Antique Furniture Appraisal

An Antique Furniture Appraisal is perhaps necessary for insurance purposes and for very valuable antiques.

For the Antique Dealer they can be very frustrating. I don't know how often I have come across clients who have shoved an appraisal under my nose and expected exactly that price for their antique, old or vintage furniture.

The worst of it  - in this country anyway - is that the appraiser can charge a percentage of the value of the appraisal.

That means the higher the appraisal the higher the invoice the appraiser sends you!!

A few years ago a woman wanted to sell the contents of her flat. Her husband had died insolvent and the powers that be sent in an appraiser, who put dream prices on everything.

The poor woman was left destitute. The Social Security Benefits were adjusted according to the inflated value put on the estate (which meant she got much less than she otherwise would have). She showed me the appraisal - the values were absolutely ridiculous.

A colleague and myself tried to help her as best we could, in that we found private buyers for some of the stuff, but there was no way that we (or anyone else) could pay her the prices on the appraisal.  Unfortunately, it is not the first time I have come across this.

So, if you are looking for antique furniture appraisals, think about how you intend to use them and what exactly you need them for.

Yes, it is a good idea to have for insurance, in fact some insurance companies want photos and appraisals on anything above a certain value.  It's also a good idea to have things appraised if you want certain things to be split up amongst relatives in your will. 

You can get a really good idea of  your antique furniture value by looking on the internet.

Check the online auction houses along with any in your area. Selling sites such as Ebay, Go Antiques, Ruby Lane etc., are always a good starting point.  Or if you know a friendly antique dealer then try there.

Antique furniture values will change from country to country and remember antiques in cities tend to sell for more in shops due to the high rents etc.

You can look in the catalogues and books that are available on the market - bearing in mind that the antique furniture values in these will normally be around 20-30% higher than you can reasonably sell the item for. 

Take some good photos of your antique furniture and visit a couple of antique shops, many will happily tell you what you have and be able to give you an idea of the worth or value.  After all, the above is more or less what most of the appraisers do anyway.

It takes time and effort to research an antique and many auction houses have teamed together and won't give out sales results anymore unless you pay a subscription fee. 

A good appraiser will belong to these sites and will have even more information than you can find by yourself.  A good appraiser has the added advantage of having handled many different antiques and like an auction house or antique dealer will have developed a sixth sense as to what is interesting and what is not.

My advice on antique furniture appraisals

Find out as much as you can yourself first.

If you must, then get an appraisal. At least you will be able to get an idea if the appraiser is giving you a realistic appraisal.

Realize that you probably won't ever be able to sell your furniture for the amount stated on the antique furniture appraisal.

Be realistic - is the appraisal for replacement value? Or selling value?

As I have said before - your antique furniture is worth what one is prepared to pay for it.

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