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Do you really own valuable antiques?

If you and your spouse are like most high-asset Texas couples, you probably own several things that you believe to be valuable antiques. If you divorce, the value of these things could account for a large part of your marital property and therefore become important with regard to your property settlement agreement.

Before jumping to the conclusion that these items are highly valuable, however, you need to have them appraised. You may discover that they are neither antiques nor valuable.

Antique status

Unfortunately, just because your objects are old does not mean that they are true antiques. It may surprise you to learn that in the world of collectibles, three distinct classifications apply as follows to old objects:

  1. Antique – an object manufactured or produced at least 100 years ago
  2. Vintage – an object manufactured or produced 75 to 100 years ago
  3. Retro – an object manufactured or produced during the 1950s or 1960s

Value status

As reported in the Huffington Post, even if you own true antiques, they may not be all that valuable. How much any given object is worth depends on a number of factors, including the following:

  • What condition it is in, i.e., how much damage or wear it shows
  • Whether it carries a signature, insignia or other mark that identifies its maker
  • How rare it is in comparison to other similar objects of like age
  • How much current market demand exists for it

Professional appraisals

The only reliable way to establish the age and value of your presumed antiques is to get them appraised by a professional objective appraiser. Make sure the one you hire has certification by the Appraisers Association of America, the American Society of Appraisers or the International Society of Appraisers.

Keep in mind that even certified appraisers do not know everything about everything. For example, an appraiser expert in antique jewelry likely knows little or nothing about antique furniture. Therefore, be prepared to hire a different type of appraiser for each type of antique object you have.

This is educational information only and not intended to provide legal advice.

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