This year gave us dozens of fantastic interviewees who provided readers with invaluable advice on finding the most valuable antiques. So as a service to those who want a handy one-stop hub for the best advice from 2017, we present our year in review aka the top tips for collecting antiques and memorabilia.
In no particular order...
In May, we looked at how to find collectibles around your home. Your garage and attic are the main places to begin your antiques hunt, but you also shouldn't neglect your garden and barns and sheds. As we wrote in the post: "Many kids played in their backyards and gardens by burying toys or collectibles, and, as children do, they might've forgotten to dig up their booty. That's where you come in!"
You definitely want to bookmark our crucial post on how to invest in antiques like a pro, thanks to the fantastic advice offered by Karen Knapstein, the editor of Antique Trader Magazine. She suggested going deep into research on the type of antiques you want to collect, and recording everything purchased so you have a database organized and paper-trailed.
Also, keep watch of antique trends, such as in the furniture space. Knapstein told us mid-century modern furniture and Asian ceramics are buzzing big right now.
If you collect artwork, you'll need to read our interview with art-fraud expert Noah Charney, who shared tips on ensuring the art you have is authentic. Among his tips: "Look at the backs of paintings. There is often a wealth of information there, like old auction labels or owner stamps. Lazy forgers make the front of works look good, but might not bother with the parts that are not on view, so you may be able to identify something fishy going on by looking where the forger hopes you won’t."
One of our most popular blog series focused on a type of collectible per post, such as finding out if your old coins are valuable, or what your toy memorabilia may be worth. We got a lot of attention for July's report on determining which old Canadian bills are most prized among collectors. Readers were most excited about our section on the rare Devil's Face bill, launched in 1954. They were taken out of circulation but some still remain in Canada and can rake in $7,000 each.
Our insight into the most valuable coins you can trade for cash was notable for a pithy breakdown of the main considerations when a coin is being graded, such as:
- The strike of the coin (in plainspeak: the minting process)
- The aesthetics or eye appeal of the coin
- Colouration of the coin
- The luster of the coin
- Damage the coin may have due to exposure to the elements or use.
Watch enthusiasts were treated to our advice on what to look for to determine the value of antique time-keepers. Muzeum manager Max Smirnov provided some fantastic tips and insight, such as: "A watch's jewel count can help you recognize its value. Smirnov says a high jewel count, coupled with gold-plating or any gold layers, can boost the value of your pocket watch. But these aren't the typical jewels adoring a coveted item; they serve a functional purpose and are found within the watch itself. They are used as the bearings for the wheel trains and in high wear parts such as the escape lever."
One of our most illuminating interviews was with John Adams-Graf, longtime editor of Military Trader and Miltary Vehicles Magazine. He gave us a peek into his heady world of trading in weapons, military rarities, wartime correspondences, etc. He noted that medals and honours can be quite valuable, especially if the medal can be traced to a particular soldier who might have been part of an historic battle, like that first wave in Normandy.
Don't ignore uniforms, either. He remembers meeting with someone who showed him what he found at a garage sale: a gor blimey cap, a five-button tunic complete with Canadian machine gunner insignias on both shoulders and a photo album with photos of the soldier. "Thanks to knowing the history of this soldier, it sold for around $3,200," Adams-Graf told us.
Finally, as a bonus P.S., you should read these tips on preserving your antiques once you have them stored safely. We interviewed antiques appraiser John Sewell on what he would recommend for those hoping to keep their collectibles in mint condition, and to sum it up: set the temperature, avoid bright lights, repair quickly.
As always, we appreciate your advice and comments so feel free to let us know what you think about this post below. And if you have any antiques you'd like appraised, contact us anytime.
We wish our friends and fans a safe and happy holidays! See you in 2018!