About Antique Appraisals and Appraisers

How do antique appraisals fit into the BIG PICTURE of how to sell your collectible fine china for the best price possible?

You may be a collector, just starting out or very experienced. You may want to sell one or two items to make room, de-clutter or cash in on an inspired buy.

You may have inherited a collection from a relative and you have no idea how to go about getting top dollar prices for the items.

So everyone wants you to part with money just to give you some simple advice, right?


Experts want money. Period. That's the way the world works.

The questions are:

  1. How long it is going to take?
  2. How much is it going to cost?
  3. Who is appraising the appraisers?

That's where I come in.  We'll look at the appraisal market in this article.  There's some stuff you need to know.

Some auctioneers will very helpfully offer free online valuations.

However, expect somewhat more than a 2 - 3 turnaround to even get a reply.  Think 6 - 8 weeks.

Expect also to receive a dear John letter politely informing you to get lost if your item is not the sort of item that fits their consignment profile.  They have that privilege.

'How to Sell Your Collectible China' Antique appraisals and antique appraisers can be quite a formidable arena to get to grips with. We watch TV and think - I'd love to have a chat with an expert like that.

Continue reading below ↓

Both online and offline there is a baffling array of would be appraisers trying to get your money off you. But how do you know if they are legitimate and worth their salt?

antique values

Read my review article here . . . "What is the best online solution to getting your own version of TV's Antiques Roadshow valuations?"

Antique auctions are the breeding ground which spawned most of the TV experts and the online valuers too for that matter. They know a Meissen from a Muppet any day of the week. But with all this comes with a sense of elitism which I don't like, frankly

So someone needs to stand up and be counted (me), to tame these egocentric egg-heads (aka antique appraisers) and render them accessible to us - the ordinary people with antiques collectibles to sort out.

Is there such a thing as a free valuation?

antique values

The answer to this is the same as the 'lunch' question.

I have systematically tried the various websites claiming to give free appraisals.  To be frank, I have yet to find one that delivers on that promise.

Here's what happens . . . 

Either the website upload interface doesn't work properly, or it turns out the free stuff is for estates of $30,000 minimum, or they don't reply, or they take several weeks to acknowledge the email.

If I find a free appraisal that works I'll let you know. If you find one, please contact me urgently.

Here's a place to start (one I haven't tried yet).

www.bonhams.com "free" antique appraisals

So, as consumers, we are prepared to pay, but we want china antique appraisals to be accurate, efficient, respectful of our heirlooms (items that might be steeped in sentimental value) and and we want their online reports to be not too expensive either.

We might want to sell antiques, we might just want to know what they are and how much they're worth, but either way, we want to be in the driving seat and make things happen..... preferably FAST!

What to do next . . .

The pottery mark forum on this site is FREE. It is a giant mutual melting pot (over 2000 pages of easily searchable marks) where visitors place thier queries in the hope someone (including me and my helpers) will know about their stuff and help identify it.

antique values

However, the mark identification forum doesn't deal very comfortably with values of stuff. It just isn't the right place.

Identification is only one part of the process of vintage and antique appraisals. The other one which rears its ugly head (which we all want to know, even if we say we don't) is value...

Values and other tips about researching are dealt with on the value of antiques and china collectibles page and how eBay helps in finding out your china values.

However, once you have familiarised yourself with all of the above, you may then look at your item or collection and say the words:-

"Yes, I want to sell my heirloom (but somehow I think it deserves better than an eBay listing)"

What do you do if this is your situation? We are going into the realms of proper auction room selling. Real life, not cyber-selling. Exciting stuff. But which collectible and antique auctions salerooms should we use? What are the "must knows" and "don't do's" in this world? In this section are a series of articles on how to sell your items in real-world auction salerooms.

Continue to the articles below ↓

Begin with this article, which is the first of the series of 4 :-

Return from Antique Appraisals to the Antique China Values hub page, or return to the Figurines Sculpture homepage