How Can You Determine Your Antique’s Worth? [A Comprehensive Guide]

What are your antiques worth?

You’re cleaning out your attic and you find that old writing desk you stuck up there years ago when you updated your decor. Or maybe you have a pair of lamps you picked up from a yard sale that looked funky at the time but is now sitting in your basement. Whatever your antique item might be, you’re probably wondering if it is actually worth anything or if it’s just a novelty that won’t get you much. There are a few elements to consider when deciding an antique’s worth, and a good appraiser will help you. That said, be careful, as some appraisers may give you a lowball price so that you’ll sell to them and then they can get even more for it. Make sure any appraiser you use is reputable. The main characteristics to consider when thinking about an object’s worth are rarity, quality, authenticity, history, and condition.


The less available something is, the higher its worth usually becomes. There are a few reasons an item might be considered rare.

  1. Only a few items were made. Artisans or manufacturers may have only produced a small number of certain items because, long ago, only royalty or nobility would have used them. Additionally, certain famous or highly-regarded books only have a few early editions out there before they became popular.
  2. The item has an unusual feature. Certain artists or manufacturers used specific styles or elements in creating their pieces but sometimes ventured into a different style for a short while. The products with a more unusual feature for that artist are rarer than items that follow the artist’s usual form. For example, a piece made in a different color than usual or using a different material that is perhaps more expensive or difficult to work with.
  3. Many of the original items have become lost or destroyed. Objects made of crystal, glass, porcelain, and other fragile materials may have become damaged or broken over the decades (and even centuries), leaving only a few objects remaining that are in-tact.


Quality has to do with the standard of materials used to manufacture the item. Certain materials and gems are considered to be more precious or of a higher standard than others. For example, gold or platinum jewelry pieces are usually of higher quality than silver jewelry. An antique’s worth increases if it is made of higher quality material.


As you enter the world of valuable items, there are bound to be counterfeit pieces. Some items will have markings on them from the artist or manufacturer that prove their authenticity. There are also experts who are able to tell real signatures from fake ones, or who will know with certainty which time period a piece is from. The more you can prove your item is authentic, the higher you raise its value.


Some items may not be valuable on their own, but the story they carry gives them worth. You may have an item that was once owned by a celebrity or that can be traced back many generations to a historical politician or another influential figure, or even to a specific time period. Additionally, the more you know about an item’s history, the greater ability you have to prove the item is authentic.


The condition of the item in question is important in determining its worth. Something in mint condition means it has no small cracks or damaged areas, the paint or coloring has not dulled or flaked off, and it is generally in perfect condition without any repairs or restorations done to it. Your item may have small damaged areas and may even have been repaired somewhere along the line, making it in either excellent or good condition. Anything below good condition is probably not worth very much.

Experts Can Tell You Your Antique’s Worth

Whether you are looking to sell your antiques or you just want to learn their value, it is always important to consult an expert. At Old & New Shop, our professionals will be able to determine the value of your antique pieces and will take them off your hands the same day if that’s your wish. No matter what you decide to do with your antiques, don’t underestimate the value of what may be sitting in your attic!