Many of us have collectibles passed down through the family and we’re not sure whether they only have sentimental value or whether they’re valuable. Here is how to find out more before you take it to a pawn shop and settle for less than its true value.
Assess the item
Take a close look at the item and see if you can find a manufacturer’s mark. It may be difficult to assess the value of an item like a set of cutlery unless you find a mark. Your prized family silver may just be silver-plated instead of solid silver and finding the maker’s mark can help you to establish the truth.
Take note of the item’s condition and whether it has any chips or repairs that can take away from its value. Documenting damage can help dealers when they’re valuing your item. For example, records in almost mint condition will go for double the number of ones with obvious signs of wear and tear.
Take good photographs of the item for posting on online forums etc. Make sure the maker’s mark or brand name is visible in the photo.
Research the item
Visit online selling venues, such as eBay. Search using your item description and see if you can find any items like it in the completed auction area. Remember that past sale prices do not necessarily mean this is what you will get but at least you will get some idea of worth. Other online venues you can search on are Craigslist, Etsy or Ruby Lane.
If you find that you would net very little after taking of a site’s selling fee, your best bet is probably to sell it on a local site.
Collector’s clubs are a great resource and many times members will answer your questions for free or do an appraisal for you at a small fee. Take coins or other items to local dealers to find out more.
Online clubs and forums can be useful. You will need to post a picture of the item and give as many details as possible for people to answer your questions.
You may be able to find collector guides in your local library or in a bookstore. If you have a whole collection of one type of item, such as military memorabilia, it may be worth your while purchasing a book dedicated to this.
Calculate gold value with an online tool
Use an online tool to calculate gold value. It is required that you know the metal and its associated weight and purity. If you don’t have an accurate scale or don’t know the weight, you can easily purchase a $5 scale to weigh items.
Knowing the weight of gold is a great advantage as it means you won’t sell for less than its value to pawn shops. The value of gold coins, jewelry, etc. is based on the current gold price and the calculator imports these prices constantly from different stock exchanges.
Tips to remember
When selling an item, you need to remember that price will depend on the buyer. Online buyers are usually looking for good deals and won’t want to pay book price, especially if many of the same types of items are available.
Dealers usually pay about a third of book value and collectors may come closer to book value if the item is hard to find and if you’re selling locally and shipping costs aren’t included. It’s all about supply and demand. A glut of glassware on the market means that your glassware may not command the price you expect.