The antiques business is a trendy one driven by social media, design trends, television shows, and nostalgia. Victorian furniture, fine china, and antique textiles (the mainstays of antiques shops ten years ago) have fallen out of favor and been replaced by mid-century modern furniture, vintage clothing, and industrial pieces. As a result, the values of many traditional antiques have plummeted. A blue decorated stoneware crock worth $500 10 years ago is worth half of that today. So with a marketplace that’s constantly changing, how can you determine the current value of your old stuff?
It’s simple–internet sales.
ebay is a great source for current market values of antiques and collectables. But since anyone can list anything for any price, it’s critical to search “sold” items. (In this business, the only price that matters is the price a person is willing to pay.) When you’re on ebay you’ll find the filter for “sold” items on the left hand side of the screen (lower left corner of this photo). Search with keywords that describe your item, select the “sold” filter, and you’ll see actual price similar items have sold for (these prices will be in green). These figures will give you a reasonable assessment of current market value–then you can decide whether or not you want to sell and what a fair price would be (depending on whether you are selling to a dealer or a retail customer).