Building a collection of vintage collectibles can take years and leave you with a collection that is worth thousands of dollars or more. Some of the factors determining the overall value include how rare the pieces are and their general condition. There are a few easy ways in which you can authenticate your collection to see the total value.
Become an Expert
Becoming an expert is one of the easiest ways to authenticate vintage products. Experts typically focus on one specific area. You might find someone who knows everything about Pyrex dishes and someone else who specializes in movie and television memorabilia. Experts may have specialties within their subject areas, such as someone who has general knowledge about furniture but focuses on mid-century modern pieces.
You shouldn’t expect to become an expert overnight, but you can become an expert in your field with some time and research. Read as many books as you can find on your collectibles and talk with others who collect the same things. You might find online and offline groups that you can join, too.
Go to Auctions
Auctions are an excellent place to authenticate vintage goods. Not only will you see other collectors in the audience, but you may see experts there also. Reputable auction houses have experts look over the items that they sell to verify that they are authentic. Those experts look for signatures and markings that indicate who made the pieces and when it was made. They also look at the general condition, which helps the auction house place a reserve on it. If a piece has a reserve, it will not sell unless someone bids that amount.
Look for specialty auctions that sell one specific thing. If you want to collect vintage cuckoo clocks, you’ll find auctions that sell just those clocks, as well as auctions that offer cuckoo and other vintage or antique clocks. In addition to bidding on the clocks that you want in your collection, you can meet experts who can later authenticate other pieces that you buy.
Get an Appraisal
Whether you buy or rent a home, you should purchase insurance to protect your belongings. If you need to file an insurance claim, the insurer will often give you more if it knows more about your collection. You need to know exactly what you had and its replacement value to ensure that you get enough to buy a new piece. An easy way to see the value of your collection and authenticate each piece is with an appraisal.
An appraisal allows an expert with knowledge of your collectibles to perform a detailed analysis. The individual will determine each piece’s value based on how easily you can replace it, the overall condition, and what others would pay for it. You get a detailed report that shows the cost of each piece. During the appraisal, you’ll also find out if any pieces in your collection are not authentic.
Check Antique Malls
Check with the vendors in your local antique mall if you need help authenticating a collection. These vendors often have years of experience and can tell you everything that you need to know. It’s helpful to choose a vendor specializing in a specific area rather than someone who sells a little bit of everything. If you inherited a collection of vintage furniture, talk to a furniture dealer.
Keep in mind that while some vendors offer help for free, others charge for their services. You should make it clear that you don’t want to sell your collection as some vendors will undervalue your collection in the hopes of buying it from you for a low price. Some online antique malls offer similar services. You need to take multiple photos of each item and from all angles. The vendor or mall will appraise the item based on what they can see in the image.
No matter what you collect or how much you spend, you can quickly build a collection that is worth quite a bit of money. Getting an appraisal done ensures that you know the overall value and can provide that information to your insurer. Talking to experts or becoming an expert and going to auctions and meeting with antique mall vendors can also help you authenticate your collection.