The “I Overpaid” Fine Art & Antiques Appraisal

The “I Overpaid” Fine Art & Antiques Appraisal

When shopping antiques fairs and flea markets,  the visual appeal that captivates you and drives you to purchase frequently over rides the actual value of the item. At The Appraisal Group, we understand the passion fine art and antiques can ignite but also want you to be protected. While most antique dealers are trustworthy, there are “marriages” and even re-purposing that goes into making items fit for sale.  That’s when you need an independent appraisal — for insurance value or to satisfy your own curiosity.

Case in point HGTV’s Flea Market Flip that actually challenges dealers to repurpose, update or paint and then re-sell their vintage “finds” at a profit. Team that gets the most money for their efforts, wins. The consumer is the loser.  True, most people are honored to be seen buying a Flea Market Flip because of the publicity. Problem is, this happens far too frequently off camera as well.

A modern marriage of vintage pieces on HGTV's Flea Market Flip.

A modern marriage of vintage pieces on HGTV’s Flea Market Flip.


Similarly, on a much higher tier, collectors buying from 1st Dibs are also likely to overpay. Although the dealers allowed to showcase products on the upsale site are vetted, they have to pay as much as 13% of the purchase price to the website. That means the fee is built into the price. Even with a certificate of authenticity  or a dealer’s appraisal, you might have paid more than fair market value. (The price you could expect to receive reselling on the open market.)

Online auctions such as don’t vet the sellers. The site is in the game for the profit. Any auction house that has the mind to and the money to pay the online selling sites, can post their auction. In today’s competitive market where auctioneers sell “as is” without virtue of provenance, you are likely to get burned.

Fine art and antiques appraiser

Reproduction console. In this case, the maker states it is a repro.

To find out what your new purchase is really worth, you should get an independent appraisal from a fine art and antiques expert. The Appraisal Group will give you replacement value of your item as well as fair market value. Sometimes the replacement value is higher than the actual fair market value, which in today’s antiques market could be very little.

If you’ve purchased something recently, call The Appraisal Group to authenticate and appraise your items. It will be worth it in the long run.

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