Learn to buy and sell antiques and collectibles

Antiques Appraisal Advice

I get a lot of questions about antique values. People come into the website and then send me an email asking for an appraisal. I don't do online appraisals except for toy trains so please do not send me questions about the value of your antiques.

Here's a link for online Toy Train Appraisals. I will only answer questions about toy train values that come from the form on that page.

In order to help people looking for an online antique appraisal, I have written this page of advice. If you have seen the Antiques Road Show you have seen appraisers in action.

I don't know much about how the roadshow is done, but I think the appraisers are all dealers or run auction services. I assume they provide their knowledge in exchange for the free publicity and a chance to find items to auction off. I know a few people who appear on the road show, and I will find out how it works and write more about it in the future.

Anyway, lets talk about how most antique appraisals work. Or rather should work. If an appraisal is offered to you that does not meet these criteria - run. Chances are you will get poor advice.

  • An appraiser needs to specialize. I said earlier I do train appraisals. I do not offer evaluations of other antiques or collectibles. I am not qualified to give advice about other antiques. If you have an old dish, get advice from a someone who deals in dishes. There are too many factors that influence price for a general antiques appraiser to know. You need a specialist.
  • All appraisals must be based on seeing your antique. Anyone who offers a value without seeing the antique is doing you a disservice. For online appraisals a picture is usually sufficient.
  • Never pay an appraiser a percentage of the quoted value for his service. Reputable antique appraisals are done on a per item or per hour basis. For example I charge $20 for an appraisal of up to 25 related toy train items. On average this works out to about $40 an hour. I am actually cheap. You can expect to pay between 40 and 100 dollars an hour for an appraisal.
  • Find an appraiser who is more than a book reader. If you wanted to know what a price guide says your item is worth go to a library. See my Antiques Price Guides article for more information about price guides. An appraisal should include information about protecting your antiques, and about selling them. You hire an appraiser for his expert opinion. Not to read a book to you.
  • Be wary of an offer to purchase as an appraisal. Some dealers offer "free appraisals" in order to buy stock for their stores. Many times these dealers will under-value your items so they can purchase them at a hefty profit.
  • Watch out for bogus claims by appraisers. There is currently no accreditation agency worth the price of the paper they print. For a few hundred dollars (less in some cases) anyone can get some fancy letters to put behind their name. These letters mean nothing. My step mother once took a class from a "certified" appraiser. The "expert" told her a defect in an antique dish was the maker's mark!

Here is a list of items that effect antique values. An appraiser needs to know the field well enough to spot these trends.

If you are interested in selling something, have a few reputable dealers make you an offer, then take the best offer. Most appraisals will give you values you will never hope to realize. I tell people when I appraise toy trains what the items would sell for on eBay or what price I would put on their trains if I was selling them.

If you are looking for an appraisal for insurance reasons, talk to your insurance agent to see exactly what format you need.

One other note before I end this article. Some appraisers suggest that an appraisal for insurance reasons should be higher. This makes no sense to me. These appraisers talk about replacement value. Wouldn't replacement value be the price a dealer will sell it for?

I think that some appraisers tend to inflate insurance valuations, thinking the insurance adjuster will knock them down a bit.

This sounds like fraud to me. And I don't think it is ethical. I had a burgulary in March of 2004. The insurance company paid me based on the values I set for the stolen items. I bet the adjuster checked the values, and then paid the claim.

Terry


Many of the articles and free reports here on IWantCollectibles were originally sent to readers of my Antiques and eBay Newsletter. Not all articles make it onto the website, and readers also get notices of free reports and special offers.

Ted at his desk.

Most Popular Articles on IWantCollectibles
  • Finding Products To Sell On eBay
    How to find products to sell on eBay is the most common question I get from my readers. This page has links to all the articles and reports I've written about finding eBay products.
  • How To Be An Antique Dealer
    The best way to start an antiques or collectibles business. Part 1 of a five part series on being an antiques dealer.
  • Understanding eBay Changes 2011
    This page covers eBay changes and has links to all articles on IWantCollectibles about working within the changes. Sign up for my free newsletter for articles covering new changes as they are announced.
  • Tips for Starting an eBay Consignment Business
    Selling on consignment is the perfect way to start on eBay. This article is an introduction to consignment selling, and explains what you'll need to be successful. First in a series on eBay Consignment.
  • Shopping For eBay Products At Garage Sales
    Thirteen tips for garage sale shopping. Part one of a two part series on garage and yard sales.
  • Finding New Products for eBay
    If you want to sell new products you need to concentrate on items others are not selling. You need to find sources other sellers are unaware of. That is not hard to do. Here's a list of articles to get you started on the right path.
  • eBay Auction Category, Title And Keyword Advice
    A series of articles about getting your items found on eBay. Covers category selection, eBay keyword rules, and researching keywords. Finally you'll learn how to write an informative, keyword rich title.


Free Antiques and eBay Newsletter

eBay Questions and Answers

About .

Contact Terry

Free eBay Ebooks

eBay Resource Reviews


eBay Advice

Antiques Advice

Antiques and eBay Reports

Antiques Articles

How To Sell Antiques On eBay

Learning Antiques Values

How To Be An Antique Dealer

A Few Quick Buying Stories

Resources For Buying On Craigslist

Search Craigslist Across Cities and Categories

How To Sell Antiques

How To Learn About Antiques

How To Act At Antiques Shows

Selling At Antique Shows Versus On eBay

7 Habits Of Successful Antiques Dealers

Tools of A Successful Antiques Dealer

Finding eBay Keywords For Antiques

"Storage Wars" and Mini Storage Auction Tips

Should You Be Selling With Fullfillment By Amazon Too?

Sorting Antiques To Sell Them

Avoiding Common Mistakes Made By Collectors And Dealers

Are You An Expert On Collectibles?

27 Ways To Find Antiques To Sell On eBay

Buying Antiques At Garage Sales


Antiques Reports

Finding Profitable Hidden Bargains at Garage Sales

Get Into Estate Sales Early For The Best Deals

Negotiating When Buying Antiques and Collectibles

How To Sell At Antiques Shows And Flea Markets

Buy Collectibles With Terry's Proven Strategies

Learn How To Spot Fakes, Frauds, and Forgeries

Start Your Own eBay Consignment Business

Buying Antiques and Collectibles In Stores And Malls


Affiliate Center

IWantCollectibles.com Sitemap
© Copyright 2001-2014 Terry Gibbs
The Auction Revolution is a product of IWantCollectibles LLC
IWC LLC PO BOX 842, Mesa, AZ 85211