An online appraisal can help determine whether your antique is worth holding onto, selling, or tossing. It's a great way to to determine how much your collectibles are worth with little time or effort on your part.
Free Valuation Websites
It's a good idea to submit your item to two or three appraisers to see what, if any, differences in price range occur. Always look over any site you choose and make sure that there aren't hidden fees. Be sure that you understand exactly what you are getting before you get the appraisal.
What's It Worth?
LoveToKnow's antiques website, What's It Worth?, allows you to ask a question about your vintage or antique pieces, as well as upload a photo for experts to answer and evaluate. Search previous questions and weigh in if you've seen pieces sell for more or less than the estimated value. Add details or ask follow-up questions based on other people's original queries as well.
Barnebys.com, headquartered in Sweden, has connections to over 630 auction houses around the world. To get a free valuation, register for an account. Follow the link in the email to a page where you can add up to four photos and provide detailed information before submission. While you're waiting for a response from one or more of their professional appraisers, you can search for similar items that sold using their realized prices page.
Country Living magazine has a free online appraisal program as well. You submit your image and information to expert Helaine Fendelman, who uses her 30 years of appraisal experience to give you a detailed appraisal for the magazine and website if you're selected. If you're not selected, you can also search through past appraisals to see if there is an item similar to yours that has already been appraised. Each item on the site has images and a detailed description.
InstAppraisal is a free site where you can submit your item and questions, and they will be answered by the community (other readers) as well as the site's antiques experts. Use caution, however. Not all of those commenting are necessarily appraisal experts, although you may get a good idea of an antique price range for the worth of your item. You can also interact by giving your own opinions on others' antiques.
Appraisal Day is a website where appraiser, Paul Royka, appraises antiques for free. Paul's credentials include working as an appraiser for Antiques Roadshow as well as authoring books about antiques. The site also provides a referral service. Note that Paul does not valuate "sewing machines, signed prints, coins, stamps or sports collectibles", so look elsewhere for your rare coin prices and sports memorabilia appraisals. If an item is worth less than $500, you may not receive a response. Use the online form to submit your item's information and images.
AntiqForum offers free appraisals for Meissen figures and plates. You will need to email them with a description of your Meissen item and attach several good images with your query. Learn about the figurines by searching the website via model number or category while you wait for a response.
Indian Territory by Len Wood specializes in free appraisals of Native American art and artifacts. This is a family-owned and operated gallery. The brick and mortar shop has been located in Laguna Beach, California since 1968. You can bring your items to the gallery if you are local or send in images and descriptions by email or snail mail. The gallery will do three appraisals for free, but after that they charge five dollars per appraisal.
Gannon's Antiques & Art
Gannon's Antiques & Art offers free valuations on furniture, jewelry, gold and silver, estates, and Asian antiques. To contact them, send an email with photos or fill out their online form. Gannon's is a sponsor for Antiques Roadshow. Furniture estimates may require seeing the piece in person, however.
Online Appraisal Cautions
While you can get an idea of what something is worth online, keep a few important things in mind during the process:
- Accuracy - Most experts agree that getting an Internet valuation is not usually very accurate. There is a lot of detail that the appraiser won't be able to see without examining the item personally, and you won't really know that the appraiser is truly an expert in his field.
- Certification - You should also be aware that most insurance companies require a certified appraisers' report before they will insure an antique. If you find that you need a professional, you can check with the International Society of Appraisers for a member near you.
- Value - While an antique may be valued at a particular price, it doesn't necessarily mean you can get that amount when selling. As with any item for sale, the value is only what people are willing to pay for it at that time.
However, if you just want an estimate of an item's value for your own purposes, you will find that online appraisals are very convenient and usually reflect current prices fairly accurately.