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Antiques and Collectibles—How to Value and Sell Your Old Things

Updated on July 31, 2017
Dolores Monet profile image

After inheriting her grandmother's collection of antiques, Dolores has maintained an interest in the care and sale of vintage items.

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What is an Antique

Many people have valuable antiques in their homes. Whether purchased or inherited, objects 100 years old or older are considered to be antiques. Of course, plenty of people call that 1940s dining room set antique but it is not. Interesting, desirable, older objects less than 100 years old are collectibles.

When we talk about the value of an antique, we can mean several things. I greatly value the things passed down to me from loved ones and would never part with most of them as the sentimental value is too great.

Maybe I never met my great grandmother, but I look at her beautiful Flow Blue china and can touch something that she touched. The family came to the United States during the Irish Potato Famine in the mid 19th century. My great great grandfather was a laborer. So, I know that this lovely dishware meant a lot to the family. It meant that they had arrived into the middle class, that the family was established enough to spend money on a few fine things.

I remember seeing the Flow Blue at Auntie's house, how it was rarely used, but treasured, set in a bow front cabinet to be looked upon - not touched. This is the most valuable antique of all. It's priceless!

Depression Glass - Vintage Collectible but not an antique
Depression Glass - Vintage Collectible but not an antique | Source

Price Guides

We can look at antique books and price guides that document various types of antiques and their values with a grain of salt.

One day while looking at Depression Glass at a lovely little shop, the proprietor and I checked out a price guide to Depression Glass values. The dealer said that she would never be able to get the stated price because the value of each piece is actually determined by how much money people are willing to pay for it. She said that she could never get the suggested prices, and this was during good economic times.

So, the value depends on the economy, the region where you are attempting to buy or sell the piece, and whether or not someone will actually want to purchase the item and whether a similar items is available in the shop right down the street. Or on EBay.

If you have antiques or collectibles (remember that Depression Glass is a collectible as it is not over 100 years old) and want to sell them to a dealer, remember that the dealer will need to make a profit. The dealer must take into account overhead costs as well.

You may decide to sell an antique or collectible on EBay. If so, first you must establish yourself as a reliable dealer on that popular site so that people have confidence in the items you have for sale as well as confidence in your shipping practices. Don't forget that on EBay, there is a huge group of available buyers, but there may be stiff competition too.

Gebruder Heubach Figurine - Girl in a Pleated Dress
Gebruder Heubach Figurine - Girl in a Pleated Dress | Source

Value and Conditon of Antiques and Collectibles

I have a beautiful porcelain figurine of a young girl holding up the skirt of a pleated dress. Fifteen years ago, I found some information about the figure that was made in the late 1800's or early 1900s by the Gebruder Heubach Company of Thuringia, Germany (Gebruder being German for brothers). The figure can be identified by the look of it ,and the mark on the bottom, as with most valuable china and porcelain pieces. The mark is a divided circle with a sunburst on top and two over-lapped letters below.

The article suggested that the figure might sell for $500.00 in good condition. And that was 15 years ago.

Unfortunately, someone very close to me (who shall remain nameless, but you know who you are) knocked the figurine's head off some 40 years ago. The head was neatly glued back on but the damage was done. No way I would ever get anywhere near the suggested price because it is damaged.

Which brings me to:

Antique Textiles - A 200 + Year Old Sampler
Antique Textiles - A 200 + Year Old Sampler | Source

The Condition of Antiques and Collectibles - Take Care of Your Old Things

Take proper care of your antiques and collectibles. Keep them out of harm's way.

Do not attempt to refinish a piece of old or antique furniture. Part of the value of an old piece is determined by it's patina, the changes that occur in the aging process. If you remove old paint or finish, you may destroy both the charm and value of the piece.

Antique Textiles, Prints, Paintings, and Photographs

Antique paintings, photographs, prints, and textiles can be destroyed by moisture, heat, and lighting conditions. Also, body oils transferred by handling can damage old things, particularly textiles and paper.

Never attempt to frame or remove an old photograph, print, painting, or textile from its frame. This is best done by a professional or an expert who knows how to handle such a fragile piece.

