• Value goes down if an antique is damaged in any way. Protect your heirlooms. Buy objects in good condition.
• Don’t store your antiques or collectibles in cardboard boxes, as they are acidic and will retain moisture and attract insects.
• Storing textiles in wood can leave stains and odors on the textiles.
• Don’t keep antiques in an attic or basement.
• Old toys can attract many collectors and command cold hard cash. Don’t repaint lithograph tin or paint over printed images on old toys. Don’t repaint cast iron toys, as it decreases value significantly.
• Learn the marks that show quality. For example, if you are assessing a piece of silver, you should know if you have sterling or silver plate. Plated silver will be marked with such information as quadruple or triple plate. Sterling silver will be marked “925” or with the word “sterling”.
• Check underneath the feet or base of a piece of wooden furniture for water marks, dampness, vermin teeth marks (that means a mouse has been eating it), or other signs of damage.
• Know the history of the piece including who owned it before you and where it was once located, if possible.
• The art and antiques market fluctuates, also known as, goes up and down. What’s hot today might not be hot tomorrow. Keep up with the trends and you can predict the next valuable collectible.
• Be sure to sell your art or antiques at the right time. For example, Super Bowl memorabilia will be hot from late January through early February. Paintings of snowscapes will bring more interest during January in snowy climates rather than in the summer.
• For jewelry, it is a tell-tale sign that you have a good piece of jewelry if the clasp is a marked precious metal along with the rest of the piece. Look for a mark on the clasp and the rest of the piece.
• For paintings, look at the back and sides and assess the frame and the stretcher bars. Make sure the canvas is intact with no holes, tears or scrapes.
• For ceramics, look for bright white clay, original terracotta, and hand molding or hand painting — all signs of quality.
Dr. Lori is a nationally known certified antiques appraiser and museum curator with a Doctorate in art history. She appears on “Auction Kings,” which airs on the Discovery channel. She can be reached at www.DrLoriV.com or by calling (888) 431-1010.