Going antiquing is kind of like going on a treasure hunt. The only problem is distinguishing the actual treasure from cleverly disguised junk. We consulted veteran appraisers and for the insider tips on finding the proverbial diamond in the rough.
"All of the holidays have gotten more popular in collecting," says , co-author of the . "And the most popular one obviously is Christmas." Vintage cards in good condition can fetch about $10 to $50 apiece, she says, but particularly valuable ones can shoot up into the three- or even four-figure range. Some cards will have the year printed on the front or the back, but classic Victorian motifs like flowers, robins, and other animals can also help date the card.
are easier to source in stores than online due to their fragile nature, advises antiques expert. "Look for the leading," she says. "You want to see a sharp, clean line."
don't have to be real for the piece to be valuable. Baubles by well-known makers like , , , and can fetch big bucks, like $500 for a pair of earrings.
You might already own a , but the market is trending toward more retro offerings as well. Try searching out brightly-colored the next time you're out shopping.
People often overlook , but the shape, pattern, and the type of weaving itself can tell you a lot about a basket's function and provenance. Depending on its age and condition, a single container can .
For the young at heart, are the way to go. The are especially covetable. "They can sell for $45 and you flip them online for somewhere between $250 to $350," Verderame says.
Paris, Chicago, New York, Seattle, Philadelphia — no matter where it was held, in general command a lot of interest. The souvenirs can include everything from snow globes to pocket watches.
"You've got be careful with ceramics because the markets do change a lot," Verderame warns. "What keeps its value pretty well is ." The Japanese white porcelain offers such craftsmanship, you can hold it up to the light and see exactly how thin it is.
Another valuable type of ceramic? , from the German town of the same name. Don't pay big bucks just because it's authentic though. "With any antique or collectible, if it's not in good shape, leave it there," Verderame advises.
In case you've missed it, mid-century furniture is having a moment, but traditionalists don't have to give up on collecting classics. Verderame recommends looking for pieces done in the style of 19th-century furniture maker Duncan Phyfe since they go for reasonable prices while still maintaining value.
The famous Pueblo artist produced so much of her iconic blackware, you can now find it all over the country, Verderame says. Take note: Martinez often signed her pieces different ways and with other members of her family, dating her creations to specific timeframes.