Do not allow someone who claims to be an expert to handle old textiles or such delicate antiques unless they are wearing gloves. If they do not wear gloves, they are not expert in the care and handling of valuable antiques.


Antique landscape painting

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This lamp may look old but it is not.
This lamp may look old but it is not. | Source

Do Not Assume

Just because something looks old, or someone else thinks that it is old does not mean that the item is actually old.

This lovely lamp may appear to be old or antique to some people, but was purchases at TJ Maxx in the 1980s. Not old.

Often older pieces, or antiques are copied and sold just because they are so darn pretty. These reproductions can be fun to buy and use but they do not have the value of a genuine antique. Reproductions of old dishes are better to use than the real thing. Today's regulations prevent the addition of toxic elements in the production of dishware. That was not true in the past.

Why Have An Antique Professionally Appraised

Maybe you love your old stuff. I do. Maybe you have no desire to sell it. But it is a good idea to have it appraised for insurance purposes.

If you plan to keep your valuable antiques til the day you die, you want to ensure their safekeeping for posterity. You are treasuring history here. You do not want your dim witted son-in-law to throw the Victorian Renaissance Revival table in a dumpster or ship it off to Goodwill. If the kids are not interested in keeping your antiques, they may earn some cash by selling them, something made easier for them with your written appraisal.

Do not have an object appraised by the person you want to sell it to, unless you know and absolutely trust them. An unknown or unscrupulous antique dealer may offer you $150.00 for something which sounds just fine to you. But if they turn around and sell it for $5,000.00, you might not be so happy. And there is nothing that you can do about it.

When selling your antiques through a dealer, it behooves you to establish a relationship with a trustworthy and reputable person.

Antique Flow Blue cup and saucer
Antique Flow Blue cup and saucer | Source

Identify Your Antique

Before you learn the value of a piece, you must first identify the item. If you want to identify an old item yourself be prepared to do some research. If you love antiques, this process can be a lot of fun as there is a lot to learn. Your local library will have a section of antique and collectible guides for everything from old furniture to hardware. These can be a valuable resource. Of course these kinds of books are available to purchase at a bookstore or online.

Online sites like Kovels and Replacements are an excellent resource for the identification of dishware.

Search ebay with a description of your item to see if something very similar appears for sale.

When trying to locate similar items make sure that you use a thorough description. The more information you have will increase your ability to learn about your antique. Go from the general to the specific.

Look for maker's marks on the item. Dishware, for example, should have an image on the bottom called a back stamp. You can then look up that stamp. There are many types of, say, dishware that appear similar. My Blue Fjord plates may look a lot like the highly collectible Royal Copenhagen but a quick check of the back stamp (shown below) tells me the truth.

Many products have marks that change slightly over the years which can help you learn when the item was produced. Some furniture will show identifying marks as well. An authentic Stickley Morris type chair should have a decal on the bottom.


Backstamp

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More on the Value of Antiques

Certain types of antiques hold their value even in a recession or in hard economic times. Metal such as bronze statues, silverware or other antique metal items can earn you a tidy sum of money. Of course sterling silver is worth much more than silver plate. Sterling silver is 92.5% silver. Silver plated flatware, trays, coffee pots, sugar bowls, creamers, and trays can be picked up at thrift shops for very low prices.

Religious items may not get you what you want. Old things are often valued due to scarcity. People keep religious items and pass them down for years. Also, may religious people feel uncomfortable selling a religious painting or statue, especially if it has been blessed.

Face it, people don't throw Jesus in the trash can. So there are a lot of old religious items around.

Just because an object is attractive does not mean that it is valuable. A friend of mine was selling off some pieces and found that a very ugly old lamp sold for an impressive amount of money. The fact was the piece was rare and in demand by collectors.

The popularity of various items vary over time. Something that may have been a hot commodity in 1999 may have fallen out of fashion. Demand sets value. If lots of people are hunting for a particular item, the value will rise. Today, people like 20th century furniture and dishware so they can be quite expensive.

If you bought an item because a company promised that it would eventually become valuable that does not mean that it has actually increased in value. Think about it - if everyone and their brother ran out and bought, then hoarded tons of say, Franklin Mint plates, then all decide at the same time to sell them, they will not be worth much.


