without. If you have a first edition book do not write your name in it. That is the death knell for a high valuation.