So, you think you may have something valuable.
Trying to find out how much it's worth? That's not as much fun.
It's hard to find the information you want, and it's hard to know who to trust. I've visited hundreds of different antiques and collecting websites, and I've tried to provide you with links for some of the best and easiest places to start your research.
Although I'm not an antiques dealer or appraiser myself, I have learned a few things from working with them over the years.
Don't just ask an antiques dealer, "What's this worth?" The standard reply is, "How much do you want for it?" Many people have spent years acquiring knowledge, and passing out free advice is not always good business. Buying low and selling high is how they make their living.
You can get a free appraisal from the big auction houses like Christie's and Sotheby's, but they will only consider items appropriate for auction. I think you know if you have something valuable enough for them to consider. You can search the auction archives at Heritage Auctions to see some examples.
Quality is very important. Just because something is old doesn't necessarily make it valuable. The better its condition, the more it's worth.
No matter what information you find regarding the value of your antique or collectible, it's only worth as much as someone is willing to pay you for it! Just because a price guide says your antique doorknob is worth $100, if no one will give you that much, then it's not. Sorry.
Have you tried searching for your item's value with Google? Have any luck?
I wrote this article titled, "How to Search Better" to provide you with several suggestions for getting better search results.
You can narrow down your results by setting up a custom search for a specific website. For example, to search for door knobs only on eBay, simply type site:www.ebay.com door knobs in a search box.
Try my custom Google search box. I programmed it to search the websites of Antique Trader, Collector's Weekly, Ruby Lane and the Internet Antique Shop.
Google Lens is image recognition technology designed to bring up relevant information related to objects it identifies using visual analysis based on a neural network.
You don't need to have Lens installed on your device. You can access it with Chrome.
Their suite of offerings includes a price guide for researching and valuing antiques, art, and collectibles, a resource gallery for identifying makers’ marks and a digital library of books on a wide range of collecting topics.
At WorthPoint, they empower the antiques and collectibles industry by providing a steady stream of new data and quality information to improve pricing transparency between sellers and buyers.
WorthPoint helps discover hidden wealth.
You can try it for free. Use it for 7 days for 7 price lookups.
Be an Informed Seller
You want to make the most of what you have. You don't want to waste your money by listing your item too high, and you really don't want to just give it away to some clever picker.
If you have what you think is a potentially valuable antique, eventually you're going to have to pay someone to find out what it's worth.
Kovels Antiques & Collectibles Online Price Guide
The Kovel's have compiled a list of more than a million prices for antiques and collectibles sold worldwide. Each entry gives a description, price, and year of sale so the information can be used to price items today, track trends, or for tax and estate purposes. They have a free trial.Kovels' Antiques and Collectibles Price Guide 2023
The Kovels are the most trusted source for both the casual and expert collector. With 12,500 actual prices and 3,150 full-color photographs, the guide also features exceptionally well-organized, wide-ranging, and up-to-the-minute information, and includes more tips, marks, logos, and photographs than any other competitive title.
The book is organized by categories most sought-after by collectors, including depression glass, dolls, jewelry, furniture, porcelain, and sports memorabilia. Indexes, cross-references, and expert commentary throughout empower readers to collect with confidence and price their own antiques.
Get an appraisal from the experts at JustAnswer.
Mearto provides quick and affordable online appraisals of fine art, antique and collectible items. We also offer in-depth authentication research for works of art above a certain estimated value, and a complimentary consignment service.
You can search through AbeBooks used, rare, collectible, and out of print books. You can spend an afternoon here just browsing.
Here is a fun collection of The world's most valuable children's books. Old children's books can be valuable if they're the right edition in the right condition.
Country Living Magazine has a nice collection of articles about valuable antiques and collectibles.
Can You Tell Me What this is Really Worth? (What can I sell it for?)
Here is a good article from Liz Holderman, a Worthologist and appraiser who specializes in books and collectibles. She explains,"a single treasure is actually worth a variety of different values."
You might try exploring the Antiques Roadshow website. You can search their appraisal archive to see if they have featured your treasures.
USA Coin Book is a massive resource for US coins with over 10,000 members. Anyone can look up coin prices and values, based on coin condition, for every US coin year, mint and major variety ever made, in a clean "Red Book" format.