People collect antiques for many reasons. Some do it out of interest or as a hobby, while others purchase antiques as an investment. Whatever the motivation for collecting, many antiques are valuable and, in many instances, high in demand.
Due to limited availability, many antiques can easily sell at high prices. What determines an antique’s price will depend on a few defining attributes:
• Defining attributes
Antiques are often defined by being ‘old’ and having historical value. The key to an antique selling at a high price is related to authenticity. Valuable antiques are genuine in nature and have outlasted decades. While no set time limit is officially placed on antiques, generally items over 100 years old are considered antique, although, in some instances 50-80 years may be measured.
Rarity is another defining characteristic when it comes to antiques. The harder an item is to attain, the demand naturally increases. Those items that were originally limited in build, or distribution, also increase the scarcity of the item, increasing value. However, over time items can depreciate if the condition loses quality.
Condition of an aged item is a primary attribute considered when placing a high price tag on an antique. If antiques are in high-quality condition, the value of the items are increased. Items that are free of markings, nicks, discoloration, scratches, tears, missing parts or other damages are generally able to be sold for a much higher price than the same item that may have sustained some minor or major damage.
In some instances if the historical value outweighs the damage, the antique may still garner a decent price, albeit not at the same rate a pristine piece would sell for.
• Classifications of antiques
Items that easily sell at high prices may include certain types of period furniture, instruments, vintage jewelry, paintings and prints, china, glass and in some instances, rare coins. Antique books can also command a nice price, depending on the scarcity, whether or not it’s a first edition and the overall condition of the book; autographed volumes may also increase value.
Now that cars have been a part of society for over a century, many of the older models are increasing in value, especially luxury mobiles. For instance, a 1937 Rolls Royce Phantom III can list for close to $200,000.
• Identifying antiques
An item only has significant value if it is in demand. However many people may have items in their homes that have been forgotten about or its value not realized. While many items may not be worth significant amounts of money, some are definitely worth investing in. Many collectors often seek out estate and garage sales as often people sell cheap, or even discard, what appears to be junk, but in reality these items could be worth thousands, or in some cases, millions. Consider these antique glass negatives that were purchased for $45 and turned out to be worth $200 million.
Items can be appraised by credible experts to determine whether or not an item has any worth. It is wise before making any antique purchase investment to seek the advice of a trained eye to determine if the piece, or collection, actually has worth. Old does not necessarily equate to expensive, although in many instances it can.