Sterling Silver Forks

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Selling Your Antique or Collectible Item


Selling Your Antique or Collectible to a Dealer Do not have an object appraised by the person you want to sell it to, unless you know and absolutely trust them. An unknown or unscrupulous antique dealer may offer you $150.00 for something which sounds just fine to you. But when they turn around and sell it for $5,000.00, you might not be so happy. And there is nothing that you can do about it.

When selling your antiques through a dealer, it behooves you to establish a relationship with a trustworthy and reputable person. Talk to people you know who can recommend an antiques or collectibles dealer that they have done business with in the past.

Selling Your Antiques and Collectibles on EBay - If you plan to sell your antique or collectible on EBay, you better know what you are doing. You can't just show up one day hoping for a bonanza, but need to establish your own reputation as an honest and trustworthy seller, especially if you do not have a bona fide appraisal to go along with the object that you are trying to sell. Learn the ins and outs of Ebay auctions and always use Paypal.

Create a buzz for the antique that you wish to sell by hawking on other sites including social networking sites like Facebook and Twitter. Draw interest in your product by advertising, or writing articles about antiques, featuring the types of antiques or collectibles that you wish to sell.

Selling Your Antique or Collectible on Craigslist I know plenty of people who have arranged successful deal s on Craiglist both buying and selling. But there are horror stories too. If you must ,arrange to meet the buyer in a public place for your own safety. Only accept cash. Of course, you can't sell a Victorian armoire and meet the buyer in the parking lot at Denny's. Well, maybe you can, but it may be a bit cumbersome and kind of ridiculous.

Selling Your Antique or Collectible at a Consignment Shop Most consignment shops will arrange to pick up and item at your home. They generally charge 1/3 of the selling price. Pay attention to the contract and their sales practices. Some consignment shops lower the price drastically if the item does not sell in a specified amount of time. You want to be sure that you are comfortable with the lowered price.

Selling Antiques at Auction can be a good resource if you have a large collection of smaller items or one real good item. Auction can be good for you if you want to move a piece quickly, but you might not always be happy with the price.

That's my chair!
That's my chair! | Source

Provenance

In the case of a very valuable antique, significant art, or a historically significant antique, you may want to establish provenance. If you want to sell the piece as an important artifact, you will have to do so. Provenance means that a paper trial has followed the item throughout the years. Receipts, letters, and other documents that have been handed down along with that item will serve that purpose.

Face it, anyone can say that George Washington ate off a particular plate. Someone's say-so is not proof. Some sites claim that a photograph can show provenance. A photograph may help but to say that just because you own the same chair shown in one of Mathew Brady's Abraham Lincoln portraits does not mean that your chair is the exact one shown in the picture.

Dear Readers - please do not put your name, phone number, or any personal information in the comments section. If you do so, the comment will not be seen as it will not be published. Remember that any kook could pester you by finding your personal info in a public forum. Also, I am not here to help you sell your items. You can do that on ebay, craigslist, or another site.

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    • Dolores Monet profile image
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      Dolores Monet 8 days ago from East Coast, United States

      Hi Marlyn - you can take your jewelry to a trusted jeweler. You may want to research the porcelain first to get a loose idea of what you have. Appraisers can be quite expensive. If you think your porcelain is valuable, find a local appraiser online by checking out the American Society of Appraisers or the Appraisers Association of America. There you will find bona fide local experts in your area.

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      Marlyn Mehigan 9 days ago

      I have a few items of porcelains and art deco jewelry, would like for these items to be appraised or help in how to have this to happen, thank you.

    • Dolores Monet profile image
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      Dolores Monet 2 weeks ago from East Coast, United States

      Hi Susan - if the bottles are not in high demand or rare, it might be fun to sell them at a flea market. But first you should learn the value of each item by researching price and identification guides, bottle collectors clubs, and auction sites. How you sell them depends on how many you have, how much each bottle is worth, and how much time you want to put into the project. They can be sold individually or in groups. Good luck! It sounds like a wonderful collection.

