Whether you are a collector or just have a passing admiration, antique furniture can be worth a considerable amount of money. However, determining how much your antique furniture is worth can be a misleading and frustrating experience, especially if your knowledge is limited.
While many are interested in antique furniture due to its high investment potential, this is only part of the excitement. If you possess an old piece of furniture and are wondering, “how much is my antique furniture worth?” this post will take you through the factors you should consider when answering that question.
How Can I Determine How Much My Antique Furniture Is Worth?
Several factors go into determining the value of antique furniture. You might be storing an old piece of furniture, thinking it is worth a lot, only to find out it isn’t worth much. Alternatively, you could throw out a piece of furniture thinking it’s worthless when it’s actually worth a fortune. Determining how much your antique furniture is worth early on will help you avoid making such costly mistakes. The following are the steps to take and factors to consider when trying to learn your old furniture’s worth.
The first step is to make a thorough and lengthy assessment of your old furniture, answering vital questions like what type of furniture it is, its style and condition. Look closely at the materials it has, making notes of any stand-out characteristics that could boost its value.
Scanning the furniture for any labels or maker’s marks can also go a long way in helping you determine its value.
Does the furniture have any damage like dents, cracks, markings, or scratches that will need servicing from antique repair professionals in Toronto? Examine the table legs or legs of the bed or dining room table where damage is more likely but unseen. Are there any marks that show previous repairs have been made to the furniture, like new screws?
Do you know its history, or do you have any old photos of the furniture that could help you date it?
Write down everything you find out about the furniture during your initial examination. These notes will come in handy during the following steps.
Identify the Wood
Your vintage furniture could have been built one of the many species or types of wood readily available at the time. Identifying the type of wood and materials used to build the antique furniture is often a good indicator of its value. For instance, everyday furniture was made from timbers like ash, elm, fruitwoods, beech, and yew.
On the other hand, high-end pieces were built using specific woods during specific areas. For example, the 16th and 17th century periods are known as the “age of oak,” which was followed by the age of walnut, mahogany, and finally satinwood.
Remember to list the type of wood and all the materials used to build the antique furniture.
Search for Guides Showing the Value of Similar Items
The internet, libraries, and bookshops are full of publications aimed at helping you answer the question, “how much is my antique furniture worth?”
Look at these guides to get a broad overview of the values of antique furniture similar to the one you have. This will set you on the right path to getting an accurate valuation of your antique piece.
We should note that every piece of furniture has different prices depending on the item’s end goal. As such, familiarising yourself with the following price points will help:
- Retail value: This is the fair market value a buyer would be willing to pay at the store. It is the highest price point and, as such, the hardest to achieve when reselling the piece.
- Wholesale value: Usually 30%-50% less than the retail value, the wholesale value is the price a dealer will likely give you for a piece of antique furniture that does not have an appraisal.
- Auction value: This value is what the antique furniture is thought to bring at an auction house. Though it is less than the retail value, it is usually more than the cost of wholesale.
Get More Information
The internet is your best source of information when looking to narrow down your antique furniture’s price further. It all starts with knowing what to search for.
The information you wrote down in the previous steps will help you determine the piece’s age, make, and style. From there, you can search for more information on auction databases, antique marketplaces, and online forums.
Consider learning the leading antique furniture designers, as this can also go a long way in understanding the value of your piece. Superior techniques of master artisans will fetch more. For instance, the work of Thomas Chippendale is considered fine art and can fetch sums worth six figures.
Having all this information and factors in mind will help you determine an accurate estimate of what your piece of antique furniture is worth. However, there is one step you could take if you desire more accuracy.
Have the Furniture Appraised
In some cases, it might be best to leave the valuation of your antique furniture to a professional. However, since appraisers are not licensed, and anyone can claim to be one, it is essential to know who to work with.
Here are some tips that can help you find a reliable and competent appraiser:
- Avoid working with those who will offer an appraisal over the internet only. A professional appraiser needs to see the item in person to provide an accurate valuation.
- Work with an appraiser with a specialty in the piece you need appraising.
- Avoid working with an appraiser who offers to sell the item for you.
- Ask for their references.
- Always get the appraisal in writing along with the description of the methods the appraiser used to value the piece.
Consider asking a number of appraisers to cross check against the furniture values that you received. However, remember that appraisals can be costly, so this step is more suited for pieces of antique furniture that you suspect are worth significant sums of money. With antique furniture being around for years, some might need a bit of work if you are to get the best possible value. Fortunately, our antique furniture refinish tips can help.