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A collector’s guide to some of the best memorabilia


If you’re into collecting antique memorabilia as a passionate hobbyist or deal in collectables as a professional, awareness about the worth of items in your collection helps a great deal. That said, it is significant to keep in mind one very crucial fact, and that is the value of any particular piece or all items worth collecting, say antique guns, differs from one collector or valuer to another. In other words, the monetary value or worth of an antique piece is subjective instead of being standardized or fixed across-the-board.

Time-honoured auction houses like Sotheby’s, Christie’s, and Bonham’s usually ascertain a base price to items that are put under the hammer on any given day. The actual price at which the pieces are auctioned off eventually are normally not at a great variance from the marked price. However, it’s altogether different ballgame when it comes to getting a vintage piece priced by an appraiser or collector.

So, if you’re visiting a professional collector who specializes in antique war memorabilia for determining the best price of an item, you’ll have to bank on his or her opinion. Anyway, what are some of the practical ways of checking out the valuation of your antique collections, the volatility and precariousness in the markets notwithstanding?    

One good way is to browse on the net-Google will immediately display a multitude of URLs that’ll immediately connect with price guide websites. Alternatively, you can carry out a search in popular online marketplaces including Amazon, eBay, Etsy, Walmart, Sears, and Alibaba to name a few. You can also explore auction houses, magazine portals, antique dealers and malls, and several other online resources.

The aforementioned resources have the setup and the infrastructure to appraise any or all items that are generally regarded as antique or collectible. And the number of items that can be grouped under the category of antique memorabilia is nearly infinite, including but not limited to vintage jewelry, old coins, marbles, antique tools, classic cookie jars, and antique guns.      

Antique pieces that can be regarded as collector’s items

As mentioned above, the list of antique pieces and components that can be deemed valuable and hence worth collecting from the perspective of a collector is almost endless. I’ve listed about 40-50 items which will merit the attention of an appraiser and can be considered collectibles. However, the listing is by no means exhaustive as there are countless other relics and objet d'art which are deemed antiques by valuers.

1.     Jewelry (necklace, earring, anklet, bracelet, rings et al)

2.     Jewelry box

3.     Victorian era/Elizabethan era/Renaissance era furniture and fixtures

4.     Wooden and tin toys

5.     Vintage tools (corn crushers, nails, copper wrenches, microscope, farm tools, and so on)

6.     Antique tools

7.     Antique guns(flintlock pistols, derringers, pepperboxes, US Martial handguns, percussion revolvers, percussion pistols, antique holsters, knife-styled pistols, Smith and Wesson, cartridge pistols & revolvers)

8.     Collectible porcelain and ceramic teapots

9.     Classic Cookie jars

10.                         Vintage vinyl discs and records (Elvis Presley, Beatles, Pink Floyd, and many more)

11.                         Elvis Presley memorabilia (hairs, LP covers, prescription pill bottles, comb, clothes, and all items owned and used by the legendary crooner)

12.                         Sad irons

13.                         Miniature and small machine flutters

14.                          Miniature oval cap press or iron

15.                         Slickenstone with clear glass handle

16.                         Smoking pipes

17.                         Stamps

18.                         Coins (the older they are, the rarer they’re)

Valuing collectibles and antiques

Bear one thing in mind when you visit a collector for the sake of valuing some vintage items which you believe is antique memorabilia. The collector might have been in business for longer than you can imagine and has devoted years to master the nitty gritty of the business. They earn their livelihood by purchasingantique war memorabilia at low prices and selling at a premium.

So, if you think that you can get away by underestimating or underrating them by quoting an unreasonable price, you’re only fooling yourself. Though the antiquity aspect is of paramount importance, it does not necessarily imply that your piece is valuable simply because it is very old or aged. The worth of a piece of heirloom jewelry or trinket inter alia depends upon its age (date of manufacturing), condition, and materials used for shaping it, to name a few important factors.

Depending on what you’ve as well as the length you’re willing to go for getting the items valuated, the task can be dreary and protracted or could be enjoyable. For a start you should have a basic idea about the piece you’re interested to price and ultimately sell. For instance, if you want to know the price of the 200-year old grandfather clock gracing one of the walls in your living room, you’ll be in a better position to bargain if you’ve the info about it materials, manufacturer, design and, so on.

You can look for data about the timepiece in libraries and archives where they normally have a separate department for collectibles/antiques.

If you can find images in reference books and manuals that appear similar to the alarm clock, you’ll have it easier in working out an approximate value for the same.

You can check antique stores and dealers in your locality. Surely, some of the outlets will stock vintage timepieces that are comparable to yours. Compare and contrast the condition or state of your piece with the ones that the dealer has put up for sale.

You can log on to online marketplaces like Craiglist, amazon.com and eBay in order to know the prices different buyers are interested to pay for the article. You can look up the prices of the items that have been sold of recent on eBay and Craiglist. However, just be in the know that since these online auction platforms are fiercely competitive, so you cannot expect your piece to be valued fairly.

So, if you’re looking to drive a good bargain, then you’ll need to look beyond these sites. Browsing on Google for establishing the price of the antique piece and checking out reliable online resources are two other options you can exercise.

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