Whether you've inherited an interesting piece of pottery from your grandmother or you've discovered that rare painting at the local flea market, you're probably wondering what an antique item you have is worth in monetary value. You may go online and do a bit of sleuthing, but in order to properly ensure you have the correct value, it's a good idea to talk to a professional antique appraiser, like those at Bucks County Estate Traders. Find out what criteria appraisers use to determine the value of most antiques by reading on.
Of course, age is what makes an antique an antique. Sometimes items like lamps or dolls have been made for centuries, so the age can have weight on an item's value. Depending on the maker and the style of an object, an appraiser can determine its age. But older doesn't always mean more valuable; there are a lot of other factors that come into play.
Water damage can do a number on a book's value, or rust can hurt an older metal object. When it comes to condition, the more pristine the better. On the other hand, it's not a good idea to re-paint or refinish most antique pieces. A natural aging process gives many antiques what's called "patina," and this is a good thing. When it comes to antique firearms, they should never be refinished if possible. Condition is important, but let the item run its natural course of life and see what the appraiser thinks about the current state it is in.
A good rule of thumb for any antique is the more rare, the better. Individual pieces of art are certainly worth more since there is probably only one of its kind in existence. Some items were mass produced at one point in time and then lost over the years. Having a rare item is typically going to make it worth more money, but that is not always the case.
Collectors of antiques love a good story. They want to know where the item has been, where it was made, and how it got to where it is today. These stories are known as provenance in the antiquing world. The problem most people have is that they do not have the proper documentation to back up that story, and this can really help an item sell. If your antique has original maker's marks, labels, or paperwork, keep that with it. Even newspaper clippings or letters that document the item's travels will help increase value and promote the provenance.