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Value This with Brian and Leon
PO Box 482
Hope, NJ 07844
Include your name, address, phone number, and a brief description of your item. Send a photograph, if possible.

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This section includes some frequently asked questions from our callers. Look here before you ask us. We may have already given you the answer!

What kind of information does one need to provide for you to value an item?

Answer: Well, a good description is foremost-even if you don't know what the item is. Start with what it's made out of (wood, ceramic, metal, etc.), then go to shape, size, color, and any markings. If you know the history or how you got it, include that. Often that's enough to get us going. We'll all be on the same page when asking additional questions.

Are there different values for the same item?

Answer: Yes there are, depending on the function and purpose of an appraisal and the markets used to research price. Function means what one is going to do with the appraisal, like turn it in to the insurance company to be used for homeowner's insurance. Purpose is the value or cost that the appraiser seeks. It could be fair market, replacement, liquidation, or a number of things. One item can have different values.

Is a radio or television consultation a real appraisal?

Answer: Even though we give the best information possible, it is NOT an appraisal (neither is the information given out on The Antiques Roadshow). Remember that this is entertainment (or at least we hope it is). Real appraisals are usually written documents.

How long is an appraisal good for?

Answer: The "effective" date of an appraisal is the valuation date. It may be "good" for only a very short period of time. In insurance, most appraisals are good for 1-3 years, but it depends on whether the markets are changing. If they are, the prices may be valid for a very short period of time. >

Are appraisers licensed?

Answer: Personal property appraisers are not licensed. You must depend on the integrity, skill, and qualifications of the appraiser. Most belong to societies that will certify their members by testing them. Make sure your appraiser is certified or has undergone educational testing in appraisal methodology and practice.

Is an antique shop dealer an appraiser?

Answer: Not necessarily. They are in business to buy and sell, not appraise items. If they do appraise, make sure they are not involved in the buying or selling of the item. It may be a conflict of interest.

Can appraisers value anything?

Answer: No we can't, despite what we attempt to do on Value This! We all have specialties and use associates to help us in other areas. Brian is an historical document and autograph specialist. Leon is a generalist (little bit of everything). We can give you information that may need confirmation by a specialist or get you "on the road" to finding out your value. We often get stumped.

My item is marked Made in Japan. How old is it?

Answer: The marking of most items does not usually include or indicate age, except for English silver or gold. When an item is marked with the country of origin, however, it usually indicates the item was made after the 1890's. This was due to Tariff Acts enforced by our country. The words "Made in …" were usually placed on items from around 1920 to 1940. Otherwise it would just be marked Japan. So even if we don't know what the item is and have not seen it, we already know it probably is 60-80 years old.

We have a toy doll. How do we identify it?

Answer: It's all in the head! Almost all dolls, particularly "old" ones are marked on the backs of their head. Professional doll makers often sold just the heads and marked them for identification. (Bodies were not deemed as important.) The numbers may signify a mold number, a size, company, and country.