SuPeRnOvA and SwEeTpAiN: How to Appraise Your Collectables | SuPeRnOvA and SwEeTpAiN
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How to Appraise Your Collectables

We have all heard the stories of the person who goes to a yard sale, buys a five pound painting to display in their child’s bedroom, only to find out later that the painting is a Picasso masterpiece worth tens of millions of pounds. Such stories are rare, but they do highlight just how valuable collectibles have become over the years. From fine art to jewellery to toys, there are many ways to build up a collection that will appreciate in value over time. But for many collectors, actually assessing the value of their items remains a problem. Knowing where to start can be the hardest challenge, and where to go once you have actually assessed the value of your collection can be just as challenging. We will look at some of the ways you can have your collectibles appraised accurately, and what you should do once you know the value of your items.

Where to Begin

The internet should be your first stop in getting a rough estimate of what your collectibles are worth. Check out auction sites, including eBay, to see what similar objects as yours have sold for. Look only at the actual selling price, however, and not the asking price, as many people may over- or underestimate what their collection is worth. Also, look for any distinguishing marks on your particular collectible that may make it unique, as this could increase its value. Antique shops and flea markets are also a good place to begin, but be sure you only ask for an appraisal. If you let other collectors know you are looking to sell then they will almost certainly give you a lower figure than what you deserve. However, if you go to a shop that specialises in a particular item, you may be able to get a more accurate appraisal. For example, an EddieStobart shop would be a great place to go if you had an Eddie Stobart truck collectible that you wanted appraised.

Getting an Expert Opinion

You should not take the internet as the final word on your collection’s worth. If you believe you have something of real value, it is imperative that you get it professionally appraised. Many auction houses will offer free appraisals with the hope that they can get a future commission if you choose to sell your collection. Furthermore, there are numerous appraisal societies that will evaluate the value of your collection, sometimes for a fee.


Once you know the value of your collection, you will need to get specialised insurance for it. Most contents insurance will only cover an objects depreciated value, and since your collectables will be appreciating in value, standard contents insurance is not going to be adequate. You will need to check with your insurance provider to make sure your items are covered for their actual retail value (that is, how much they would sell for considering their appreciated value). For many insurance policies, you may even need to insure each item individually.

Collectibles are a great way to invest over a long period of time. Assessing the value of your collection, however, can be a problem. By following the advice given above, you will be assured that your collection is appraised accurately and fairly.

John McKenzie is an avid toy collector. His articles mainly appear on lifestyle blogs.

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