Antiquing lessons from a catch phrase
Many years ago, I learned that in order to make information stick in the minds of my university students, you had to give them an easy way to remember that information. My catch phrases that I used in lecture halls on world class university campuses became my trademark just as they are now.
I still employ these catch phrases that I invented years ago on TV and at my worldwide appraisal tour events. I come up with new ones on the spot during my 150-plus antiques appraisal live stage shows held every year, worldwide. If you have been to one of my events, you have heard my loyal crowds recount these catch phrases aloud during my shows.
Here, I will share some of my greatest hits:
“Ugly is your first clue to value.”
Sometimes the ugliest thing in Grandma’s house is worth the most money. Don’t overlook an antique just because it’s not your style. Think of Picasso’s paintings – not particularly pretty, but very pricey.
“Just because it’s old doesn’t mean it’s valuable.”
Age is not an automatic value indicator. I have old junk in my house, my grandmother had old junk in her house. Sometimes it is just older junk.
“Antiques like to live where you like to live.”
Display or store your antiques in the main areas of your home-living room, den, bedroom. You wouldn’t want to live in your musty basement or in your hot attic. Your antiques don’t want to live there either.
“Condition is to antiques what location is to real estate.”
In the antiques game, objects have to be in good shape to be of value.
“If your antiques expert isn’t wearing gloves to protect an antique object, then they are not an expert.”
The gloves are mandatory if you have any respect for vintage or antique objects. If you are evaluating objects, condition is key and the gloves protect an antique from deterioration caused by the oils on human hands. In museums, gloves are standard issue when handling objects.
“Have that appraiser who offers to buy your antiques appraise the front door on the way out of your house.”
Know the difference between a purchase offer like “I’ll give you $50 for that china platter” and an appraisal like “a platter like that one recently sold for $500.” An appraisal is an expert opinion of value based on a recently completed sale. If someone is offering to buy an antique from you, that is not an appraisal. That is a lower than market value purchase offer.
“Asking prices are not appraisals. An asking price is a wish, a hope, a dream.”
It isn’t an appraised value until somebody buys that antique for a particular price. When you hear a picker or a dealer say, “I bought it for $20 and I am going to ask $200 for it,” that doesn’t mean it’s worth $200. It just means he has the audacity to ask $200 for it. It’s only worth what someone has paid for it – in this case, $20, not $200.
There are more of these catch phrases that I have shared over the years. Join me at an antiques appraisal event and I will highlight more of my easy-to-remember antiquing tips.
Celebrity Ph.D. antiques appraiser, author, and award-winning TV personality, Dr. Lori presents appraisal events to audiences worldwide.