Truly valuable antique furniture is rare. Nonetheless, pieces that are considered special in some way can be worth a lot of money.
Many people also inherit old furniture from their parents or grandparents. Not every family heirloom is worth something, but you may have valuable antiques in your home without knowing their true value. Conversely, a piece may prove less valuable than you’ve assumed.
What affects the value of antiques?
Several factors affect the value of antique furniture. Most important among these are the condition, age, history and rarity of the pieces. Who made the furniture, and in what style and era? Does it have an interesting “back story”, and is it free from nicks, scratches and other damage?
If you think you have a rare or valuable piece, start by taking these steps:
- ensure you know what it’s made from
- take well lit, detailed photos
- check the piece for any labels, logos or maker’s marks
- take note of any damage
- try to find out if the piece has been refurbished or restored before
- if you know where the piece came from, make a note of its history.
What might your antique be worth?
Before you go to the trouble of getting a face-to-face valuation, there are some resources you can use to get an idea of what your antique furniture might be worth.
This is an auction site for antiques and art. They have information and prices on everything they have previously sold on their site available for free. You can use this information to get an idea of what similar antiques have sold for.
This site uses past auction results to try and pinpoint the value of your antique. You can either research your antique using their database or get it valued. There is a membership fee to see the results; however, they do offer a free 7-day trial.
The Kovel’s website has a large database of prices on a wide range of antiques and collectables but you’ll need to create an account to access it. Their free account is more limited than the paid options, but it will still help give you an idea of the value.
This book has all the latest information on how to identify antiques with tips, marks, logos, photos and prices. The estimated values are based on real auction sales.
This guide to antique Victorian and Edwardian furniture has over 1000 illustrated items and can help you identify what might make your antique valuable.
How to get a valuation
Some auction houses will value your antique furniture for you. The South African Antique, Art and Design Association (SAADA) also offers valuations to members of the public, at a charge of R300 per item or 1% of the assessed value.
Valuation versus market value
A valuation can give you a good idea what a piece is worth, but doesn’t mean you’ll necessarily secure that value when selling the antique.
A valuation focuses on the intrinsic properties of an item. In contrast, market value is about what individuals in a given market are willing to pay for that item. Often – although not always – the market value of an item is lower than the value provided by an expert valuation.
Antique furniture as an asset
Antique furniture might not be the first thing you think of when it comes to investing but it can be a highly valuable asset. Valuable art and antiques can contribute to a well-diversified investment portfolio.
That said, making money by selling and buying antiques is tricky and requires know-how about how much antique furniture is worth and how to secure the best prices.
Asset-based loans with lamna
At lamna, we offer fast, discreet loans against a wide range of assets, including valuable antique furniture. We store assets accepted as collateral in highly secure facilities – and once loans are repaid, we return your assets to you, in the same condition you left them.
lamna is a registered financial services provider and our interest rates are compliant with the National Credit Act.