Antique frame and Forget Me Not needle point

I recall when I was quite young, going with my mother to estate sales--out in the country--in central lower Michigan. Antique auctions on Friday nights, watching my mom outbid dealers with the whip of a paddle. Collecting antiques was her passion--I learned much and the love of the hunt rubbed off, too.

Some collect antiques for their potential value--there are many antique levels to be considered--there are certain levels of credibility and sources that should be clearly defined. Antiques can be of great value to many for various reasons. Perhaps as a future investment; a nostalgic piece of history you wish to pass on to the next several family generations. Your own--just plain love--for having a decor that brings peace and solitude, a sacred piece of the past. Afew important tips on collecting antiques could help on your quest.


The overall condition can be based on several variables. The type of item: furniture, jewelry, trading cards or kitchen utensils. All categories have certain specifics that one must look at. Mint condition is usually the best possible condition for any category. Poor condition is on the opposite end of the spectrum and can label some items worthless, while a high value may still remain for many pieces in certain categories, especially if they are rare, hard to find or made in very limited quantities or editions.

Antique Kayserzinn pewter platter from the 1890's

This 17" pewter platter from the late 1800's in very good condition, it was made by the famous designer Kayser and has the markings and number stamped on the back.

Age verification

One of the more overlooked tips on collecting antiques is to, whenever possible, get documents on the item. If there is a certificate or appraisal, it will secure more money in the future--if you decide to sell it. Do your research. If you have a certain niche that you are collecting in: buy the books, auction catalogs and any educational tools so that you become good at identifying the authenticity and value of each piece. Check out any sources to make sure what you are collecting is legitimate.

Characteristics and design

The characteristics, maker marks and overall design add relevance and desirability to these collectibles. Marked gold jewelry is worth a great deal more than plain, nondescript pieces. Even an ornate unmarked piece is worth much less than one that is less appealing visually, if it has markings to prove it's authenticity. A signature, of course, is always sought after. These are important tips on collecting antiques. Always have your magnifier loupe handy for clear reading of any markings.

Tips on collecting antiques

The overall condition, characteristics and design, authenticity verification and appeal are good guidelines and valuable tips on collecting antiques. They can turn out to be--in the long run--a great investment. Meanwhile, you've done your homework, claimed the goods and have a piece of history that can be enjoyed and relished for many years to come.

19th century Gingerbread clock

19th century Gingerbread mantle clock in very good condition.