If you’d like to know more about how to get antiques valued, that’s something we can advise you on right here.
Whether it’s an antique decorative item or an antique fireplace, whatever your special piece is, it’s fun to know how much it’s worth - and potentially, very rewarding, if you’re planning to sell it.
Read on to learn more about how to get antiques valued in the UK.
How to get an antique valued: top tips
Browse your local library for general reference books on antiques
When thinking about how to get antiques valued, where do you begin?
Start by amassing as much information as you can about your antiques - for example:
- Which period are they from?
- What materials are they made of?
- Are there any makers' marks?
We’ve recently written about how to identify antique jewellery, vases, clocks and dolls.
If you don’t know much about your antiques, search the internet to build profiles for them - we’ve put together a useful list of online resources.
Alternatively, browse your local library for general reference books on antiques.
Next, a great way to set an approximate benchmark for your antiques is to check the going rate for similar pieces at an online price guide website.
A reputable one is Kovels.com and you can filter by antique type to find what you’re looking for quickly. Or, you could visit an antique shop in person to make a comparison and perhaps ask the shop owner for a rough valuation.
Who can provide a formal valuation?
Many auction houses run free appraisal days
Make sure the organisations are members of associations like BADA, LAPADA or CINOA.
You could ask an auction house for a valuation, but they may not do this for free. Also, since it’s in their interest to sell pieces quickly, they may give you a relatively lower price. Still, it’s a good option for high-value items, particularly if you’re thinking of selling them.
However, many auction houses run free appraisal days. Look out for these - also, check that your antiques are in scope and fit the criteria for the valuation service they’re offering. Just note that these valuations will probably be verbal, so you won’t receive an official document.
Antique dealers may be a more convenient option and if they buy pieces from you, they will likely pay you upfront. Please be mindful that they also need to make a profit, so their offer will be based on this.
Ask for several valuations in case your first one is wide of the mark
Whoever you approach for a valuation, give them a detailed item description and up-close photos if you’re not meeting face-to-face with them.
If possible, ask for several valuations in case your first one is wide of the mark. You may also want to ask for a new valuation every few years in case the market is fluctuating.
That’s how to get antiques valued, but did you know that there are different kinds of price estimations - retail value, auction value and insurance value?
The different types of antique valuation
We recommend this for particularly valuable antiques
When weighing up how to get antiques valued, bear in mind that you should aim for a rough bracket - because there are different types of values you can assign to them. These are:
1. Retail value
For antiques that are of a relatively lower value or less rare, this is the most relevant type of valuation.
An antique dealer will typically offer a little bit below the retail value so that they can make a profit.
2. Auction value
At an auction, bidders may be willing to offer far above the retail value for rare and high-value antiques.
They may even increase their offer substantially if they enter into a ‘bidding war’ with other potential buyers. If you know your antique is highly desirable, seek an auction valuation.
3. Insurance value
This is the amount needed if - worst case scenario - your antique is stolen or destroyed.
It’s a formal, written valuation from an insurance company and again, we recommend this for particularly valuable antiques.
Final thoughts: how to get antiques valued
That’s our guide on how to get antiques valued.
Just make sure that any organisation you contact is reputable, has an established history of dealing in antiques and is a member of an appropriate antique association.
For further queries about how to get antiques valued, or to enquire about anything in our own collection, please don’t hesitate to get in touch.