Take a Closer Look

By The History Detectives Team
10 August 2009
Category: DIY Investigations

Appraising an object is the first stop on the investigation trail, which is why there are two professional appraisers on the History Detectives team: Wes and Elyse. An appraisal is a formal estimation of the provenance, veracity, significance, and in some cases, value of something. It’s a job that requires skill and experience, but there are a few techniques you can follow to get the most out of examining an object up close.

First you need to identify what the object is and what time period it comes from. Is there a date on it? If it’s a piece of art, is there an identifying mark? Is there a museum, gallery or historical society that can help shed light on the object?

Once you know what the object is, you need to examine the condition, and determine the rarity and provenance of the piece. This stage may require some expert input. Tests may be required to determine the veracity of the object. Specialists may need to be called on to use their expertise in textiles, handwriting analysis, geology and so on.

Once you’ve determined the provenance of an item, you can then move towards making a valuation. This is where researching the market is required. Look at comparable objects and see what they sold for. Scour auction catalogues for price guides, or contact a seasoned appraiser for their expert opinion.

Have you got an object that you’ve appraised? What did you discover? Do you have any appraising tips or leads? We would like to know. Let us know in the form below.

You can also join our Facebook group where you can meet other fans and share information.

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