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      Dolores Monet 2 weeks ago from East Coast, United States

      Hi raghav - before you sell your item you should learn more about it. Many books are available on antique clocks. Look for price guides at your local library, or purchase one. Remember that a price guide does not guarantee what you will get if you sell the clock, but is an indication.

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      Susan 2 weeks ago

      I have a lot of old soda bottles, Mason Jars​,Phone Insulators, medicine bottles,blue milk of magnesia,Vintage white milk glass Clorox bottles,asprin bottles,and lots more​. I want to sell them.

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      Dolores Monet 3 weeks ago from East Coast, United States

      Hi Deborah - check out ebay. There are lots of vintage blow torches posted there and you may find something similar to yours. Prices seems to range from $12.00 to $30.00 with a very few asking for higher prices. As to who would buy this - how can I know that? People collect all kinds of things. I know a guy with a collection of old fire plugs!

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      Dolores Monet 3 weeks ago from East Coast, United States

      Hi Trish - now that's unusual. Why don't you check out Old Bed Guy online. You may need to look at several books on American antique furniture such as "The Antique Hunters Guide to American Furniture Tables Chairs Sofas and Beds" by William Ketchum and Marvin Schwartz or "The Dictionary of Furniture" by Charles Boyce and Joseph T Butler. This one sounds like a tough search! Good luck!

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      Dolores Monet 3 weeks ago from East Coast, United States

      Hi Meafa - there are plenty of books and price guides on vintage Christmas ornaments. Value depends on rarity and condition, and if they are actually old items. If they still have the little metal cap on them makes a difference too. Many old ornaments are very thin and fragile so be careful when handling!

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      Deborah Rholetter 3 weeks ago

      I have a turner blow torch its brass and made in 1817 i wanted to know the value of it and who would buy it

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      Dolores Monet 3 weeks ago from East Coast, United States

      Hi J - look for Asian art forums online, check out Asian art information on the Christie's site, or find a book on antique Asian art. As Buddha figures are very popular there have been tons of such items created for the home decor market. I have one that looks quite old but is not. Good luck learning!

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      Dolores Monet 3 weeks ago from East Coast, United States

      Hi Maria - there are tons of books out there that offer information and values for collectibles. I won't suggest any specific reading material because there is just so much. Check your local library or Amazon for books written about your specific items.

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      Dolores Monet 3 weeks ago from East Coast, United States

      Hi Mary - if your furniture is from the 1920s, is in good shape, and/or made by a well known manufacturer you may want to get it appraised. Authentic old Art Deco pieces are very popular and can command impressive prices. Plus it's just so darn attractive. Once you get it appraised, locate a dealer in your area who specializes in Art Deco or mid century furniture. While the 20s is not exactly mid century, the mid century crowd really likes this stuff. It looks sleek and modern but those curves add a delightful soft edge.

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      Trish J 3 weeks ago

      I just bought a four post bed frame. I am curious about its age. The most interesting thing about it is the way the side rails fit to the headboard and foot board. There is a small wooden wheel with chinks in it to turn on each leg of the bed. When you turn it, it either tightens or loosens a bolt and 2 dowels in the end of the side rails. That's how the side rails attach to the bed.

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      J Russell 3 weeks ago

      I have a small budda head it seams to be very old ,,do u authenticate something like that I have a picture

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      Mary Comerford 4 weeks ago

      I have an Art Deco living room set it is called a kidney set any ideas

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      Dolores Monet 4 weeks ago from East Coast, United States

      Hi Andrea - as we have spoken on email, I am wondering if you learned about your items. Are they craftsman made, very old, or modern reproductions? If they are valuable, you may want to engage the services of a professional who deals in those specific goods. If they are new factory made reproductions why don't you have a yard sale or sell them on Craigslist?

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      Dolores Monet 4 weeks ago from East Coast, United States

      Hi Paula - information about Rozet & Fischmeister is available online as the company still exists.

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      Dolores Monet 4 weeks ago from East Coast, United States

      Hi Toni - when you say that you "found" the ring, did you actually find it laying around somewhere; or did you find it in a shop? What material is the item made of? If you really think that this ring is ancient, you may want to have it appraised by a professional. Contact the National Association of Jewelry Appraisers, or contact someone in the antiquities department of a local university.

