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All About Antiques: A Beginner's Guide

Updated on April 8, 2016

Finding Antiques in your Home

Spring has already started! And for most people, it is the perfect time to declutter their homes, organized and conduct cleaning. You want to prepare your home for a warmer environment and give it a fresh look, and get rid of things that you don't need or things that you are no longer using. While going through all those items, you might be able to find some rare pieces that can be of great value but you are not aware of.

A lot of people may have thrown out what is considered to be an investment and valuable because they do not know that it is already antique. What may look like a junk for you can be a treasure to collectors, it can be exciting to find out that an old furniture, silverware, pots or even rugs can cost a lot of money, because a lot people usually look into eye-catching, elegant and of course, expensive items that are trending. However, you have to take note that big returns may be awaiting when you have good antique collections, so here is a guide for novice and beginners about antiques.

Antiques can be a good investment but you need to be informed and well educated
Antiques can be a good investment but you need to be informed and well educated | Source

Is it Authentic?

Whenever you are presented or discover an antique item, the first question you might ask yourself is authentic? A lot of items are counterfeited today, from designer handbags, to jewelry, to vintage, collectors item and antiques, it would be heartbreaking to be bragging about your rare piece and eventually find out that it is not the "real thing". Technically, an antique literally means old or ancient, and the common practice to define antique are objects at least 100 years old, but it would take high levels of skill in order to determine if the item is fake or not.

Although it may be difficult and challenging to identify if a piece is fake just by looking at it, but visual inspection, there can be indication regarding the year it was made or the country where it originated. The type of materials and the technique used in creating the antique will help you determine its age.

Determining and Increasing the Value of Antiques

If you are beginning your journey into the world of antiques, it is important that you know the ins and out for this particular hobby. At some point, collecting antiques has been a craze, collectors were flaunting their eye-catching, elegant and of course, expensive collections in diverse color, style, shapes and status symbol. For most experts, antique shopping and collecting can be addictive, because you get to enjoy adding a new piece to your home and you get to add it to your investment because the value of some rare pieces increases year after year, so I am always on the look for trends. However, you should not be an impulsive buyer, although it can be tempting, you can be easily seduced by the trend, but make sure that you don't get lost in the market trends.

Your antique collections may increase in value, the key is to protect and preserve your rare pieces so they can be more profitable. You should remember that the price of antique are prone to changes because they tend to be affected by market trends. There are several factors that you need to consider that affect the value and the price on an item. In addition, you have to be wary of either fakes or reproduced items, or even authentic pieces that have become devalued. Even as a beginner, you should learn how to estimate value of an antique item, you cannot simply rely on price guide or information from the internet. Be careful and look for the following factors that affect the value of your most precious antique.

What may look like junk to you may be treasure for antique collectors
What may look like junk to you may be treasure for antique collectors | Source

Factors to Look Out For

Rarity - Antiques that are created using materials that are no longer available or hard to find will fetch a greater price, in as much as items whose design, craftsmanship and styles are no longer available yields higher value. A limited edition Loui Vuitton bag or a timepiece from Rolex that is not mass produced will be worth higher especially if it is in good condition.

Provenance - instead of simply marketing a painting or a book highlighting how old it is, it would give your pieces higher value if you could also include details regarding the origin, ownership or list of owners, location, original production and discovery.

Popularity/Trends - Once an item becomes popular, its price can go higher, in addition, the trend and demands should also be considered when determining the value of an antique. For example, when 2016 Van Gogh movie came out, the prices of his paintings went up with the rise in popularity. Also, artifacts from titanic were auctioned at a higher price after the showing of the movie with the same title.

Maintenance/restoration - Since antique items are at least a hundred years of age, it may contain some signs of wear and tear, therefore, how it is preserved or restored matters a lot. This factor will largely affect the value of your antiques, so you have to determine the extent of the damage, if it is just minor damage, it would be better left alone because no one would actually appreciate an antique if it appears to be flawless, that may be a basis of its authenticity. However, if is actually broken or severely damaged, you may need the service of professional restoration team.


Is It Necessary to Insure Antique Collections?

If we consider antiques as investment or pieces of high value, wouldn't it be fair enough to insure it just like how we insure our house, car and even health? Because these items can be worth so much, it would be wise to insure your antiques against theft, fire, unfortunate incidents and other unforeseen events.

