Are your antiques trash or treasure? | Home and Garden |

Where Can I Get antiques Appraisal?

Historical Furniture / January 27, 2022

Old and valuable—or just plain old? It can be hard for the untrained eye to tell, and nobody wants to sell Granny's candy dish for $2 at a yard sale when it's really worth $200. But a professional appraisal costs upward of $75 an hour. If you're considering shelling out for a pro, here's what you should do first:

Look for clues

Label, brand or signature Check for identifying details as to who made your antique. If your chairs are designed by, say, Herman Miller, you'll be able to see from a quick Internet search that they could be worth a pretty penny.

Advertisement - Continue Reading Below

Quality and materials What an antique is made of and how well it's crafted are both important in determining value. Even if your antique mantel clock is in good working condition, if it's made of wood laminate rather than mahogany, it doesn't make sense to appraise it. But if you're unsure of whether that antique cutlery is silver plate or sterling (they may look identical, but the difference in their value is large), an appraisal is worth it.

Family ties Experts caution that personalized items like family bibles—which may be very old, beautiful and meaningful to you—aren't worth much (unless you have a famous ancestor). The same goes for family trees or journals.

Consider condition and number of pieces

Mold and water damage can decrease an item's value, so a warped wooden table probably doesn't merit an appraisal. Cracks can also be problematic, but it depends on the object. (An 18th-century plate with a big chip, for example, is still worth an appraisal because it can go for several hundred dollars.) Also note: A single chair or candlestick holder won't be worth nearly as much as a set or pair.

Do your own detective work

Now that you've made a list of important details, take note of similar pieces on auction sites such as or in pricing guides like that list current market values for antiques. Scour collector's blogs to see if there's a hobbyist who is willing to chat. If it seems like your item might be worth a lot more than the price of the appraisal, go for it.

How much will you pay for an appraisal?

The cost depends on several factors:

The amount of time it takes. If the expert is familiar with the item, it might take just a few minutes, or weeks if extensive research is required.