Caution Necessary When Antiques Look Too Good

Daryle Lambert’s 31 Club Blog

I’ve noticed that there are items entering the market that are just too good, and I want to warn you about some of them, as well as the reason you need to be very careful. At this weekend’s estate sale, there was a Cushman Scooter that had been customized by converting it into an ice cream vendor cart-scooter, similar to the old bicycle-vendor carts. Was it a vintage? It appeared in mint condition in every detail, even down to the Cushman emblems. However, upon further inspection, several clues didn’t add up. I could see the work that had been done on it. No doubt the skeleton and the engine were old, but I have doubts about the rest of the cart. Why?

First, it was held together by Phillips head screws. These type of screws were not available when this piece was originally made. Second, the heads of the nuts that were used to bolt the bumpers and other attachments were not old. I continued to inspect and came to the conclusion that most of this piece was newly fabricated and therefore, had very little antique value. However, this didn’t deter the seller from asking $10,000 for the cart.

Remember, when you are buying something for its antique value, the more of the original condition that has been maintained, the better the piece and the higher the value will be when it’s sold. Any alteration will take away value. If the piece is over-restored, it becomes a novelty item, not an antique. And novelty items are less valuable.

This becomes very important in other areas such as antique banks. If you find an antique bank in mint condition, with the paint as fresh as it had been done yesterday, it’s most likely a reproduction. Older paint will have a patina on it that will look soft and mellowed, while new paint will appear start and harsh. An old bank could also have been restored by repainting, and if that’s the case, its value can be reduced up to 75%.

When you find anything that should have antique value, leave it as found and buy it accordingly. My rule is that if I can’t wash off the dirt with water and a mild detergent then I let the new buyer decide. In this way, the buyer will decide if he or she wants to take the chance of fully devaluing the item. New is new, and even if the con artists have come up with some of the most ingenious ways to age certain pieces, there are still telltale signs that will give them away. Any time you have a question regarding these matters, be sure to contact me either by email or phone. Happy Hunting.

P. S. Please comment on the website changes we are making. Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated. — Daryle

Join with like-minded 31 Club Members and put a turbo charge on your treasure hunting skills. Get FREE Mentoring. Learn Inside the Industry Secrets. Learn to make high profits and continue to grow your money buying and selling antiques, fine art, and collectibles. My 220 page book, 31 Steps to Your Millions in Antiques & Collectibles is FREE with your membership. The book is also available on Amazon.com. If you buy the book on Amazon, then the membership is FREE.

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