What to Look for Before Getting an Appraisal

From insuring your personal property to dealing with equitable distribution, there are many reasons that an appraisal may be in place. But how do you know if you are getting the right items appraised? And could you have any hidden treasures in your home?

Whether you’ve inherited a piece of jewelry from a relative, or stumbled upon a vintage baseball card collection at a garage sale, you may have items in your possession that are worth a certain value that you may not have realized, whether that value is high or low.

Determining the Value of your Jewelry at Home

Before scheduling an appointment with a professional appraiser, there are certain things you can inspect to clue you in on the value of your belongings. When it comes to jewelry, some of the brands to look for include Tiffany & Co., Harry Winston and Bulgari. You should also be on the lookout for markings such as date stamps and monograms, as these add to overall value.

Like jewelry, the value of furniture is partly determined by brands as well, such as Kindle, Baker and Century. It’s important to keep in mind that the styles and trends of jewelry and furniture also impact their value, so doing some initial research on your pieces will be helpful.

How History Plays into Appraisals

The origin of an item is one of the first things considered in determining its value. Have you ever gone to an antique store and wondered why an 80s era ceramic character cookie jar is priced at $100? It’s not because the sellers are greedy – it could be because it is a limited edition collector’s item.

The history of art, jewelry and other personal property tells the items’ stories. Think about why people bid on items in an auction. They want something, or to be a part of something that has rare and braggable quality. If you believe that an item you own fits this criteria, it’s time for an appraisal!

What to do (and what not to do) When You’ve Uncovered Treasure

Finding hidden heirlooms in your parents’ attic is thrilling, and after you’ve dusted it off, it can be tempting to shine it up using the all purpose cleaner under your sink.

Before you do that – don’t!

Metals and other materials can react negatively to the chemicals in certain cleaners. If what you uncover in your mother’s old trunk is truly of value, it is best to leave the cleaning and polishing to the professionals. Cleaning an item is part of the appraisal process as it is, so remember to be gentle and patient.

Misconceptions About Your Hidden Treasure

Not all Beanie Babies are created equal. Owning a bin full of novelty toys is one thing, but what is inside the bin is completely different. Before visiting an appraiser, it’s a good idea to research the production of your Princess Diana bear, among the other Beanie Babies or vintage toys you have stowed away. Just like jewelry, there are many details including color, material and markings that classify an item’s worth.

Bear in mind this hard truth – with Beanie Babies specifically, nostalgia laced items will not make you rich instantly!

Keep an Open Mind

Remember, the sentimental value of your personal items does not equate the actual value. Initial research and inspection on your part can be helpful in establishing your expectations from an appraisal, and essentially, allow for a smoother process for you and your appraiser.

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