valuing your collectables

Valuing Your Collectables: How To Find How Much An Item’s Worth 

Collectables aren’t just fun to buy, own, and display, they can also be worth a pretty penny. A Pokemon card collection shown on the Antiques Roadshow, for example, was recently valued at $10,000. If you have any antiques or collectables, you’re likely wondering how much they’re worth. Knowing an item’s true value is essential if you’re planning on buying or selling, and will ensure you don’t miss out on any good deals.

Look for signature marks

Does your piece feature the designer’s or manufacturer’s mark? If so, it’ll likely have a higher value than the same item without a mark. Marks are usually found on the bottom of the item – either stamped or impressed, stamped, or painted on.

Keep in mind, marks aren’t always easy to spot, so you may need to use a magnifying glass. In addition to the manufacturer, marks may also help you identify when the piece was made, the origin country, and how many copies there are. Maker’s marks can change throughout the years, so you’ll also need to take this into account when verifying authenticity.

Consider rarity

As a general rule of thumb, the rarer your item, the more it’s worth – even with flaws. So, for example, a cracked piece of Newcomb pottery will be worth more than a cracked piece of Frankoma pottery. Newcomb Pottery was founded in the late 1800s, and heavily influenced by Japanese design featuring organic, natural forms and patterns. Newcomb pieces often sell for anywhere between $700-$10,000.

However, Frankoma pottery still has value – it’s popular with collectors, and four person place settings, for example, have been sold for $175. Frankoma pottery is made with Oklahoma-dug clay, and best known for its prairie green glaze. Rare antique gold coins are also valuable. The gold American Eagle coin, for example, was produced in 1986, its weight and purity guaranteed by the U.S. government. Although the coin’s face value is $5, its true value is determined by gold’s market value at the current time.

Is it authentic? 

Getting your item authenticated can help you better determine its value – so, for instance, if you have a family heirloom and you know where it originated from, it’s likely an authentic piece. On the other hand, if the item came from a rummage sale or flea market, you’ll need to authenticate it.

So, study your item carefully for any staps, marks, or signatures, as well as visible wear and aging – this should match up with the item’s purported age. A black light can illuminate any repairs or cracks, as well as show up fresh paint. While professional restoration increases an item’s value, an amateur repair job will likely lower it, depending on how rare the piece is and how in demand it is.

Accurately valuing your collectibles is a challenge that gets easier with practice. By looking for signature marks and considering rarity and authenticity, you’ll successfully find the true value of your collection.

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