If you are like me, then you might have inherited a thing or two. I am lucky enough to hail from a family that collected antiques and a grandmother who owned a gift shop that was "the bridal registry of choice" in my small Southern town. So even before I got married, I was already full of collections - china, music boxes, books, silver, jewelry, furniture and so on.
Some of my sliver collection. It's important to store silver in an appropriate storage case or felt bags. Also, all true silver should be appraised and added onto your home owners insurance.
But the time had come, now that my home decor style has developed, to assess what in my home was truly valuable and what I could part with to make room for something more my style. After visiting a local antique center several times, I stopped by the front desk to ask if they had an antiques appraiser they recommend or work with, and they did.
Upon phoning the appraiser, Stacey Caron, she agreed to come to my home for a fee and assess my collections to see what was trash and what was treasure. Think of it as my own personal "Antiques Road Show". I laid out almost everything I could think of that was packed away with the intention of walking her around to see the larger furniture pieces I couldn’t move.
For whatever reason, my family decided to give me minature tea sets when I was a child. I have kept them and display them in a guest room. They are of little value but my girls do love to play with them :)
The meeting was invaluable and after she left, I felt much better about some of my decorating ideas (like painting a side table a high gloss black) since the items were not invaluable and wouldn’t be ruined by my updates. Additionally, she left me with some of the following great pieces of advice for anyone else looking to understand their antiques:
How do I determine if an object is an antique or not?
The rule used to be that an antique had to be 100 years old to be called "antique", however, that has changed. 1950's mid-century modern furniture is now classified as "antique".
What should I do to prepare for an antiques appraiser to visit my house?
If you are having antiques appraised for insurance value to place on your homeowners policy, you should let the appraiser look around your home for stand out important pieces, such as artwork, silver, etc., then make sure you point out jewelry and things that may be packed away in closets or drawers.
How do I find an antiques appraiser that I can trust (is there a society or licensing board)?
A good way to find a reputable antiques appraiser is to ask your insurance agent or estate attorney, they should have a list of people that they work with locally. They should be members of either Appraisers Assoc. of America or ISA (International Society of Appraisers).
This is an old box that I thought little of but it turns out to be a quite unique antique sewing box. It's not in the best shape inside but the outside is quite lovely.
What are great ways to sell my antiques?
There are a number of way to sell your antiques. If they are of high value, then sometimes an auction house is the best route. However, if you have furniture and household bric-a-brac, then selling to a local antiques dealer is always the easiest way, once a value has been established.
Do I need to add antiques to my homeowners insurance?
Add a fine arts policy or rider to your existing policy only if you have valuables, such as fine jewelry, fine artwork, or antiques, that can not be replaced if lost or stolen.
What older objects are usually most valuable?
There is no rule of thumb here. Antiques come and go, like fashion. Just because the item is old, doesn't mean it has value.
Well that is definitely one rule of thumb I’m sticking to- “Just because the item is old, doesn’t mean it has value.” Must repeat.
This is a set of canisters that I inherited from my mom. They would fetch a fair price if I were to sell them.
If you aren’t lucky enough to have an antiques appraiser near you, you can check out this cool online service that I just learned about: ValuemyStuff.com. Value My Stuff provides online valuations for art, antiques,collectables and oddities. Customers pay a flat fee per item and within 48 hours, they receive a full comprehensive report from one of more than 30 ex-Sotheby’s or ex-Christie’s experts on staff. Pretty cool. I haven’t tried it so I can’t vouch for it but it looks to be pretty solid via its credentials.
So don’t keep hanging onto those old things just because they are antiques. If they aren’t working for you and aren’t sentimental, then trade them in for something that does!