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How to Decide on the Value of an Antique

How to decide the value of an antique like a specialist.

When deciding on the value of an antique or rather the price you are willing to pay to be able to add it to your collection. The valuation entails more than identifying the item in price guides or auction results, and with a little patience and attention to details, you can become pretty accurate at valuing antiques.

How To Determine the Value of Antiques

Scarcity of the item

In every market, the demand and supply of a commodity have a huge impact on its price. When supply is high, which means that the antique is highly available, the value is likely to decrease. When the supply is less, which means that the antique is rare, the demand will increase, and the value will also increase concurrently. Therefore, look at the scarcity of the antique before you determine its value. If it’s scarce in the market, the value should be high.

Don’t ignore a single mark

Items that have manufacturer’s or a designer’s marks on them tend to go for the highest pound compared to those with no brand signature. When studying a piece, don’t overlook the marks that might add value. If possible, use a magnifying glass to get all the details that pertain to the item. This is quite important because some items, especially painted ones have celebrity signatures on them in addition to the designer’s mark. Such items attract most buyers and are valuable.

Consider the condition

Condition is a crucial factor that must be taken into consideration when determining the value of an antique. Even if the item is available in the price guide, check its condition first before you come to a conclusion. Sometimes you can decide a higher value for an item that is worn out. In the end, you will be at a loss because no buyer will attempt to buy the piece at such price. In most markets, the more original the item is the better. For instance, people are attracted to period furniture that show few incidences of wear and restoration. However, the degree at which condition affects the overall value of an item will depend on scarcity. If the demand for a specific item is high, condition detracts less of its overall value.

Consider Age

When you have an old item, it doesn’t automatically make it an antique or raise its value. Much of the value of an antique depends on the demand and the designer’s craftsmanship. Let’s take for example, pieces that were designed in the early 1900s. Most of them dominated the market over the years becoming common to attract much value. Meanwhile, if you have an old piece that is hard to find, it is likely worth more. Also, items that have been produced in bulk for many years such as the Marcel Breuer chairs are in high demand hence valuable.

Don’t ignore the origin

You need to know the provenance of a specific item to ensure that you know what you are dealing with. Consider the history of the previous ownership of the antique as far as you can. History of ownership can add value to the antique, especially if the previous owner was a celebrity, or if the item is associated with a nation. When you have adequate knowledge about the origin of an antique, you can be comfortable about its authenticity. In most cases, new items are more desirable in the market. However, failure to provide proof of origin can be drastic. In short, if you want to the item to be more attractive to buyers, ensure you know about its background and ownership history.

Consider names

You need to know the names of everyone involved in creating the piece of antique you possess. This way, you can make potential buyers to identify easily with the antique locally or as a product of a specific manufacturer. Having the names of a piece of antique, especially furniture and ceramics also makes them easily distinguishable in the market. It also makes the items unique in their own way.

Also, the value of an item is highly influenced by new researchers, books or high profile exhibitions. The names of the items are viewed as a decorative aspect in markets that require the names of the manufacturer or designer.

Salvage value

Even if you have an antique that is broken, it does not mean that it is totally worthless. Some dealers prefer pieces they can repair later or use to join other items. Severely damaged antiques can sometimes be transformed into one piece. Other people can buy and use them for supplies. It’s wise to check the item thoroughly before you finally render it useless and dump it.


Antique fashion trends change on a daily basis. We have many people whose work of art became obsolete with time. Such works were ignored for a long time until they were re-examined by future generations. We have fashion changes that are influenced by social cues and demands in the society. Demographics are also instrumental when it comes to fashion. Alongside economic factors that has seen expanding economies and huge markets, fashion still influences demand and overall value of a piece of antique. Let’s take an example of the Chinese antique market. The common blue and white porcelain no longer attract the highest prices. They have been replaced by the Qing dynasty wares preferred by the Chinese.

Advice from an expert

Never shy away from asking those who have been on the field longer than you. Even if your judgment tends to rule out what they say or share, it’s a good thing to share with them when you are feeling uncertain about valuing a given piece of antique.

Peterborough Festival of Antiques is held twice a year in Easter and September so a great way to begin the years antique education and end your summer at what has become the Europe’s largest antique fairs, held over two days at The East of England Showground in Peterborough provides a great way to keep up to date on current market prices.