Q: Due to a recent death, I have inherited a house filled with antiques and collectibles. Although I need to liquidate the estate, I have no idea of values. What do you suggest? – Cynthia, Soulard, Mo.
A: I went through this same situation when my mother died several years ago. She had lived in the same house for a number of decades and had filled it with almost everything imaginable. My sister and I were overwhelmed. We began by contacting and hiring a good certified appraiser so we had a better idea of what to keep, what to sell and what to discard.
That is, perhaps, what you should do first. Don’t rely on a neighbor or someone who claims they know about antiques and collectibles, but a certified appraiser. The American Society of Appraisers (ASA) is one of the leading groups in this country and can help you find certified professionals near you. Contact is 11109 Sunset Hills Rd., Suite 310, Reston, VA 20190, 800-272-8358.
To underscore the importance of hiring an appraiser, let me share a story. Several weeks ago, a reader contacted me with four older rugs. She had been offered $1,500 for the four rugs but suspected they might be worth more. She hired an appraiser, who discovered the rugs were Navajo and from the 1920s. To cut to the chase, her rugs were valued at $35,000, not the $1,500 she had been offered. Although an appraisal is not free, it can be an extremely valuable investment in the long run.
Q: I recently purchased a piece of Hull pottery at a yard sale. It is a 9-inch vase in the Mardi Gras pattern. What can you tell me about this pattern, and is it worth more than the $35 I paid for it. – Betty, Tyler, Texas
A: The vases were originally created for chain stores and florists, according to “Warman’s Hull Pottery: Identification and Price Guide” by David Doyle. Most of the pieces I’ve seen are identified with a sticker, not the usual impression in the mold. Doyle believes your vase is valued in the $75 to $100 range, so if your piece is in good condition, you made a good buy.
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