To find the value of antique collectibles, take pieces to a professional appraisal service, consult price guides or search for similar items online. There are often differences between a piece's auction value, retail value and insurance value, so it can be helpful to get quotes for all three values.
To find the value through an appraisal service, use the following steps.
- Find a professional appraisal service
- Find out the appraiser's rate
- Ask to see certification
- Ask for the insurance value
- Ask for the retail value
- Ask for the auction value
To find a reliable appraiser, look up businesses through the American Society of Appraisers, the Appraisers Association of America or the International Society of Appraisers.
It is a good idea to find out the appraiser's rate before proceeding with the appraisal. Appraisers usually charge an hourly rate or a flat fee. Reputable services should not charge a percentage of a piece's appraised value, as this can represent a conflict of interest.
Certified appraisers are usually more reputable, as they must adhere to professional ethics standards.
The insurance value is the most important value for owners who want to keep their pieces. It represents the amount that an insurance company will pay for a piece if it is lost, damaged or stolen.
The retail value of a piece is the amount that a dealer can sell it for in a shop. However, it does not necessarily represent the amount that the owner can receive for the piece, as shops must earn a profit on the goods they sell.
The auction value is the value that the piece can fetch at an auction. This may be different than the retail value, as pieces that are in demand can fetch high prices at auction.