You probably heard that common notion about how old things like furniture can already be considered an antique and may sell high. On the contrary, this is not always the case. Experts can tell how old a piece of furniture is based on a number of factors, but having an old furniture doesn’t automatically mean it will fetch a high value.
How can you make sure that an antique is not just old, but has high value as well?
1. Be aware of “provenance.”
In antiques parlance, “provenance” refers to the item’s origins, as well as past ownership history. For example, while a painting may only be decades old, tracing back its origins as part of an original collection by a noted artist like Andy Warhol will make the painting fetch a high price, be it in auctions or just as loan collateral.
2. Restoration, even a good one, loses points.
Even if your item is dated to be a pre-war antique or even back to late 18th-century, chances are its value will not be at its highest when experts spot clever restorations in the piece. It may be as simple as machining a part, or having screws replaced, but even small restoration diminishes the true value of an antique item. Most often, damages often give antiques character and high value, especially when the damage was made because of note-worthy events i.e. pre-war furniture gets dented and impaired during the war, or an original handbag loses its patina since it hasn’t been restored since its original date of purchase.
3. Extrinsic values are non-essential.
If you have gotten your antiques at an auction, chances are, the auction house has added a “buyer’s premium” on top of the original value. Items coming from auction houses are also taxed. Meanwhile, these values are not covered when trying to come out with the value of your antique. It may even work against you, since you are a part of the original ownership of the item.
4. Check its rarity.
It is common knowledge that the rarer an item is, the higher its value. Most often, ownership history will tell if the antique is rare or not. There are even official certifications which you can get for the item to establish its rarity.
5. Written valuations
Although an old item is not rare, you can still get written valuations (for a fee, of course) from auction houses. This can establish the true value of your antique, so you may already have an idea of your baseline price should someone try to haggle.
6. Check for hallmarks.
Hallmarks are specific to jewelries. If your antique jewelries have set stones or precious metals with high carat value, it will already fetch high prices. It doesn’t need to be the centerpiece of a jewelry set, since hallmarks can also be found in other jewelry pieces like the inside of rings or necklace and bracelet clasps.
7. Costume jewelry may also be valuable.
Although your jewelry set may not have a precious stone, synthetic jewels also fetch a high value, particular if they are part of known, high-prized collections like Chanel and Dior.