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Articles : A Fences Guide to Appraising

A Fences Guide to Appraising

Appraising unique items usually takes a great deal of experience and knowledge. Many appraiser's specialize in a particular area (jewelry, furniture, art and sculpture, etc.). This article explains what every appraiser looks for when evaluating an item's worth.

Your inspection steps should be systematic and based on the following criteria.

  1. Artistry:

    Antique beauty is assessed differently for different categories. While fine furnishing, art, and decorative arts are scored according to their pleasing form, materials, proportions and color; folk art, primitives, advertising and country furniture are often valued their naivety and whimsical themes.

  2. Workmanship:

    Clues here can be a guide to integrity as well as quality. Circular saw marks are an indication of post 1840 age, as the rotary saw was not widely employed until then. A gifted artist signs his or her product by the excellent of their craftsmanship and fluidity in their handiwork. Fakers and imitators normally "just miss" when they take there turn at mimicking inspired design.

  3. Age:

    While the degree of age is not necessarily an important component toward determining the value of an item, determining whether it is "full-period" or not is. An object fashioned at a time later than when its design was first inspired is considered "out-of-period," and will normally be valued only according to its decorative or functional merit.

  4. Condition:

    Pristine untouched antiques command top dollars. The more refinishing, resurfacing and restoration a piece endures over the years more difficult it is to prove its age and "rightness" That is, whether or not it is an authentic item.

  5. Subject Matter:

    This is a category I didn't even mention five years ago. Now, with the advancement of the Internet and target marketing, I consider it amongst the most important criteria in gauging antiques. Next week, we'll discuss why subject matter matters and how you can prosper by making use of this principle.


Finally, it's great to know some history about the item. Honest appraisers may ask questions relating to an item's history (i.e. "Where did this necklace come from?"). However, not all appraiser's care or want to know about an object's origins ... and not all sellers are so open with that information.