They say one person’s trash is another one’s treasure, and your loft could well be hiding a cache of goods to make you some extra money.
We share our tips and tricks about how to assess whether you have a few treasures of your own hiding up in the loft and what to do if you have your own antique you want to sell.
How To Tell if It’s Antique
There are no definite rules to help you discover whether you have an antique on your hands, but there are some things you can look for.
- What’s the history? If you have something you can date back more than 50 years, you may have a collectable antique on your hands. What’s more, knowing the sentimental story behind an item can make it more attractive to buyers.
- Is it copyrighted, marked or engraved? Craft and art will often feature maker stamps, signatures or other marks to let you know who the artist was. Similarly, items which have a brand or factory name and item number can help you find out the value of a piece.
- What’s the condition? Is it cracked, marked, scuffed, ripped? Has it been repaired in the past? Does it show signs of general use or wear and tear? If your item needs repaired, take it to an expert, otherwise you could end up reducing its value.
- Is it beautiful? Is the item aesthetically pleasing, obviously made with skill, designed with interesting colours or patterns?
Once you’ve noted down the above, take photographs of the piece from every angle, of any marks or copyrights, of any flaws, and of interesting elements of the design.
Valuing a Piece
Now that you have some information about the item, you can do some research to find out whether or not it’s worth anything. Thankfully, there is a wealth of information online that can help. Sites like Kovels have excellent information on trends, reports on collecting, and online price guides.
- Research the maker. If you’ve found markings then search online for other items by the manufacturer or maker. You might strike it lucky and find your item on a search, or others from the same collection or era that will help you to value it.
- Research the type of antique. If you don’t know who made it, then learn about similar objects to discover more about your own. Write down as much as you can about your own object – any colours, style, shape, typography – then get online and start digging. A quick online search for ‘antique sites’ will help you see other items on sale so you can get an idea of prices.
- Go to a museum. If you’re having trouble finding out about your object, then head to an art gallery or a museum to see what similar items they have on display. It might help you to pinpoint the style and era of your item. You may even be able to talk to a curator and find out more.
- Get an expert valuation. If you think you have a valuable item on your hands, you can pay for a specialist valuation online to find out more, or head to a local dealer for an appraisal.
The good news is that if your item has been valued at a low price you still might be able to make some money from it as lots of people will happily buy ‘vintage’ items online.
Where to Sell
You can sell your antique online on a specialist antique sales website, or even on eBay, which is popular for selling antiques.
Many people still choose to sell antiques at shops and dealers. If you do, be sure to get quotes from two different sellers so you know you’re getting the appropriate price.
If you want to appear on the small screen, then you could apply to take your antique on to the Antiques Roadshow on its 2015 tour.
Do you think you have any treasures hidden in your loft?