07/10/2009 05:12 am ET | Updated May 25, 2011

What Your Antiques Are Really Worth!


Probably the most commonly asked question...What's it worth?

My smug reply "As much as someone is willing to pay" is not what someone wants to hear. Alas, it's an honest answer.

There are so many things that factor into what "IT" is worth. In a nutshell, there is no simple answer.

A few things have to be determined for me to answer that question:

1) Where do you live? I ask that because if you are hoping to sell it locally (like a car or furniture) we need to first determine if your item sells well in your area. OR would you be better suited sending it somewhere to maximize its value.

2) What time of the year is it? Many people don't realize that there are better times of the year to sell things in any format than others. Summertime for example is often not the best time as you have less of an audience buying. Many people are traveling and not able to be reached, or are spending money on family vacations and such and aren't thinking about collecting.

3) What format do you want to sell it? At auction, privately, eBay, to a dealer, wholesale, retail....Each of those avenues can end with variety results.

4) What is the temperature of the current market for your item? Is what you have hot, or is it in a cooling period? Or, have most of the collectors died and are now collecting wings and halos instead?

5) What is the condition of your item? Great? Excellent! Average, hmmm....Poor...where is the trash-man when you need him?

I know I know, this is a lot to take in. So what do you do when faced with selling your collection, or a collection of something you inherited and know nothing about? Call a professional.

Spend a little time doing a few keyword searches on the Internet. That will tell you right off the bat if you have something that is even desirable by others. If you do, start looking around for dealers/galleries/auction houses or experts that specialize in your type of collectible.

Put together a list of what you have, size, condition, any markings, etc of the collection first before reaching out. That will save you, AND them, a lot of time and energy. Digital photos burned to a disk with the inventory sheet can be very helpful to those not in your area. And patient. Researching your items can take time. So give someone plenty of time to do their homework before getting you a reply.

At the end of the day, if all of this seems like more than you can handle, email me. I'll see who I can steer your way!

Happy Hunting!