What's It Worth?
With the popularity of the PBSs Antique
seems to be asking How much is it worth? In the world of antiques
and collectibles, the value of an antique or collectible depends on
three things: First, how many of the items are available. Second,
whats its condition. And, third, how much someone is willing to pay
number of antiques from older periods reduces as the years go by, either
because theyve all been bought up or through damage or breakage. And
television antique evaluation programs like Antiques Roadshow
havent helped. Theyve stopped families who would have thrown away
old items from doing so with the thought that they might be worth
something. Also, these programs have made the chance of finding a
bargain in a shop a bit more unlikely. And thanks to television,
everyones wise to antiques these days. So everyone thinks whatever
they have must be worth something!
The condition of an
antique or collectible greatly affects its value. It stands to reason
that a dedicated collector wouldnt want to buy damaged goods. The
better condition of a piece, the greater its overall value. But there
are exceptions. For instance, 18th and 19th-century furniture is
believed to have been used. This is especially true of country
antiques. Dents, stains, and minor scratches sometimes add to the value.
Antique dealers call this patina. An very old piece should never
be refinished. Its value is in its wear and patina.
On the other hand, a
collectible like Hess Toy trucks, becomes more valuable the more
mint its condition. In the case of Hess trucksin fact, most
toys--the condition of the box is half the value. To these collectors,
MIB or mint-in-box increases the value tremendously. A 1964 Hess
truck, that originally sold for $1.39 is now worth $4,000that is, if
Finally, any antique or
collectible is worth only as much as someone is willing to pay for it.
When the supply is low, collectors will pay a higher amount for an item
just so they can own it. When the market is flush with goods, the value
of those items goes down. Its like any other goods in retail.
However, when a collector is planning to sell an item, he or she
shouldnt expect to get much more than half of its value. Thats
because dealers need to mark the item up to make a profit. When an
appraiser on Antiques Roadshow says an item is worth $5,000, that means
the seller would get about $2,500 for it.
To make sure theyre
buying for the best value, collectors should as much about their chosen
field as possible. Therefore, a person who owns or finds antiques must
learn something about them before offering them for sale. Its not
enough to be halfway convinced that the iridescent, marigold-hued glass
bowl thats been kept in a cupboard because it came from home, but was
never liked or used, is carnival or taffeta glass. When a person
attempts to make certain that it is, he or she will discover that
theres a brisk market for this glass, which is hardly old enough yet
to be antique. Because of the current demand, the bowl which may have
been acquired as a premium can be sold now for several dollars.
If selling isnt
urgent, there are several ways a person can learn to recognize and,
eventually, evaluate an antique. Visits to antique shops and occasional
attendance at an auction in a city gallery or on a rural green are means
of learning whats being offered for sale, what people are buying, and
what prices are being paid. The ability to recognize antiques is aided
greatly by viewing a restored house or village. More of them are being
opened to the public every year, and almost every state now has at least
one. Because restorations show how people lived, theyre full of
everyday things. More than one restoration visitor has been reminded of
a 19th-century duplicate consigned to a cupboard at home as too ordinary
to be considered an antique but too good to throw away. Fully as
enlightening are the specialized exhibits at the Clock Museum in
Bristol, Connecticut, the Farmers' Museum in Cooperstown, New York, the
Maritime Museum in San Francisco, California, and Henry Ford Museum and
Dearborn Village in Dearborn, Michigan, to mention only a few. Many fine
arts museums such as the Philadelphia Museum of Art have fine exhibits
of china, silver, glass, and the like.
So before anyone pays
someone else to tell them what theyre pieces are worth, it would pay
them to do some digging on their own. And thats over half the fun of
more articles by Bob Brooke, please visit
his Web site.
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