Antique Appraisals: Is This Worth Money?

  • A man takes a closer look at an antique teapot.
You’re going through your grandparent’s estate and find it—an old silver teapot that looks like it might really be worth something.

But is it?

There are two ways to determine the value of your antique or family heirloom—do the work yourself or hire a professional appraiser. We’ll take a look at both.

Antiques Worth Money: Find out the Value Yourself

These days, there are more ways than ever to find out the value of your antique or heirloom. If you’re truly interested in the topic, you can immerse yourself in a whole new world by getting educated.

Let’s take that silver tea set as an example. You could begin consulting guidebooks, such as the Online Encyclopedia of Hallmarks, Silver Markers and Maker's Marks. You could also attend a few auctions yourself or join in on an online forum for silver collectors.

Not sure you’re ready for that kind of commitment?

The easiest way to determine the value of an object is to think like a shopper.

Chances are, whatever it is you’re selling (unless it truly is one of a kind) has been sold before. Check out online auction sites like Ruby Lane or eBay. If you find a silver tea set jut like yours that sold for between $1,000 and $1,500 dollars each time, that will give you a good idea of your item’s value.

Valuable Antiques: Hiring an Appraiser

If you’re trying to determine the value for something more common—say a piece of Fiestaware pottery—it won’t pay to hire an appraiser as your item is likely less worth it would cost for one hour of an expert’s time.

But if you think you have something truly valuable, then it will pay off to hire someone with expertise.

Here’s the thing: You don’t ever want to hire someone who is in the business of buying antiques as that creates an inherent conflict of interest.

The American Society of Appraisers has an online tool to help you find a certified appraiser near you. So does the International Society of Appraisers and the Appraisers Association of America.

You can expect to pay between $100 and $350 per hour, but in return you will receive detailed information on your item, as well as a written appraisal that can help you sell your antique.

Climate Controlled Storage Near You

A climate-controlled self storage unit can be an ideal solution if you’re not ready to sell your antique, but want to keep it protected from humidity, as well as temperature swings.

At StorageMart, you can rent a unit as small as 25 square feet or so—or up to the size of a garage. We offer affordable self storage units that can be rented on a month-by-month basis and are always clean and well lit. Need more info? Check out our storage unit guide or rent a unit online today.

About Sarah Little

Sarah Little, Marketing Director at StorageMart, holds a Bachelor's Degree in Business Administration. She serves as Vice President on the Board of Directors for the Central Missouri Foster Care & Adoption Association, a non-profit group dedicated to improving the lives of children.

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