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Spring Cleaning? Watch for Valuables you Shouldn’t Toss Out!

Morris Chair Arts & Crafts

At first glance, this chair looks like it’s fit for the landfill, but the quality fumed oak old growth wood and Arts & Crafts design of this Morris Chair led to a hammer price of $1,500 at a Skinner 20th Century Design auction.

Favrile Glass Lamp

If you find a lamp like this in your attic, don’t worry about the frayed cord and chips in the glass – get it appraised! This Favrile Glass Lamp will be sold in Skinner’s 20th Century Design auction on June 15, 2011, estimated between $6,000 and $8,000

It’s almost April, and I’m sure I’m not the only one getting ready to do some spring cleaning. Now is the time to organize and cut down on possessions, but be careful not to throw out everything that doesn’t have a place in your life anymore. Someone else may well want that antique lamp in your attic: bringing you extra cash and helping to save the planet from the creation of one more brand new item.

Quality materials such as old growth wood, silver, copper, gold, aluminum, or bronze have cash value on their own, and added value as part of an object.  Even a chair with tattered upholstery, like the Morris chair pictured, may be worth a fair amount if it has been made from quality old growth wood such as oak or mahogany.

Great design matters, too. The antique lamp pictured here has a frayed cord and chipped glass, but it’s a bronze and art glass lamp with graceful lines and lovely colors that any collector of art glass would love to have in his or her home.

So before you sell your Jensen silver for silver weight or burn that Nakashima table that looks like it was made from a slab of unknown wood (it pains me just to think of this happening!), do some research. Check the object for maker’s marks, measure it, and take a photo, then send us the picture to consider for auction consignment.

7 Steps to Spring Cleaning: Antiques Guide

1. Take a look around your home, attic, and garage and create a list of what you have.

2. Mark down which objects you need, then which ones you want to keep.

3. Get some labels (make sure they won’t pull off the finish!) and stick them to the leftover pieces.

4. Check over these objects for maker’s marks and other signs that the piece may have value, such as the use of quality materials.

5. Gather together any purchase information you can on these unwanted items. Useful information includes: the designer, date, materials, place of purchase and value at that time.

6. Divide the items into potential auction consignments and items to recycle (or upcycle) in other ways.

7. Contact an appraisal service and arrange to have your items with value as antiques and collectibles evaluated for potential placement in auction.

2 thoughts on “Spring Cleaning? Watch for Valuables you Shouldn’t Toss Out!

    • We’d be happy to take a look at your antiques. If you have questions about the consignment or appraisal processes, or would like to set up an appointment to meet with a specialist, please call our Appraisal and Auction Services Department at 508-970-3299.

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