[Last updated: April 2017]
Hi everyone! Have you ever found a really great item at auction or garage sale, but been unable to find much information about it, more specifically, its value? I sure have. But, over the years I’ve used a few tricks and found some great websites that I can turn to when looking for the history and value of a piece.
I just recently discovered HubPages, a website that contains thousands of articles on hundreds of topics written by “writers, explorers, and knowledge seekers.” The articles are not curated, but the writers and articles garner followers, so you can determine each writer’s general credibility. [Note: You do need to create an account–quickly done–in order to make use of the site.]
Within the “Collections and Collecting” category are several subcategories, including Antique Collecting, Decorative Collectibles, and more. I felt I could spend days clicking through the articles and never get bored. One article, for example tells the story behind the Blue Willow pattern in The Willow Pattern: These Lovers Flew Away.
The Collector’s Weekly website contains fascinating articles about history and culture, in addition to an almost endless list of antique and collectible articles. While visiting the site a few weeks ago, an article about plantations and the failure of museum curators to tell the plantation story from the slave’s point of view, held my attention for 20 minutes. It’s hard not to go down rabbit trails on this site.
At the top of the home page, to the right of the search box, you can click on “Browse All Categories” and up pops a very long list of antique categories. Keep scrolling down and you find subcategories under each of these categories–literally hundreds of pages of antique reading! Click on any category and it will take you to a page filled with info and photographs on that topic, with a left side-bar of opportunities to refine your search. On the right, current eBay listings offer opportunities to buy, but also help to value your collection. And at the bottom of the page, you will see a “Best of the Web” set of links to other sources, followed by a list collector’s groups.
Use the Search Bar: eBay can be a very valuable tool for gleaning info about your favorite antique or collectible. Just by searching for items similar to yours, you can discover a bit about price range and even some history, since many sellers include useful information in their item descriptions.
Use the Advanced Search Option: The advanced search button can be found to the right of the search bar. Push it and you’re taken to another page that contains a whole list of questions. I ignore most of them and check off the box that says “Sold,” then press “Search.” A list of items like yours that have sold over the past year will appear. This gives you a good idea of the market value of your item.
Okay, so number 4 is a little very self-serving; however, I have over 150 websites listed here, so I think it’s worth mentioning. It’s not a complete list by any means, but it covers a good amount of territory. I would love it if you left the names of resources you’ve discovered in a comment, so I could add them to my list to make it more complete. Some of the categories you can find info about include: Children’s Books, Fashion, Lucite, and Staffordshire, to mention just a few.
I hope you find one or more these of these resources helpful, whether you collect antiques for yourself or buy and sell them for profit.
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