Art & Antiques: An expert's tips for buying, part 2

Keep collections intact to retain highest value.

Keep collections intact to retain highest value.

I have devoted many years to the study of art, antiques, and collectibles. Luckily, I have learned a few things about objects along the way.

When it comes to what’s hot in the market, I have been known to say “collect those objects that have always been hot.” I am not an advocate of collecting today’s cool antique or collectible. In fact, I always advise people to avoid trendy objects as they rarely retain their value long term. Trends like pogo sticks, pet rocks, and Cabbage Patch dolls are not the kind of collectibles that will bring big money in the long run.

In fact, trendy objects don’t bring much money at all because they do not relate to history or culture. If an object says something about history or culture, then it will retain its value along with market interest. Actually, the objects that retain their value best and command the highest prices over time are those which have consistently demonstrated the all-important characteristics of high quality and good condition.

The most valuable objects in anyone’s home (this means you) fall into three simple categories: Original fine art, antique or vintage furniture, and precious metals including silver tea sets and jewelry. When it comes to patterns of antiques collecting, these are the three categories that hold their value and rise in interest while commanding high prices from collectors. This bit of advice does not mean that you should go to your china cabinet and trash your collection of Hummel figurines, Royal Doulton china, or Waterford crystal. It just means that when it comes to identifying the most valuable items in the antiques and collectibles arena, fine art, furniture, and precious metals have stood the test of time. These traditional collectible categories increase in value and are always a good investment.

As I speak to audiences around the world, I know that the biggest myth about antiques is the belief that everyone else has something valuable but you do not. Most people do not believe that they have anything of real value and this is how you will make a serious mistake. Underestimating your family heirlooms may cost you your favorite sentimental object and what’s more, it may cost you your inheritance, too.

Quick tips

When it comes to paintings, look for canvases in good condition free of chipped pigment, holes, or areas of flaking. Be sure a canvas is taunt and secured to its stretcher bars.

Frames can be valuable so don’t overlook the frame surrounding your painting.

Don’t be overzealous when cleaning your antiques. Remove surface dust or dirt with a white cotton cloth and avoid commercial cleaners. Do not over polish silver or wooden furniture. Some cleansers may damage the piece.

If you are interested in estate jewelry, ask for an appraisal and document indicating the object’s provenance (history or family background) if available. This information can impact value in the future.

Keep collections intact. If you collect salt and pepper shakers or vintage china, be sure to acquire and keep the complete set.

If you shop smart, you will go home with good quality antiques that will certainly develop into cherished family heirlooms as time goes by. Happy antique hunting!

Ph.D. antiques appraiser, author, and award-winning TV personality, Dr. Lori presents antique appraisal events around the world. Dr. Lori is the expert appraiser on Discovery’s “Auction Kings.” Visit www.DrLoriV.com, www.Facebook.com/DoctorLori or call (888) 431-1010.

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