NORMAN — Dear Savvy Senior, What resources can you recommend for finding the value of old items? I inherited a large number of old antiques and unique art from my great-aunt, and I would like to find out what some of these items are worth.
— Seeking Answers
There are actually a number of resources and online tools available today that can help you find out the value of almost any item. Here are some tips to help you proceed.
Get an appraisal: While many people use local antique shops or collectable dealers to find out the value of old and/or unique items, it’s usually best to use a certified appraiser who’s accredited and meets professional and ethical standards.
Certified appraisers are more likely to give you a fair judgment because there’s no conflict of interest. It’s actually a violation of professional ethics for an appraiser to offer to buy an item he or she has appraised.
A professional appraiser will provide you a written report that includes a full description of your item and the procedure used to estimate its current value. For their service, you can expect to pay either a flat fee or an hourly rate from $200 to $400 depending on their expertise and location. Avoid an appraiser who asks for a fee based on a percentage of the item’s value.
If an appraiser thinks an object isn’t worth a written appraisal, he or she might recommend other resources to arrive at a value.
To locate an appraiser either by location or specialty, search online at one of the three professional appraising organizations: The American Society of Appraisers (appraisers.org, 800-272-8258) which has around 5,000 members worldwide; Appraisers Association of America (appraisersassoc.org) that has around 700 members; and the International Society of Appraisers (isa-appraisers.org) that has about 900 members.