If you and your spouse are like most couples, you probably have accumulated at least a few antiques over the years. Unless either of you inherited them from family members, however, they form part of your marital property that you must divide between you fairly and equitably in the event you divorce. Consequently, you must place a value on them.
While you may believe you know their value, you likely do not have a realistic idea of how much they are worth. In fact, they may not even be antiques. A true antique is something made 100 or more years ago. Things made between 75-100 years ago go by the name of vintage, not antique. And anything made during the mid-20th century goes by the name of retro.
Valuing your old items
As the Huffington Post points out, an item’s age is not the only thing to consider when determining its worth. You must also consider the following:
- How much wear and tear does your item show?
- How rare is your item today; i.e., how many identical or similar items currently exist?
- Does your item carry a signature, mark, label, etc. that allows you to identify it as to its maker and/or time period?
- Do collectors currently collect items such as yours?
- If so, what is the price range they are willing to consider?
The best way to determine the true current value of your old items is to obtain an appraisal from a professional appraiser. Do not rely on what an auctioneer or antique dealer tells you. Instead, try to get an appraiser certified by one of the following organizations:
- The American Society of Appraisers
- The Appraisers Association of America
- The International Society of Appraisers
Even then, however, remember that no appraiser knows everything about all types of items. Consequently, you may well require the services of several appraisers to determine the true value of your old furniture as opposed to your old guns, jewelry, lamps, glassware, etc.