Collecting Treasures: Investing in antiques, collectibles

german-porcelain-bowlBuying antiques and collectibles can be an easy process when you are just looking to buy what pleases you with no regard to future value.

But if you don’t know what to look for, in terms of what determines an item’s value, you may spend too much. Or worse, buy something with no monetary value.

In today’s market, there are many different avenues of buying from online to antique malls to auctions. So knowing what you are looking for can be a very valuable asset that can potentially save you thousands of dollars.

As a buyer and collector, know your strengths and weaknesses before you take the purchase plunge. What I mean by that is, do your due diligence.

Let’s say you have an interest in Dresden porcelain. Take time to research it to find out the story behind Dresden: how it’s made, what it is made of, what marks to look for, and most importantly, when the marks were used.

In today’s world of massive reproductions, sometimes a reproduction can look better than the original, and you need to make sure you are not duped.

Start your research online or refer to collector books that specialize in Dresden.

Recently, while attending a continuing education class for my graduate personal property appraisal designation, one of our instructors told us a story about a client who insisted she had antique Irish Dresden china made in Germany. Yes, that’s right Irish Dresden from Germany.

Now, to the beginner that might not sound strange, but to the educated collector that’s an oxymoron. If it’s Irish, then it can’t be Irish German. There is such a thing as Irish Dresden, but it’s not German, and it’s not antique.

Antique German Dresden was manufactured dating back to 1710. Irish Dresden began manufacturing with the Irish Dresden trademark in 1962.

All one has to do is research what marks where used in what time period and you can find out in a few minutes which type of Dresden it is depending on what resource you use.

If you have a desire to start collecting and have an interest in a certain genre, I would suggest reading up on that genre, visiting antique malls and stores and auctions to get an idea of what the market is for that genre.

Collecting can be both exciting and fun. When I buy something for my personal collection, it’s only after I’ve done my due diligence, and it’s a great feeling to be confident in my decision.

The one thing you must remember when trying to get an idea of value is that just because something is an antique doesn’t mean it has more value as a more recent item. More recent reproductions can be more desirable to the collector, thus translating to a higher value.

Erik Hoyer co-owns EJ’s Auction & Consignment in Glendale and J. Levine Auction & Appraisal in Scottsdale. Reach him at erik@ejsauction.com, www.ejsauction.com or @EJs_Auction on Twitter.

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