Quick tricks to tell if that antique is priceless – or worthless.

One of our favorite parts of auctions are seeing the treasure hunters. This particular set of auction attendants look for rare collectibles or valuable pieces they hope to get for a steal. But how do you know if the piece you’re eyeing is a gold mine, or garbage? These quick tricks will teach you how to be a pro at estimating the true value of an item at your next auction, and how you can find your own treasure.

1. Look For Authenticity
A potential antique gem stands out like a diamond in the rough, doesn’t it? There’s something about the look, the rare color or shape of an item, or a piece that you know was part of a limited edition. Look for tags, initials, verifiable signatures or other “qualifiers” that would determine that the item is authentic. When in doubt, check with an appraiser.

2. Pay Attention to Condition
The next important (if not equally important) element to look for is the condition of the item that might be your next treasure. The differences between “mint,” “excellent” and “nearly new” conditions are hundreds, if not thousands, of dollars. Make sure that the condition of the item doesn’t make depreciate its value. The difference between two nearly identical first editions of Peter Pan in Kensington Gardens is a whopping $28,000. It might also be wise to handle items delicately.

3. Use Your Smartphone
Looking at an item, but don’t have the foggiest how much it could get you at auction? Whip out your smartphone and consult Ebay to see what similar items in shape, size and condition are going for. Ultimately, the value of an item is what someone is willing to pay for it. You never know… you might find the right buyer for your item and make a significant profit.

4. Visit Auctions Often
The easiest trick for developing the “eye” for auction treasures is to actually attend auctions – frequently. Take a friend along, and write down your own estimates of what particular items will go for. Compare notes at the end of the auction with actual selling price. With each trip you can narrow down your margin of error! 

As with all items of value, an appraiser will be able to provide the best estimate of an item’s worth. Krueckeberg Auction & Realty has some of the best appraisers in the Fort Wayne/Northern Indiana and Ohio regions. Give us a call to get the true value of your treasures!

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