Do It Yourself – Online Antique Evaluation – Common Mistakes

On-line antique evaluation problems – Most common mistakes when trying to evaluate antique items on your own.

An on-line antique evaluation can be difficult. These days you can find just about anything on the Internet. However, you need to be careful not to make mistakes when doing your antique research. Majority of the time, some, if not all of the information you find is inaccurate. We often have to assist people when they have incorrectly evaluated an antique or fine art item. This happens for many reasons.

The easiest way to find information on the value of antiques is to check the antique store price on-line. This is the biggest mistake you can make. Usually people do an antique evaluation in order to get an idea of how much money they can get when they sell their antique. When you see a price on-line, it is the retail amount a company is asking for. Internet antique store prices are usually negotiable. If they are asking $1000 on-line, they might take $750 or even $500. So don’t be fooled by checking these high end antique sites for your evaluations. Also, if you are checking the biggest well know sites, the prices are highly inflated. These sites cater to wealthy people all around the world. They often pay much more than the antique piece is worth simply because it is being sold by a reputable antique company.

Items can easily be looked up to find out what they are worth in the store. A piece could have a retail store price of $6000. However, when you try to sell that item a year later you will not be happy. It has gone down to $1500. It is the same philosophy as buying a new car. Once the car leaves the lot, the value has dramatically decreased. Make sure to keep that in mind when doing your antique evaluation.

Another way people get deceived when doing an antique evaluation on-line is through auction sites. You search the internet and find an oil painting sold at a reputable New York City auction for $10,000. You have a painting by the same artist. Of course you assume that if you sold the painting privately or put it in the same auction, you will end up with $10,000 in your pocket. This is far from the truth. First of all you need to check to see if the buyers premium is included in the auction sale price. Most of the time the sold price has the buyers premium included. In many NYC auctions the buyers premium is 25%. This means that the actual sale price of the painting was $8000, and the buyer had to pay the extra $2000. In addition, the auction has to take the agreed upon sellers commission percentage (usually around 20%) plus extra fees (photo, Internet, insurance etc). The $10,000 painting ended up generating about $5500 for you before taxes.

You don’t want to overeducate yourself with information that may not be completely accurate. Try to get as much information as possible on-line and then get a professional opinion. This way you can get a realistic idea of the value of your antiques and fine art in todays market.



  • Artpironti

    July 8, 2016 at 9:01 pm Reply

    Very interesting the whole blog, but specially for us these articles. Often it is difficult that the client understands the difficulty and lack of security of an on-line appraisal. Thanks and regards from Barcelona.

  • Joan W. Hill

    November 22, 2017 at 10:02 pm Reply

    Owner of Lladro nativity from 1977. Just today as it was being set up for annual Christmas display, one of the wisemen fell and broke into several pieces – especially the head. Can anyone tell me if it is possible to acquire this item in one piece to have my set complete again? Can furnish pictures of the set for reference. ID # on bottom of piece (as best as my old eyes can see it) may be 92194 1977 or D419A 1977.

    • Adam Zimmerman

      August 18, 2018 at 12:55 am Reply

      The best place to find what you are looking for is eBay. You could get lucky and find a single. Also, if you buy the set of three it should cost less than $100.

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