(806) 244-4453 Fax

Learn To Appraise Collectibles Like A Pro

Thursday, July 9th, 2015

Many people love to shop estate sales or auctions with the hopes of finding a rare item for a bargain price. However, for the average person or beginner collector it can be hard to know what items are worth. Get some background information on the item in question. Look for manufacturer and designer marks. Check the condition of the collectible, whether it has been repaired or is in its original condition. With the background research you do for the item, determine if it is a common or rare piece. If you are still unsure of the value of a collectible, ask an expert. With some information and a little practice you will be able to determine the fair value of the collectibles you’re interested in.

Get some background information

Auctions usually have a wide variety of items, so you could find just about anything. It is always a good idea to study up on the specific type of antiques or collectibles you are interested in. Professionally ran auctions often post pictures of items on the company’s website before the event so you can get an idea of what they have. This auction preview can help you decide what items might be a good value. Looking up collectibles in a price book is a good place to start, but there are several other things you need to consider. Learning about current market trends can be helpful too. Prices can fluctuate due to popularity and some items are more popular in one area of the country than another.

Manufacturer and designer marks

One of the first things you should look for is a manufacturer’s or designer’s mark on the item. Collectibles like fine china will have the name of the manufacturer printed on the bottom. Other types of items may be signed by the artist. These marks can help you authenticate items, making them worth more. Discrepancies in the manufacturer’s or designer’s mark can indicate the item is not authentic. Learning how to spot a knock-off or reproduction is helpful when attending an auction.

Condition of the collectible

Generally speaking, the better condition something is in, the more it will be worth. Mint condition or like new collectibles have higher resale value. Excessive wear, tears, stains, and missing parts are some examples of damages that can bring down the value of an item. Cracks, dents, and chips are also damaging to the collectible and its value.

Carefully examining the condition of an item at an auction may help determine authenticity as well. In some cases, the signs of wear can help you tell how old the collectible is. Excessive wear can also help identify certain manufacturing methods or indicate how the item was used. Knowing these things can make it easier to tell if your item is authentic.

Repaired items

Repairs on a collectible can be good or bad. A small, well-done professional repair is not likely a problem, especially if the item is rare. The value of a mended piece will be lower if there is visible glue, solder or other obvious signs of repair. Many serious collectors will use a blacklight to look at an object, which will make certain repairs more obvious.

Common vs. rare collectibles

This is where your background research in your area of interest is helpful. Some types of collectibles are worth more than others. Every area of collectibles has common items that were popular and therefore have many surviving examples. While you may still be interested in these popular items, they just aren’t worth as much. Demand for an item will also have an effect on the value. Just because the item is old, it does not mean someone will want it. Your background research will help you determine the best items to purchase at an auction.

Ask an expert

If you are still having trouble valuing a collectible, you can ask a friend that is knowledgeable in the area or an auction dealer that you trust. This might be a good idea if you are trying to value a rare item. Remember that when professional appraisers value a collectible, they tend to go with the median price. There will always be items that sold for much more at auctions or estate sales and much less at garage sales. Sticking with the middle of the price range is pretty safe, whether you’re buying or selling.

If you have questions about upcoming auctions or would like to know how to schedule an auction, call High Plains Auctioneers today at (806) 244-6776. You could find that rare collectible you are looking for. Also, you can connect with us via email. We will be happy to answer any questions about our services.