Selling antiques can earn you a lot of money, and many people don’t even realize they own a rare item that can be sold for thousands of dollars. Unfortunately, correctly assessing the price of a vintage item is more difficult than it might seem at a first glance.
Wrongly appraising the value of an antique will either result in you selling it for way less than it could potentially sell for, or you not selling the item at all, because you thought it’s worth more than it actually is.
That’s why it’s always best to get your antique item appraised by the experts. However, most appraising services are paid and they can cost a lot of money. It can be worth it if you’re sure your item is valuable, but can also be a waste of time if you’re sitting on garbage.
Luckily, there are several free online antique appraisers, that can evaluate your item for free. Before we recommend you these platforms, let’s take a look at some of the things you should be aware of.
Problems With Online Antique Appraisals
First of all, if you want to get your antique appraised for insurance purposes, a free appraisal isn’t going to cut it. Insurance companies require official appraisals with certificates, so in a scenario like this, there’s no other option but to get a paid appraisal.
Second, free appraisals are usually less accurate than paid ones. It’s because appraising an item requires a lot of knowledge, and most experts don’t bother working for free when they can get paid instead.
However, free appraisals can be great if you just want to know a rough valuation of your antique. If a free appraisal shows that your item is extremely valuable, then you can think about getting a paid appraisal.
All this being out of the way, we can finally start recommending to you some of the best free online antique appraisals.
Best Free Online Antique Appraisals
Christie’s Auctions is based in New York City and is one of the most reputable auction houses in the world. It has conducted some of the most expensive auctions in the world. For example, just recently, in May 2022, it sold The Sugar Shack by Ernie Barness for $831 million!
You can request an auction estimate for free, and if it’s worth something, even put it on an auction online. However, it’s important to note that Christie’s offers an auction estimate, not a replacement value.
It means that your antique is going to be evaluated on how much it could sell for at an auction. While it doesn’t sound bad, your vintage piece in an auction could sell for way less or way more than it’s actually worth.
This is self-proclaimed “World’s Largest Collectible Auctioneer”. It was founded in 1976, and since then has sold over 5.8 million items. Currently, there are almost 48,000 active auctions, so you can be sure that it’s one of the leading auctions in the world.
Despite such stature, Heritage Auctions offer free appraisals of antique items. All you have to do is to describe your item and upload detailed pictures showing everything there is to show about the item.
Then, one of over 125 world-class experts is going to appraise your item and give you an auction estimate. Finally, Heritage Auctions also has value guides in dozens of categories that explain what items could be worth a lot of money.
If you’re not interested in auction estimates, we can recommend Insta Appraisal. It’s a community of antique item enthusiasts, who offer free estimates. There’s also an active forum where you can discuss all things related to antiques, or ask for information about the antique you own.
It’s important to note that Insta Appraisal is a hobbyist community, and while some could be more knowledgeable than the experts, the appraisal you’re going to get can be wrong.
4. Mr. Expert
- Painting (Fine Art)
- Luxury Watch
If you think you own a valuable item that fits one of the categories, you can get it appraised in under 48 hours by independent experts. They will give you its resale price, and can also aid you in the selling process of your antique and help you sell it for the price it’s worth.
Finally, Mr. Expert also offers paid appraisals, the price of which depends on the exact object.
It’s an online message board that has thousands of so-called subreddits that are forums centered around a specific thing. For example, the subreddit for antiques has over 120,000 readers, and you can post for free asking for help in identifying or evaluating your item.
We left WorthPoint last because it’s something different than the previous appraisal websites. It’s a library of over 620 million antique items and 1 billion photographs from 350 data sources, including online marketplaces and auction houses all around the world.
If your item is an antique in high demand, you’re almost guaranteed to find it in the database, as other people have already bought or sold such an item before.
It also has “M.A.P.S. Gallery”, which includes almost 200,000 unique indicators that can help you find out what kind of antique you have. It’s especially useful for identifying extremely rare antiques that aren’t included in the library.
Unfortunately, WorhPoint is a paid subscription service, but there’s a silver lining. It’s a free trial of 7 days or 7 lookups, which can be enough to identify all of your antiques.
Appraising antiques is a difficult task requiring years of knowledge and expertise. As a result, most appraisals cost money, and you might be hesitant to spend some if you’re unsure whether your item has any value. However, there are some free online appraisals, that can help you out.
For a quick recap, Christie’s, Heritage Auctions, and Mr. Expert are great if you’re interested in an auction estimate. Insta Appraisal and Reddit are for you if you’re interested in the opinion of antique hobbyists. Finally, you should visit WothPoint if you want to start evaluating the antique on your own.