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      Paula pierce 4 weeks ago

      I have a lovely silver bowl made. By rozet&fischmeister,it's stamped with three stamps is it worth anything?

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      Toni Hampton 4 weeks ago

      I have an old Greek ring I found in Pestum Naples I believe the ring is BC, would like to know the value

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      Andrea 4 weeks ago

      Hi, I would like to sell Santa Fe style furniture, and decorations, potteries.

      Could you recommend me, where I should advertise them?

    • Dolores Monet profile image
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      Dolores Monet 5 weeks ago from East Coast, United States

      Hi Mena - take a look at the Crystal Classics website or Replacements to find your pattern.

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      Dolores Monet 5 weeks ago from East Coast, United States

      Hi Diane - check out the Mt. Washington Glass website for information. You can also look at online auctions. Highest value includes Royal Flemish, Lava glass (mostly black with raspberry details in demand), and large pieces. Brass tables from Turkey were quite popular in the 60s and 70s. Prices seem all over the place.

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      Diane 5 weeks ago

      My husband's family had connections with Mt Washington Glass/Pairpoint. We have some original pieces and our children have no interest in these. Is there any interest in these pieces anymore? He also has a large round, brass table from Turkey his parents brought back in the 60's. His father was in the Air Force and they lived in Japan, Turkey. Thank you for any information.

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      Dolores Monet 5 weeks ago from East Coast, United States

      Hi Nakano - there are lots of collectors groups and auctions online that specialize in WW2 military equipment. Focus your attention on field gear. On auctions, check out the sold price not the price they are asking for.

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      Nakano 5 weeks ago

      I want to sell my ww2 Japanese army mess kit, Is there anyone to help me how much is the right price?

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      Dolores Monet 5 weeks ago from East Coast, United States

      Hi Patricia - do you mean Belleek Irish pottery? If so you can probably find information on their web site or on Belleek collectors sites. Once you identify your dishware, check out how much they sold for on antique auction sites.

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      Dolores Monet 5 weeks ago from East Coast, United States

      Hi Jennifer - with your time constraints it would be impossible to do this yourself. Hire a local estate sale liquidation company. They will charge a percentage so the more you make, the more they make. Check local firms with the Better Business Bureau. When a friend of mine sold the contents of a deceased relative's home, he found that a piece the family considered an ugly, ridiculous lamp was worth quite a lot. A pro will understand what you have and price accordingly. Good luck! (Sorry to hear of the loss of your mother. Remember to keep a few items for yourself as a reminder of your mom and the things she loved.)

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      Dolores Monet 5 weeks ago from East Coast, United States

      Hi Wayne - I have an old market scale that belonged to my great grandmother from when she ran a little store in the early 20th century. I have never attempted to value it as it has sentimental value. The value of old scales depends on age (before 1900 being more valuable), condition, and detail. Bronze trim, enamel, and advertising will increase value. Check out the International Society of Antique Scale Collectors for more information.

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      Dolores Monet 5 weeks ago from East Coast, United States

      Hi Hello - when researching any old item, you need to include simple details in your search pattern. Include what the item actually is. For instance, if you search for just "Mazcato" you will wind up with information about wine. Is it furniture, dishware, glassware? Refine your search to better glean information. Good luck!

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      Dolores Monet 5 weeks ago from East Coast, United States

      Hi Barbara - I love old tables. Rustic farmhouse tables are quite popular today with many crafts people creating new versions. Of course an expert can, by looking at your piece, give you the most reliable information. If you would like to learn about old furniture yourself you may find the information you seek in a book. May I suggest "Early American Furniture a Practical Guide for Collectors" by John Obbard; "The New Fine Points of Furniture Early American the Good, Better, Best" etc. by Albert Sack; or "The Furniture Bible Everything You Need to Know to Identify, Restore, and Care for" by Christopher Pourny.

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      Patricia Gottmann 5 weeks ago

      H.

      I have a Belleck dinner service. It is around 100 years old, green in colour. Side plates, dinner plates Fish serving dish soup tureen.

