When people contact my office asking for my expertise to identify and value their antiques, they often incorrectly dismiss many of their antiques as not being valuable before I even look at them. They claim that they’ve done their research and that dealers or auction house reps have told them that their particular pieces aren’t valuable, so I don’t need to bother looking at those particular antiques. Some call this research. I don’t, but some do. This info is useless. It could be considered ignorant or dare I say lies coming from folks who don’t want to be bothered with certain types of antiques.
Here, I’ll reveal some of the most common lies that I hear. Don’t fall victim and lose money believing these falsehoods. Get an unbiased, trusted appraisal from someone who is not a buyer, seller, or dealer. See the options I offer.
1. Brown furniture is never Valuable
In fact, Brown furniture is valuable, but that’s not the first thing you need to know. The first thing you need to know is what is Brown furniture and why does it now have such a bad reputation. Brown furniture is a term that resellers use to describe early 20th Century furniture in classic styles made of solid hardwoods like mahogany or walnut. When I hear this and other terms like it, I say … blah, blah, blah. Why do I discount this term? Because highly trained experts like me who earned a Ph.D. in the study of antiques don’t use such derogatory labels as “brown furniture” because I know how to correctly identify furniture. View my tips about different types of antique furniture.
If you are trying to get a piece of furniture appraised, a potential buyer might offer this lie saying that brown furniture is not valuable. Why? So they can make you think that your piece of well-made furniture is not worth much money. This allows them to buy it from you at a very low price and flip it (resell it) for their gain. Some auction houses may tell you this lie just because they don’t want to be bothered moving such a heavy piece from your home to their auction house warehouse and then, once sold, to a buyer’s home.
I appraised a piece of “brown furniture” for a client. As part of my online appraisal report, I provide a location where a similar piece was sold and for how much money. The client used my report and approached the auction house which I included in my appraisal asking them if they wanted to sell their piece for the stated amount. The auction house told my client that they do not sell brown furniture for such “high” values. That “high” value was the actual sales record that this auction house received and was posted as an auction result on their website for a similar piece of brown furniture. Do you think they wanted to get another piece at a low value and sell it at the higher price, cutting out my client? Remember, whatever you call it, brown furniture is valuable. Get the real story here.
2. Hummels Have Lost all their Value
Not true! People make this assumption all the time about the small earthenware ceramic hand painted figurines made in Germany in the early to mid 20th Century and beyond. Same with Lladros, and other collectibles. I’ll have folks who operate stands at flea markets or run estate sales tell me that they can’t sell these pieces. Sure, that doesn’t surprise me. It isn’t that easy to sell Hummel figurines, Lladros and other specialty collectibles in those environments, but that doesn’t mean that they are not valuable. Watch me show you how to identify valuable Hummels. That means you are selling them in the wrong sales environment. It is these failing resellers that then tell people like you that Hummel figurines are worthless. It is easier for them to say “forget about those collectibles” then to point you in the right direction of where and how to sell them.
I have seen many of you practically give these collectibles away instead of working to sell them for top dollar. Resellers love this excuse since it allows them to get valuable inventory at cheap prices. Flea markets and estate sales are not the best markets to sell some items, actually most items don’t sell well at these places because these are known to be bargain basement sales outlets like yard sales. Get the real story about estate sales. The goal is to sell it all at any price, not to command the best price.
Typically, people who have Hummels have many of them; that is a collection of them. Go ahead, add’em up! That’s right, count up the number of Hummel figurines you have and it adds up to a lot of money for these quality items, in good condition. Have you seen the prices of a new Hummel figurine at some high-end collectibles shops? Why would older ones lose their value? You must ignore this silly lie.
3. Younger Generation Doesn’t Like Antiques
Oh, please, this is just ridiculous. How do I know this is a scam? By the number of young people at my events. By the number of young professionals following my blog, my YouTube channel, my social media channels, and stage shows held nationwide. By the number of young people who want to collect antiques or decorate their homes with quality furnishings, accessories, collectibles. This one is the biggest lies out there. Ignore this one. Read my blog about Selling Antiques to Millennials where I provide real life examples which dispel this myth.
Dealers like to use this lie to get you thinking your stuff is not valuable so they can get good bargains from you. Everyone thinks their kids don’t want their old stuff, but in fact your kids and your grandkids both want your old stuff.
I met a Grandmother who was in big trouble with her 20 something granddaughter because she gave away a set of dishes that her granddaughter always wanted without asking her first if she wanted them. Watch me show you how to find valuable antique dishes. Remember, when you were young? Maybe you didn’t think about getting your parents stuff, but as you got older you wanted furniture or collectibles from Mom or Grandma since it reminded you of them or of your childhood.
Younger generations are buying, selling, and flipping antiques online every day using apps on their smartphones. They are also decorating with vintage pieces and happily collecting items that are made with better materials than today’s furniture.
People who spread this lie sometimes aren’t internet savvy or just want you to sell your stuff to them and not feel guilty that you are not saving it for your grandkids. What grandmother would sell a piece of antique furniture that has been in the family if she knew her grandchild wanted it? None that I know. That’s for sure.
As always, get an unbiased appraisal first. I help people all the time by reviewing photos of their art and antiques and I schedule easy video chats and make house calls for in-home appraisals so you can find out what it’s really worth.