Our valuations are retail. The price tag we put on your item is based on similar items we sell at the moment. In other words, that’s the price we would ask for that item if we were to sell it in our store. Please note, that’s not the only price of your item.

So how much is my item worth really?

Vintage and antique items, like anything else, have different types of values. This depends on the item itself and its condition, and on several other factors — where it is sold (auction, shop etc), how fast it is sold, when it is sold (seasons and fashions are important), and where (the same item can have different values in different countries). This is our explanation of the most common valuation types.

First to Remember — valuation is not a precise science (with minor exceptions). It is a learned estimate based on market comparison. Unless you have a traded commodity such as gold, silver etc, valuation of an item is a pure estimate. Do you want some proof? Look at any big auction and compare the pre-sale estimates with the results. You’ll be surprised at the differences.

Second to Remember — it’s very important to have the correct information about your item in order to know what is it that you actually have. Monetary valuation is secondary because it changes. Factual data remains the same.

Auction value — this is also known as a fair market value, and it means the price that an item can achieve if it was to be sold in an auction now. There are generic auction houses and specialist auction houses, and also generic and specialist sales. The price an item achieves at an auction is generally significantly lower than its retail value. Bear in mind that both buyer and seller have to pay auction fees based on the sale price (hammer price). Pre-sale auction valuations are given as estimates and are based on similar items sold by that auction house or in similar auction houses around the same time.

Online auction value — very similar to a standard auction, but do bear in mind that you need to do all the sales work. Niche items and collectables may get a better price online, but nothing is guaranteed. Also, nowadays most traditional auction houses trade online, which means the boundaries between the two have blurred. That’s one of the reasons purely online auction services are not as popular and big as they used to be 5-10 years ago.

Insurance and replacement valuation — this is the price you would need to pay if you wanted to buy the same or a very similar item now. In other words, this is a top retail price. Replacement valuation is the highest of all valuation types for an item. Should you want it? Yes, only if you wish to insure your item. But don’t use it as a selling or investment guideline.

Fast sale value, same as a pawnbroker valuation — this means the money you will get for an item if you must sell it right now. Also known as a fire sale. There is a limit to what kind of items can be sold this way — typically jewellery, luxury items and commodities. The value given is very low, normally a small percentage of a retail price.

Antique fair, antique shop and dealers — these are all part of a retail value, because these venues typically trade with retail customers.

Flea market, garage sale and car boot sale — fun and fast way to get rid of any item cheaply. But don’t take these venues as serious indicators of your items value.

Use the What Is It™ service to find out what you have and to check the retail value of your vintage and antique items.

Written by Lavish Shoestring

The largest online vintage & antique homeware store. The What Is It™ service — identify vintage items on the go. Free. Fast. Simple.