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      Jennifer 5 weeks ago

      Thank you for the info. My mother recently passed away and her house is full of primitive antiques, dolls, bears & nick nacks. My sister & I both live out of state and we will only be in town for about a week to get the house emptied out. I would like to try to sell the antiques ahead of time if possible. Any suggestions would be appreciated. She lives in South Florida which does not seem to be a popular antique area...

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      Wayne Smithson 6 weeks ago

      Yes I have a 1887 John Chaplin and Sons Market scale 60 lb was curious on what it might be worth

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      Hello there 6 weeks ago

      I would really appreciate some assistance with finding more out about the origin, story and value of a piece I have inherited. I have little information about it other than what reads on the back. Made in Italy and stamped with an 'N' and 'Mazcato' ?? I've searched all over the web with little result, and eBay has been no luck either. Can you help?

    • Dolores Monet profile image
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      Dolores Monet 2 months ago from East Coast, United States

      Hi Deborah - first you need to learn the difference between actual etchings and reprints. You can find a lot of information online. An etched image will feature slightly raised lines. Looking through a magnifying glass you will see no dots. An etching should be hand signed by the artist. Research etching, lithographs, and other forms of printing to make sure that you have what you think you have.

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      Deborah 2 months ago

      Hello, I have an Etched picture, that Claims to be over 100 years old. How can I verify this ?

    • Dolores Monet profile image
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      Dolores Monet 2 months ago from East Coast, United States

      Hi Elena - do you know the age of the statue? Some people call all old things antique. Christie's has a wonderful site detailing how to identify old Buddha statues. If the piece is very old, you should take it to an appraiser who specializes in Asian art.

      Dates on the bottom of dishware may indicate when the pattern was created and not necessarily the year it was made. Look up the manufacturer online or check out a relevant book on the topic. There are lots of price guides out there, it just takes some time and patience!

    • Dolores Monet profile image
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      Dolores Monet 2 months ago from East Coast, United States

      Hi Carla - there are tens of thousands of Haviland patterns. They have an excellent site with tons of information on their history, patterns, and values. I would check there.

    • Dolores Monet profile image
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      Dolores Monet 2 months ago from East Coast, United States

      Hi Donna - since you have so much information it should be easy to learn the value of your dishware. There are many price guides online and many books on old dishware and glassware. How you sell them is up to you and what you feel comfortable doing. Read the article for suggestions. If you sell through a dealer or consignment shop you must accept about 2/3 of the selling price.

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      Elena 2 months ago

      Dear Dolores,

      Thank you very much for your article. It is of great interest to me. The fact is that I have got a small antique statue of Buddha which was presented to my Granddad in Mongolia in 1966. Besides I have a cup and a soccer dated of the year 1934 from Germany. Could you, please, advise how I can value these items?

      Thanks in advance.

      Sincerely yours

      Elena

      Russia, Moscow

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      Donna 2 months ago

      Not sure mine posted. I have approximately 15 glass plate cups with original boxes & authenticity papers. First are they worth anything & second how do I sell them?

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      carla 2 months ago

      Ihave a huge 12 piece set of Havilland china.Can take picture if interested.Was wondering what it is worth?

    • Dolores Monet profile image
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      Dolores Monet 4 months ago from East Coast, United States

      Hi Mary - when you search for this type of information, you need to be specific in your search. Saying "picture" is too general. Look for information on whatever it is - a painting, a print, a drawing, a photograph, tintype, etc. If you own works of art, look for the artist's signature. If they are photographs, pictures that document a historic event or person will be more valuable than a photo of just anyone. I have an interesting hand painted tintype that I thought might be worth something. A bonafide appraiser told me it was worth $8.00.

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      Mary 4 months ago

      I have 8 old pictures from the 1800s would love to know if they are worth anything. They are in fair condition meaning a few have damage from moisture but other then that they are fine

    • Dolores Monet profile image
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      Dolores Monet 4 months ago from East Coast, United States

      Hi Denise - old records are valued by individual items. Only items in like new condition with original sleeves have any value. EPs (records with only 4 songs) can be quite valuable. Original releases that were later changed are very valuable. Best value is for R & R, R & B, and jazz of the 1950s and 1960s. Price guides show top prices and not necessarily what you will get if you want to sell them. I hope that you have a record player. That old vinyl produces such wonderful sound. You'll hear stuff that you just don't hear on CDs.