For most beginners, they are not aware about the true value of their antique collections, who knows? They could be your most prized possession, because aside from the monetary value they possess, they may also brings a lot of memories and emotions. In fact, a number of people including celebrities have their own prized possession already insured so there is no reason why you should not insure your antique collection. One good example of unusual things that was insured is when dancer and pin-up girl Betty Grable insured her legs for $1,000,000 (hence the phrase ‘million-dollar legs).

Before you insure your antique collection, make sure to take note of the following things that you need to remember:

  • Look for insurance company or insurer that has expertise in arts, antiques and vintage
  • If you can't find one, contact your homeowner's insurance and check to see if you could add a rider include other prized belonging like antiques in your policy
  • Make sure that you understand the terms and condition stated in the policy especially the fine prints

Beginner's Guide to Collecting Antiques

Where to Find Antiques

As a new collector, you wonder where to find authentic rare pieces that you can either add to your collections or turn into profit as certain antiques can be a source of big cash. Finding quality pieces entails a lot of hard-work and challenges, once you get to visit an antique shop, you will be amazed on all the stuff they have with them and might ask where they get all those items?

You can actually find them everywhere! and to help begin your search, you can visit any of the places below where you will find rare and high-value pieces at an affordable price:

  • Estate sale - look for estate sale run by family instead of those run by companies, since the average family are not that into antique business so they are less informed, as a result, they price high-value merchandise lower as the sale drags on. You can even haggle or bargain for an item that you have been eyeing.
  • Auctions - The best thing about auctions - the items are guaranteed authentic! You can still snag valuable items without going over your budget
  • Garage sale - It is not everyday that you get to find antiques at a garage sale, but who knows, you may be able to find nice things at an affordable price, the key is to check which area in that location is more upscale so you can increase your chances of finding rare pieces. After all, some of the valuable items are found in the most unlikely settings
  • Online stores and shops - Millions of people are relying on the internet, from communication to research to shopping, and it would be more convenient to shop at the comfort of your own room, but you have to be very careful, avoid providing too much information as a lot of scammers are online as well.
  • Flea Market - These bazaars usually offer variety of local and imported goods so you may come across a valued merchandise that is worth your time and effort.

Do you have tons of valuable antiques?
Do you have tons of valuable antiques? | Source

Caring and Preserving Your Antiques - What You Need to Know

Normally, items are priced high if they are quite new, however, this doesn't hold true for vintages and antiques, it can be that the older your item, the higher its value is, and since its century old, it is delicate therefore proper caring is essential so you can maintain its value

  • Cleaning - Cleaning is the first basic steps when taking care of just about anything, be it car, house, clothes, jewelry, shoes or even furniture, but the same principle may not be true for antique items. Still there is a need to at least put away dust on the surface of the antique, but be careful when dealing with woods, you cannot just get a wet rug and wipe your piece if it is made of wood so it pays to know what material your item is made of. Moreover, it may also affect the value of a particular piece if not properly done.For instance, it can remove any special markings on a piece.
  • Storage - Make sure that your collections do not rub against each other in their storage, this may cause friction and damage the surface. Temperature also largely affect the condition of an item, there are certain pieces that should not be exposed to too much heat, light and moisture
  • Restoration - There may be an instance when restoration is needed in order to preserve your antique, but this is not applicable every time, seek an expert’s advice on whether or not it’s an ideal move to make.

Antique Store
Antique Store | Source

Finding Rare Pieces

What would you do if you found tons of antique items in your house

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How to Make Money From Your Antique

It might not be an established or traditional way of earning money but antique can provide you with a big amount of cash, all you need is hard work and dedication to the industry. It is considered an investment, although there may be risks involved, but just like any other business, you cannot go along without any obstacles.

Unlike any other business that provides a steady stream of income, dealing with antique can either make or break your finances. You should be able to take note of important details to ensure that you are on the righ track when it comes to selling or even buying antiques. It is not advisable to just grab and buy every single item you find online, in shops, auction, flea market or estate sale, invest only in the pieces you love.

One of the factors that increases the value of antique is rarity so if you are planning to go into the buying and selling business, make sure to look for unusual pieces with good craftsmanship. In addition, look out for any signs of restoration, check if it is just a replica or fake, you don't want to be paying for the original item and getting just the exact copy of it.

Once you are ready, do not forget to do your assignment and check out reputable shops and people where you can sell your antiques, but beware of scammers. Try checking out for more secure options and always opt to meet up instead of taking the risk of dealing with a fraud.


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