TV's Antiques Roadshow valuations are now officially 'sexy', so says Lady Ga Ga. But where can you get an online version of this love-drug experience?
First of all, forget the actual Antiques Roadshow website as an online resource. It is geared towards promoting the TV show.
It has a searchable database which takes you to the snippets of the show which have featured your search keyword. My personal area of interest is Rosenthal. There is one item listed. Hmmmm. Moving on.....
In order to put together the valuations I organise for visitors to this site, I liaise with a variety of different experts. Not just china and porcelain, but there are furniture experts, jewelry, silver and every other tyoe of antique and collectible.
Remember, there is a small admin fee to pay with each valuation. As a rule of thumb, if you have an item or set which you feel might be worth over $200 USD, or you are just really curious about a piece, even if you feel there is no grand value involved, it is probably worth investing in an online appraisal - but finding and choosing the right service is a tricky one. Hopefully, this page is here to help.
BUT... don't confuse these Roadshow type valuations with my free public forum where we all help identify each others items for free. We never discuss values on the public forums though, as this is a touchy subject and always needs trained and professional valuers to do the job.
To seek out the best online valuers, I searched around, tested and re-tested and came to my conclusions. The bottom line is, I now run my own service where I use the people who came out best in my tests. So you can go to any of the companies mentioned below direct and test them for yourself, but remember, if you use my own in-house service you have peace of mind with a full money back guarantee, and rest assured, I know the right people.
Anyway, be that as it may, below, I will share my results with you on this review of how to go online and get the nearest thing to TV's Antiques Roadshow valuations - for the best value for money.
One of the best online appraisers that I tested was Valuemystuff.com. Based in England, the publisher is Patrick Van der Vorst, as very nice man and ex-head of Department at Sothebies, London. This page is not an advert for them, it is a 'review' which means I tell it like it is.
All the various expert services have their own strengths and weaknesses, but I find Valuemystuff to be one of the fastest, cheapest and most efficient.
....But it depends what you want.
Although Valuemystuff gives all the essential information, their reports are not as detailed as some, and they are not overly bothered about identifying an obscure pottery mark. As long as they know the genre, they know the auction price estimate. Some reports are better than others, but overall a good service, honest and reliable and not overly expensive.
Their service costs less than other vendors who do give more details, but then you would expext that.
Worthpoint.com - a very good site with an interesting weekly newsletter that I subscribe to, and is around the $20 price per antiques roadshow valuations (possibly more now - if the prices have been reviewed since this article was written) and you also have to pay for monthly membership, which is fine if you are a dealer or avid collector or keen seller.
Mark4Ceramics.com (Marks4Antiques.com) have a closed membership site which you pay to join (around the $30 USD per month mark) but you have to do all the research yourself. No reports here. They do have an incredible database of knowledge though. They banned me because I joined their site, then researched and published information I found there on my site (for free on my public pottery mark forums). I was given my marching orders summarily!
Mark4Antiques.com are very useful for dealers and people with lots of research to do, and not so much for the ordinary public.
Another provider is Justanswer.com. They have taken the format of presenting the marketing 'hook' that there are experts awaiting your query live online. They say if you get no answer, you pay nothing. You have to first define how much urgency your query should be dealt with. There was a slider you had to adjust to define the urgency of your query - and this slider told you the money you would have to pay for an answer.
I tried an experiment, and the following is what happened. It may or may not be typical, I have not used the service enough to known - so this is a snapshot of a first time user, exactly as it happened. The prices went like this if you didn't want to wait, you paid in the region of $70 USD per query (£43 GBP).
If medium urgent, you were asked to pay around the $45 USD and if not so urgent you pay around $25 USD. So it costs to jump the queue! They don't actually define the waiting time for any of the options, so I had no clue whether I would be waiting a week or an hour. For me, a slightly confusing version of antiques roadshow valuations.
I didn't actually get around to testing the quality of their actual reports yet, as this first stage entirely put me off the process - but that may be just me. For my money, even the cheapest option was a bit steep.
I will save up and continue my research on this vendor when I'm a bit richer. If you have any feedback to report, please let me know.
There are a zillion other contenders, but these are the ones who have come to my attention up to now. If you have any experiences good or bad, please do relate them to me so I can add them here (email me at peter
On balance, apart from my own service, which I feel holds its own against the competition, Valuemystuff is right for those of us who just need confirmation of what we've got and how much it's worth. Not as detailed as the actual antiques roadshow valuations you might see on TV, but generally great information.
If you use my service and have any problems with any part of my antiques roadshow valuations process, I am here to help.
If you go direct to any of the online valuation services, I won't be there as back up.
I am completely independent as a website publisher. I have over a million unique visitors per year.
More information about my own in-house service.... more