Table of Contents
When shopping for antiques, it can seem intimidating when trying to recognize if the item is of any value. Afterall there are many different types of antiques from jewelry to furniture and it can be tricky knowing what you are looking at.
You would be surprised, though, how easy it is to find and identify valuable antiques and research their values. Learn eight smart tips for getting valuable antiques now.
1. Use a Trusted Guidebook for Valuable Antiques
When shopping for valuable antiques it is a good idea to do some research before heading out to the shops. There are several different types of guidebooks that can provide general information on how to identify antiques. This is the perfect way to start learning about the different items that you might be looking to purchase.
It’s a good idea to find a book that has been published recently. This will help ensure that the values are up to date, but keep in mind that the values will fluctuate depending on the current market.
You can also use the internet if you find something that you need more information about. It is easy to search for more information about an item, and maybe find similar items for sale which is helpful for comparing prices.
2. Look for Identifying Marks
Usually, anything that has been handcrafted will have a mark or a signature that is left by the maker of the item. This is how you will be able to identify who and when the piece originates from.
Furniture is usually marked by the craftsman’s name or manufacturer underneath the piece, on the backside, or inside the drawers.
Pottery houses often have a well-known and easy to identify mark used by those who craft for that house on their items. These marks are usually easily seen on the back of the piece or the bottom. Sometimes the marks will change over the course of the years that the pottery house was in business so this will also help determine how old the piece is.
Silver pieces are often marked with small symbols inside of squares. You can research what these symbols mean. Once you know what they mean, the symbols will be able to tell you who the maker was, what country originated the item, and sometimes it will even give you an idea to the date it was made.
Costume jewelry and glassware also commonly have markings somewhere on the piece. The mark may be very small and in a hidden, hard to find location, so be sure to look closely and carefully for it.
3. Getting to Know Antique Furniture
Furniture is one of the most elaborate categories of antiques that you will find and so you will need to learn various different terms, styles, and makers.
When beginning your adventure in identifying antique furniture you will need to familiarize yourself with the different styles and what periods of time those styles belong too. Different trends of styles would overlap into new periods so you will have to be able to distinguish between them.
There are also famous furniture designers within these time periods that are exciting to find but don’t just look for items from these makers. Sometimes there will be great pieces from a furniture maker that has yet to become popular, so don’t overlook it just because it’s not from someone who is currently famous.
4. What Condition Is It In?
Antiques have been around for some time so the condition of the item can’t always be perfect. Lots of things have happened since it was first produced so it is very rare to find a piece that is exactly how it was the day it was made.
When shopping for antiques there are a few terms that are used to describe their condition.
Mint condition is when a piece is perfect. For furniture, this could mean that no repairs were performed and it still has its original hardware and finishes. If its pottery, glassware, or jewelry this implies that there are no chips, cracks or breakage.
Excellent condition means that the item has some minor flaws, like chipping or small cracks and maybe there has been some expert restoration performed.
Good condition is when the piece has most of its main components still intact. If its furniture it might be missing some hardware, or maybe if its porcelain its been partially broken and then repaired.
The more damage that has been done to the item will affect the overall value of the piece. Take into consideration if it’s worth buying and having it repaired by a restoration professional or if you should pass it over.
5. Determine Authenticity
Nothing is worse than buying an antique and finding out later that it is actually a reproduction. It can be hard to distinguish between a real and a fake sometimes and can be a skill you develop over time, but you don’t want to learn the hard way either. There are a few things that you can do to determine if what you are looking at is authentic.
The item should show signs of wear, like scratches or age discoloration, but be careful not to be deceived by a dishonest seller who created the scratches and coloring. If the seller seems to have more than one of the same item and seems to be acting pushy or aloof then it’s likely they have made these recreations themselves. Avoid buying from someone who has a poor reputation.
6. Ask a Professional
Once you have made your purchase it is a good idea to seek a professional who knows a great deal about the item. They are well educated on certain categories of pieces and can offer an appraisal service to determine the value of your item.
After the appraisal is complete, you will receive a report of the time which might tell you more information about the piece, how they determined the value of it and what its value is currently.
Are You Ready to Go Shopping?
Once you have done your research and have an idea of what valuable antiques you would like for your collection it’s time for the fun part, shopping! Keep these tips in mind when you are exploring and you should feel satisfied with your purchases.
Be sure to explore our site daily for other great articles, tips, and advice.