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Are your antiques worth as much as you think?

On Behalf of | May 19, 2019 | High Asset Divorce |

If you and your spouse are a high-asset Florida couple, you likely own some antiques. Or more to the point, you likely own several, or even quite a few, old objects that you believe are antiques and therefore valuable. Unfortunately, you may be wrong on both of those assumptions.

Unless you are into antiques and collectibles big time, you probably have no idea that old objects fall into the following three major categories:

  1. Antique – something at least 100 years old
  2. Vintage – something between the age of 75 and 100
  3. Retro – something made or manufactured during the 1950s and 1960s

Having said that, just because something is a true antique does not mean it is valuable. Conversely, just because something is retro or vintage does mean that it lacks value.

Valuing old things

If you and your high-asset spouse ever decide to divorce, you will need to value your old objects, antique or otherwise, so as to arrive at a fair and equitable property settlement agreement. But as the Huffington Post reports, assigning a realistic value to your things is usually much easier said than done.

It goes without saying that you should hire a professional appraiser if and when you need to reliably value your old objects. Try to find one certified by the Appraisers Association of America, the American Society of Appraisers, or the International Society of Appraisers. The last thing you want to do is to hire a local auctioneer or “antiques dealer” who may or may not know what (s)he is talking about.

In addition, recognize that no appraiser knows everything about everything. Therefore, do not expect a reliable appraisal of your great-grandmother’s ring from an appraiser whose area of expertise is furniture.

Valuation factors

How much any of your old objects are worth depends on a variety of factors, including the following ones:

  • Condition – the amount of wear and tear your object shows
  • Identification – whether or not your object has a signature, logo, manufacturer’s mark, etc. on it that identifies who made it and approximately when
  • Rarity – how many additional identical or highly similar objects are still “out there” today
  • Market – how strong the current collectors’ market is for this particular item; i.e., how many collectors actually want to buy it

This is general educational information and not intended to provide legal advice.