What to Do Before an Antique Furniture Appraisal & Why Get One

What to Do Before an Antique Furniture Appraisal & Why Get One

Would you buy a table for $93,750? If it's a French tulipwood and amaranth table from 1750, then you would. Whether you are interested in buying or selling antique furniture -- an antique furniture appraisal is vital. 

This necessary step will help you get the most for your furniture or pay a fair price for furniture you are considering buying. 

There are a few things you need to know about the process, though. Keep reading to learn more! 

Types of Furniture Appraisal

There are a few different types of appraisals for antique furniture. Knowing why you need the appraisal will help you determine which type you should get. 

Determine your purpose before you start looking for an appraiser. That way, you contact the right service, who can give you an accurate valuation. 


If you have home insurance, you can receive compensation for lost or damaged items. But to receive this money, you need to be able to prove to the insurance company what the value of the furniture is.

The appraiser will look at the piece’s age, condition, and scarcity to determine its true value.  This information gathered will then get compared to similar pieces of furniture. 

You will then be issued a written appraisal that you can store in a safe place. Then you can make a copy and submit with your insurance claim should your item be lost, damaged, or stolen. 

Market Value 

These appraisals are done if you want to sell your item. They are not nearly as thorough or intense as an insurance valuation. They can be done by going online or to your local antique store. 

There is often minimal research and done based on sight. They tend to leave room for negotiation during the sale. 

Price your furniture too high, and you will struggle to sell it. Price it too low, and you won't get everything you could for it. 

The best thing to do is to visit an antique dealer with experience and extensive knowledge in antiques. They can give you the most accurate valuation for your furniture. 

Another great feature about visiting an antique dealer is they can help you consign the items once you have the valued. This way, you get your pieces in front of the people most likely to buy antiques. 

Estate Tax

If antique furniture is part of a deceased’s estate, the federal government may want it valued. This is for tax recording purposes.

Someone within their own department typically does these appraisals. They will value the item based on the value given to similar items. 


If you plan to donate your antique furniture, you need to have it professionally appraised. The IRS will require this if you donate something that exceeds $5,000 in value. The goal of the appraisal is to determine the item's fair market value. 

Other Reasons 

There are a few other reasons you may have an appraisal done. You could be liquidating your assets for retirement. Or you could be valuing your property in preparation for a divorce settlement. 

How to Prepare Your Antiques for Appraisal 

If you just need to dust the item, you should be able to do this without damaging the furniture. Be careful though, dusting some paintings will damage them. 

While cleaning can be a good idea, never try to repair your antique yourself. This can instantly devalue your item by half for even more. 

When you take your item in for valuation, ask for a reference to someone who can repair your item. They should have connections with professionals who will repair your item without devaluing it. 

Do Your Own Research

While internet appraisals may not mean very much, they can get you started on the right track. Keep in mind that looking on websites like eBay will not give you an accurate valuation. These prices are what the seller wants, and not necessarily what the item is actually worth. 

The goal is to give you a baseline or starting point. 

Who Should You Get an Appraisal From?

While you want to get the highest price appraised for your item, you also need to make sure that the appraisal is accurate. After all, the last thing you need is the insurance claiming fraud on your part.  Before you choose an appraiser, do your research on their experience, knowledge, and trustworthiness. 

Ask if the appraiser has experience in working with items that are similar to yours. There are a lot of antiques out there; you want someone who knows the finer details of your item. 

Search for reviews or testimonials. Or you could ask the appraiser for references. 

Never agree to sell your item to the appraiser. Be wary of appraisers who actively want to buy your item after the appraisal. An individual appraiser shouldn't have a say in the valuation if they also benefit from it. 

Ask the appraiser if they have certifications or licenses. This way, you can be sure that they are legitimate. 

Most importantly, don't rush the process. Find someone that you are comfortable with. Trust your instincts and gut feelings. 

Get an Antique Furniture Appraisal

If you are thinking of selling your furniture or having it insured, then you will need an antique furniture appraisal. As Oregon's premier specialists in antiques, we can help you with every step of the appraisal and sale process. 

Having a complete white glove service is especially helpful when you are trying to liquidate an estate for divorce or probate. This lets you value and sell your items all in one service. 

Have your antique furniture valued today. 




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