We all have stuff & things in our houses, apartments or condos, consisting mainly of furniture, appliances, kitchen and dishware of all sorts. Then there are the items collected or given to us over the years. Many of these items are treasured for one reason or another. For some people, the decision to reduce our household is personal. Sometimes, we have too much. For some, there is no choice due to aging or being unable to care for oneself. Having been through this process, this can be very difficult for some. Hard decisions have to be made.
Furniture, no matter the size of the household, there will be pieces that are not needed. If you know the history of the piece, and it’s a very early piece (1700–1800s), you want to hold on to this until you can find more information. There are still hidden gems tucked away in a person’s home. Most of the furniture from a generational house is from 1890 to 1940s. So- named ‘Brown Furniture’ of reproductions of famous cabinet makers’ pieces. Many of these pieces were thrown away or burned. Unfortunately, the 1950s saw a lot of furniture destroyed by newer generations that wanted something more modern. It was basic, mostly Canadian made and used real wood. Today many people are stripping the furniture, sanding and staining or painting the pieces, turning what was dark into a colourful, unique masterpiece. Do not be so quick to discard furniture from this period. It might not have much resale value in its present condition. With the right person and some work and paint, you can give it a new lease on life.
Furniture of the 1950s used a lot of different materials, including metal and plastics. The style was for cutting-edge designs, a space-age effect. The end of World War II brought new buyers of furniture. The period of the 1950s–1960s is the most sought after. Canadian or Scandinavian-made teak furniture is very valued. Condition is everything; people are paying high prices depending on its function and use. This category is called Mid-Century Modern. From the 1950s to the 1980s, as the nation’s wealth increased and globalization took effect, Canadian manufacturers started importing exotic woods, like Brazilian Mahogany, which is now listed as a species that needs strict regulation to prevent its extinction. More buyers are beginning to appreciate furniture made from finer woods. Examine what you have and try to find as much information as possible. Present-day furniture depends on the taste of the potential buyer. It is best to do searches on Kijiji to see what other people are asking for similar pieces. Do not be surprised if there is no interest/inquiries on your pieces. This is because the amount of furniture sold on the secondary market is very large.
Dishware & Glasses, Unless you have a complete set from a known vintage manufacturer of fine porcelain / fine china, most sets of dishware do not have a high value in the secondary market. There are pieces, which command high values, and searching the net for the manufacturer and pattern is in your best interest. Any broken, chipped, cracks or stained pieces are not valued. They can be thrown away. The main reason for dishware values decreasing is the newer generations do not want something that can’t be put into a microwave oven or dishwasher. It has to be hand washed. Be very careful when deciding what dishware/teacups to give away. We had a client who had some Aynsley Cabbage Roses cup and saucer set. Each set is valued around ~ $ 1,500.00 to $ 2,000.00 Cdn Funds. A search on Etsy.com will give you a better indication of potential value.Crystal glassware, found in almost every home. Yes they are beautiful, a pain to wash, they are not dishwasher safe. The process of crystal glassware has not changed in the past 150 years. Except there is no lead used in today’s manufacturing process. Unless you have pieces from the 17th or 18th. Century, which will have enormous value. The used market for crystals is low. There is no demand by the younger generations. So use what you have and enjoy whatever beverage you desire. If one breaks, it’s not the end of the world. Look for pieces made in 1850 to 1900, and are known as the American Brilliant period. Hold the piece to the sunlight, and if it produces a rainbow, you have crystal. Or take a spoon, and gently tap the side of the crystal. If you hear a note, its crystal.
Appliances, unless they are antique wood stoves or ice boxes, older appliances might be only worth the scrap value. Newer appliances under five years old are not valued and are mostly sold for 60% to 70% off their original purchase price. There are a lot of people who have decided that the cost of moving the large appliances might be the same as purchasing a new one. The make and model search on various marketplace sites will give you an idea if you keep, sell, donate, or scrap it. Many newer appliances are more energy-efficient, generating additional savings for the owner.
Electronics, Old TVs unless from a famous movie star home, are worthless. They might have glass tube(s), which can have value. And should be taken out. Newer TVs under five years are valued at around 50% to 70% off the purchase price. More recent and bigger TVs are dropping in price with higher quality screens. If a TV or electronic item is not worth repairing to keep, please remember to recycle the item properly. Vintage or Tube Stereo equipment has value and is sought after. Older Console record players in a cabinet made popular in the 50 and 60s do not have value. The glass tubes might be of value. Antique radios are still sought by collectors. It’s best not to try to plug in any old radios/stereos to see if they still work. The surge of current will blow any component quickly, making what potentially could be of value into scrap value.
Lamps & Accessories, Some vintage 1920s – 1930s fixtures with intact glass are sought after. Victorian / Century homeowners are looking for these. Some brass floor lamps might be worth more for the scrap value than what you might be able to sell them for. Google’s image search will give you some ideas about what other people are asking. These are more decorative items that provide an accent to one’s home.
Flatware, Silver-plate and Silver Serving Utensils,Many of our knives, forks and spoons are either stainless steel, plated silver or silver. The real value is in pieces that are marked ‘Sterling’ or .925. Very antique pieces from the UK will have hallmarks, identifying the country, assayer, and sometimes the silversmith. These pieces have more value than just the melt value of the silver. Silver-plated pieces, if in complete sets, have some value and are numerous on various for-sale sites.
Persian & Oriental Rugs, the condition is everything. If a carpet is identified as 17th, 18th or 19th Century and from a specified area and hand-woven, it’s potentially very valuable. Late 20th & 21st-century carpets were machine woven, wool/silk dyed under a controlled source and might have some decorative value. Worn or torn carpets stored in an uncontrolled area might be damaged by carpet beetles/moths. The larvae can destroy a carpet in weeks. It’s important to know the carpet’s condition to see if it’s worth the cost of cleaning it professionally or repairing it.
People’s tastes change with time. What was vogue 50 years ago is passe now. Markets and needs are very fickle. The economy of today is changing fast. Values of all items have dropped. There is no magic in selling or downsizing. It’s all trial and error. And this will also take time, which has to be factored in. Is it worth an hour of your time to try to sell a 5-dollar item?
Note of Caution:With any electronic or electrical item, consult with a professional licensed electrician if there is any question of safety. Old lamps with material-covered wiring might cause a potential fire hazard or injury. It’s not a good idea to plug in a 50-year-old TV in storage for ages to see if it works.
Appraisal Requests that were sent to the ‘Seeker’
Carmel sent an inquiry on a vintage ‘Underwood’ typewriter and cash register. Unfortunately, they have no real value unless the typewriter was used by a famous writer, and there is documented proof that he or she used the typewriter in creating his works. The typewriter & cash register are easily found and plentiful and only have a metal scrap value.
Next Article: Vintage Electronics & Audio Equipment
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