10 Commandments of Antiques

24 October 2016

10_commandmentstransparentI. Just because it’s old does not make it valuable.Example: Roman bronze coins are up to 2000 years old but are very common.

II. Just because it’s new does not make it worthless. Example: the Beatles “Butcher Cover” of their “Yesterday and Today” album issued in 1966 can be worth $8000 and up.

III. If something was made to be collectible, RUNReason: In 100 years, 99.9% of these are going to be in someone’s closet still MIB (Mint in Box).

IV. Sentimental value does not add any monetary value to an item. Example: Grandma’s favorite what-not is only a what-not to others.

V. Family stories connected with an item are almost always wrong. Example: A family antique is said to be over 100 years old but marked “Occupied Japan” placing it between 1945 and 1952.

VI. Buy what you like, you may have to live with it.

VII. Don’t worry about the upholstery if you plan to resale the item, no one will like your choice. Example: All high end items sold at auction are usually missing all upholstery.

VIII. Assume it is fake until you prove otherwise. Reason: When anything becomes collectible and expensive, fakes will abound.

IX. Wear and tear is acceptable on furniture but not on glass or porcelain. Example: Some missing veneer or wear on a table is expected but a chip or crack destroys the value of a fragile item.

X. Everything does not come back in style. Example: The day of chastity belts, buggy whips and chamber pots has gone forever.

(c) Copyright Golden’s Appraisal, Auction & Estate Services 2016


Do I Really Need An Appraisal?

14 May 2010

As an appraiser, and one who does a lot of “Appraisal Fairs” and “Roadshows” for antique malls and shops in the Atlanta area, I am often asked that question.

Let’s get the nasty business of terminology out of the way. What you receive at one of my “Roadshows” (and even the ones on TV) are not appraisals in the true sense. They should be correctly termed “Estimates of Value”. A true appraisal is done through research on the item included “comparables”, just like in real estate. A good written appraisal is a document that will hold up in court or with the IRS or your insurance company.

It should contain the following:

  • A cover letter stating the purpose and use of the appraisal.
  • A statement of the methods used and sources for obtaining the value.
  • A section giving a detailed description of the item. It should be good enough to describe the items even if photos were not included (but they should be).
  • Where and when the inspection was done.
  • A statement from the appraiser they they have no interest in the value of item.
  • The list of the appraiser’s qualifications.

Do not accept an appraisal that does not cover at least these points.

Appraisals can be needed for:

  • Insurance policies
  • Estate settlement
  • Divorce or bankruptcy
  • Donations and tax purposes

Written appraisals can be expensive, some appraisers charging by the hour or by the item. NEVER, NEVER, NEVER have an appraisal done where the appraiser’s fee is based on the final value!

What you may need is just an estimate of value, to see if the item needs a written appraisal. If you have many items, or even a whole house full of stuff, a ‘walk-through’ may be the best place to start.

You can get free estimates of value at one of my or others “Roadshows” or some appraisers will give them free or for a small charge. These are just educated opinions and are not binding. You can get a ‘walk-through’, which where someone qualified goes through your house or shop and gives advice on each item. This can include approximate value, where to dispose of it to get the most for it, or even that an item should receive a written appraisal. ‘Walk-throughs’ are done on an hourly basis and are an excellent idea if you have a lot of items to dispose of.