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      Denise poauty 4 months ago

      I have some old records how do I find if they value? And have round gold with handle in middle made in Italy dish, where do I find if that's valuable?

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      Dolores Monet 5 months ago from East Coast, United States

      Hi Janice - you could Google image vintage S & P shakers online. Be sure to specify what they look like - be they novelty, animals, elves, Depression glass, etc. Or you could buy an informative book on the subject. Here are a few to look for ( all are available used, online) :

      "The Collector's Encyclopedia of S & P Shakers - Figural and Novelty"

      "Collecting S & P Shakers"

      "The Complete S & P Shaker Book"

      This sounds like a fun and engaging project!

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      Janice 5 months ago

      I have a lot of salt and pepper shakers they were given to me by a friend who's mother passed away she collected them. Hos would I go about to see what they they are worth

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      Dolores Monet 5 months ago from East Coast, United States

      Hi Ivan - you can find a reputable appraiser by searching online for a local member of a professional organization like the Appraiser Association of America, the American Association of Appraisers, or the International Association of Appraisers. Members of professional associations like these have been in the business for at least five years and must follow ethical rules. An ethical appraiser will not be the person who will buy or sell your antique. Before you go to a professional, research a bit online. Lots of people think they have something that's super old and fabulous when they do not. Appraisers can be quite expensive so you'll want to be pretty sure you have something that's worth the money you spend on the appraisal.

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      Ivan 5 months ago

      How do I find a reputable antique appraiser?

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      Dolores Monet 6 months ago from East Coast, United States

      Sonya - well that's a biggie! An appraiser will not take advantage of you. Their job is to tell you the value of your item, not to sell it. The desk would have to be authenticated and provenance established. Provenance means an authentic record of the timeline of ownership in order to prove that the desk was actually owned by George Washington as well as the chain of ownership throughout the years.

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      Sonya 6 months ago

      Hi Dolores, I actually have a desk that was in the George Washington house with letters dating back to late 1800's as well as a picture in the home. Where can I go to have it appraised and all without feeling I could possibly be taken advantage of

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      Dolores Monet 6 months ago from East Coast, United States

      Hi Julia Ramsden - woo woo! That iridescent Favrile glass is so beautiful! You may want to take these to an appraiser to get them valued. Then, contact your local dealer in high quality antiques, not just a shop where they sell old stuff. Take some photographs to email the dealer. But do not rely on the dealer for the appraisal. Remember that a dealer will need to cover overhead and profit so expect him/her to take 1/3 of the selling price. I would be afraid to sell these online, unless it's something you do all the time. Good luck!

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      Julia Ramsden 6 months ago

      Hello. I have a pair of Tiffany Iridescent Favrile Glass Finger Bowls with Underplates, signed L.C.T. and each etched with the number 8919. I'm interested in knowing what they are worth and how best to go about selling them. I'm in Glendale, AZ.

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      Dolores Monet 7 months ago from East Coast, United States

      Hi Claire - the value of an old musical instrument depends on so many things - when and how it was made, the materials, conditions, etc. You could locate a price guide but that might not be enough help. First, you probably need more information on your actual piece. Why don't you call your local music store. They may be able to put you in touch with an appraiser. You don't want just an antique appraiser but someone who specializes in violins. Also if there is a violin shop or violin maker in your area, they should be able to advise you. Remember that not every old violin is worth $50,000 like on that Antiques Roadshow segment. Old is not always valuable. I hope you have a treasure!

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      Claire 7 months ago

      I have an antique violin and I didn't read any advice on selling instruments.

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      Dolores Monet 8 months ago from East Coast, United States

      Hi Lloyd - that's wonderful! You have a piece of history there. Maritime souvenirs have quite a following. You might want to contact an auction house that specializes in maritime antiques. There's lots of info online. You may also check collectors clubs or a museum like the Maritime Museum of the Atlantic to help find a value for the cup.