This is a question nearly all of our customers are looking for an answer to, because the answer plays a major role in their decision whether or not to restore.
Frequently, customers are trying to balance their love of a particular piece due to sentimental attachment along with consideration of what it might cost to replace that item with a similar newer piece. We also frequently work with insurance companies who are weighing the option of repairing or providing a cash settlement to their policyholders based on what they establish the items value is. I offer the following four categories as parameters that will help anyone to better assess what the value of their piece might be.
Since our specialty is antique furniture restoration, we see the importance of sentimental value to many of our customers. When customers bring in an older piece they usually have an interesting family memory and story they share with us, regularly with tears in their eyes as they relive those fond memories.
This emotional sentiment has great value far beyond any monetary value. It is value that has taken much time to develop and those loving memories grow deeper as the years pass.
If the time comes that you must sell a beloved piece or you were to have a serious loss at your home (fire or flood), you must realize that you’ll have to separate your sentimental value from the item’s intrinsic value. An insurance company cannot reimburse you for sentiment, nor can a buyer factor sentiment into their purchase price.
This may also be referred to as historic, collectible, or antique value. This is quite a broad category since it takes many factors into consideration.
The overall quality and construction of a piece is a strong consideration in its value. You want to look for strong joints consisting of tenons, dowels, and overlapping wood joinery, rather than joints that are nailed or stapled. Tight fitting joints and seams, and doors and drawers that fit squarely all point to higher quality furniture. Premium wood species, especially with inclusion of specialty veneering patterns, also contribute to intrinsic value.
While the age of a piece does add to its value as a collectible or antique, age needs to be coupled with the availability of that same or similar type item in the local marketplace. Increased age coupled with lower availability in the marketplace equals higher intrinsic value.
This type of valuation is frequently used in the conduct of insurance claims when pieces are destroyed by flood, fire, theft or moving claims.
The value of a new item can usually be established by contacting the manufacturer to find out what the current selling price of that item is. When an item has been discontinued and no longer for sale, insurance companies normally accept the current sales price of an item that is of “like kind and quality.” You will likely need to provide some justification of this price simply by providing a reference of the furniture company’s website you found it on.
To establish the replacement value for an antique item may require the help of a licensed appraiser if you think the value will be substantial. If you think the value does not warrant the cost of hiring an appraiser then you will likely want to use “market” value to establish its worth.
Market value is rather subjective. It varies quite a bit by locale, the health of the economy at the time, and current trends in furniture. Establishing market value for your furniture items is quite similar to a realtor running “comps” on your home when you list it for sale. What you originally paid for your item has no bearing on what its market value will be. Any item is only worth what another person will give you for it.
The best way to determine what you may get for an item is to see what similar items are priced for through your local Craigslist ads, newspaper classifieds, and upscale consignment stores.
We hope you found this helpful in deciding whether you’re ready to restore your family heirlooms. Please call us today so we can help you in restoring your memories.