Antiques are valuable items that have endured the test of time. Generally, an antique is any item, usually of human creation, over 100 years old. Valuable antiques are scarce and have a high monetary value due to their age, condition, and rarity. Some pieces are also sought-after for their historical significance.
10 Valuable Antiques You Can Find
If you’ve ever been to a local antique store, you may have noticed a selection ranging from the mundane to the precious and unique. But how do you know which antiques are worth investing in? Here’s a list of the most valuable types of antiques.
1. Ancient Coins
Ancient coins are among the most valuable antiques, with some dating back to 500 BC. Coins from the Roman Empire and other ancient civilizations can be especially valuable, fetching thousands of dollars for rare specimens. Many coin dealers have an assortment of old coins for sale, but if you’re lucky enough to find one in an antique store or flea market, go and grab it! Its resale value is one of the many reasons to start a coin collection.
Age-old jewelry is always a noteworthy find at antique stores, especially if made from precious metals like gold and silver. Victorian-era jewelry is particularly popular, as well as pieces from the Edwardian era and Art Deco period. Just be sure to check for hallmarks on any jewelry piece before purchasing, as these marks will help you determine whether you found a valuable piece of jewelry or a tarnishing chunk of brass and copper.
Though high in quality, many modern furniture pieces are expensive and in need of unique traits. So, why not look for something antique instead? Look out for pieces made in the 18th Century or earlier, as they tend to be valuable due to their durability, unique appearance, and rarity. For example, Chippendale furniture is popular among collectors because each piece is exceptionally well-crafted and durable despite its centuries-long age. Other good finds include Windsor chairs and Queen Anne tables.
Make your way through our guide to Antique English Furniture Styles for more information on these coveted pieces.
Antique toys are another excellent buy, especially if their origins date back before the 1950s or so. For instance, wooden toy soldiers from Europe or America can be worth a fortune if found in good condition, as can dolls from pre-WWII Japan. Tin wind-up toys are also popular among collectors due to their charm and mechanical complexity. In fact, some can sell for hundreds of dollars depending on their condition and rarity. A Marklin wind-up toy boat is a leading example, which according to Invaluable, sold for $264,500 in 2012.
5. Silverware Sets
Silverware sets are always fine additions to any household, but did you know that some sets are worth thousands of dollars? Keep an eye out for pieces from famous silversmiths like Gorham or Tiffany & Co., which usually fetch higher prices than lesser-known brands due to their quality craftsmanship and historical significance. Remember the potential worth of specialty items, too, including individual tea or dining cutlery, as they could be more valuable than you think.
Read A Beginner’s Guide to Collecting Silver Antiques if you’re interested in pursuing a passion with the capacity to double, if not triple, your investment over time.
Clock collecting is a favored pastime of antique enthusiasts. If you, too, would like to incorporate this hobby into your life, keep a watchful eye on clocks made in Europe during the 1700s. Clocks from this period are highly desirable antiques because of the traditional methods that bygone artisans used to create them. Unfortunately, these traditions have been lost or forgotten about by modern clockmakers, therefore, increasing prices and demand.
Some antique clocks featuring ornate carvings or intricate details also command higher prices than those with simple designs. For example, Cartier’s Flamingo and Lotus Clock is one of the most expensive worldwide. Boasting 190 carats worth of diamonds, it sold for $1.2 million at auction in Hong Kong in 2013.
Paintings are a pleasing addition to any home. However, did you know certain paintings could turn into investments? Leonardo da Vinci’s Mona Lisa and Van Gogh’s Starry Night aside, artwork by well-known artists such as Rembrandt van Rijn or Johannes Vermeer fetch high prices at auctions. Even prints by lesser-known painters could be worth quite a lot if the artists themselves signed the piece.
8. Monograms and Lettering Sets
Monograms are decorative letters used as initials on clothing, books, dishes, and other objects. These monograms were well-used during Victorian times, so if you come across any monogrammed items in your search through an antique shop, make sure to pick them up. Monogrammed lettering sets are also highly prized among collectors, as they display beautiful typography work lost over time.
9. Porcelain Figurines and Dolls
Porcelain figurines and dolls were popular throughout Victorian times. These figurines display intricate details that make them unique and attractive compared to other similarly priced items. They often come with impressive price tags, so ensure to add one (or two) of these beauties to your collection today.
In addition, certain Barbie dolls also command high prices at auctions. For example, the Stefano Canturi Barbie, also called the Diamond Barbie, is the world’s most expensive Barbie doll ever sold. In 2010, an avid collector dropped $302,000 to purchase the doll.
10. Scientific Instruments
Rounding up our list, scientific instruments such as telescopes, microscopes, and sextants not only make excellent collectibles, but they provide valuable insight into how our ancestors viewed science during different periods throughout history. Moreover, these instruments often come with hefty price tags attached – perfect for those looking for investment pieces.
There’s no shortage of exciting and profitable antiques available in today’s market. With this guide, even beginners can start exploring their options when shopping around for antiques – whether online or offline – without fear of getting taken advantage of by deceptive sellers. For those already possessing such rare finds, Biltmore Loan and Jewelry would be happy to offer a competitive cash offer for your antiques and eclectic valuables. Get an appraisal now.