HERE ARE WAYS TO DETERMINE IF WHAT YOU HAVE IS VALUABLE
Over the past year, most of us have had more than enough time to do some serious house-cleaning. So you might be wondering if those baseball cards in the attic or pieces of jewelry handed down by granny are valuable.
First, you must know the difference between a valuation or auction estimate and a formal appraisal. A valuation will give you a rough idea what your fine art or collectible is worth if sold to another individual.
Appraisals are legal documents typically ordered by executors or financial advisors for reasons such as bankruptcy, divorce, estate and financial planning, gift taxes, insurance claims, non-cash charitable donation and trusts/conservatorships.
For valuations, your book store will typically stock price guides for all kinds of collectibles. A quick internet search shows price guides for model trains, coins, comic books, record albums, Hot Wheels, baseball cards, vintage guitars, Star Wars collectibles, and even antique marbles.
Don’t forget auction records. As the largest auctioneer of collectibles and fine art, Heritage Auctions’ archives of prices realized is an excellent research tool. Free membership is required to access the firm’s database, but once you sign up, you’ll be able to search hundreds of thousands of sales across 40+ categories.
Heritage also offers expert value guides for most of its collectibles categories, including coins, comics, jewelry, sports and wine. Most categories offer free auction appraisals if you upload a photo and provide a brief description of your item. If it’s a good candidate for a future auction, you’ll be sent an auction estimate – or what your piece might sell for when it goes to auction.
Heritage also offers formal appraisals. Using its team of experienced specialists in more than 40 art and collectible fields, Heritage can help you determine the proper form of appraisal to get a Fair Market Value or Replacement Cost appraisal. Be sure to ask how much a formal appraisal costs before you set the process in motion.
In addition, accredited appraisers can be found via the three major appraiser associations: Appraisers Association of America, International Society of Appraisers and the American Society of Appraisers.
This story appears in the July 2021 edition of The Intelligent Collector magazine.