Although the value of many Antique & Collectible categories has decreased over the past ten years, there are still ways to maintain, and even increase, the value of your Antiques & Collectibles, despite the state of today’s market.

Here are ten ideas:

• Dust, Wash, Clean, and Polish on a Regular Basis. The better you maintain the condition of what you own, the higher the potential value. However, you had better know what you’re doing. It’s okay to polish furniture & sterling silver; but polishing coins can destroy their value.

• Display Your Treasures in a Proper Setting: For example, Art and Furniture should avoid direct sunlight. And fragile items should be positioned away from pets and young children.

• Maintain Optimum Climate Controls. Items on display within your home are probably safe. However, freezing winter attic temperatures, and 120° summer attic temperatures can destroy most items over time. The same with damp and wet basements, or non-climate-controlled storage lockers.

• Professional Repair & Restoration: Most Buyers want to bring a new purchase into their home and display it immediately. Therefore, many items should be repaired or restored prior to selling. But only repair or restore if it’s absolutely necessary. And only by a qualified expert

• Avoid Do-It-Yourself Projects You’re Not Qualified to Do: Unless you’re a professional, you’re usually better off hiring a pro to repair or restore a quality item rather than doing a less-than-satisfactory job yourself. A bad repair job will always detract from value.

• Keep All Important Paperwork: Original Receipts, Auction Catalogs, Legacy Letters, Family Photos, and other similar items. Such Important documentation can add long-term value to an item. A piece of furniture purchased from Israel Sack or Sotheby’s will have much greater value than something purchased from a local flea market or an out-of-business antique shop. But you had better be able to prove it.

• Document Anything That Makes it Special: Was it displayed in a museum or other exhibition? Was it pictured in any books or newspaper articles? Did it ever set an Auction record? Did it win an award or prize in an exhibition or competition? Keep all articles, auction catalogs, awards, books, columns, letters, prizes and other similar documentation.

• Research the Provenance: The better the story, the higher the value. Did anyone famous (e.g., Jackie Kennedy or Babe Ruth) ever sit in it? Was it involved in something historic or memorable (e.g., a famous Civil War Battle, or a celebrated historical event) or displayed somewhere famous (White House, Governor’s Mansion, etc.)?

• Authentication & Grading: Professional Grading Services do not place a value on an item. Rather they do two things: 1) Authenticate It, and 2) Grade It’s Condition (usually on a scale of 1-10). Once authenticated and graded by a recognized grading service, an item will usually sell at a higher price, because the market can bid with greater confidence than it can on an un-authenticated and un-graded item.

• Sell Through a Reputable Source: When you’re ready to sell, try to locate someone who is recognized as an expert within the field. Perhaps an Auctioneer or Dealer who is connected to, and respected within, the specific field. You need someone who can authenticate it, describe it appropriately, market it professionally, and attract the top collectors, dealers and buyers to bid on it.

WHAT’S IT WORTH?: We see it happening all the time, especially on eBay or the Internet where potential bidders cannot hold-touch-feel-see the actual items they’re bidding on. They must rely upon the word of the person selling it (Auctioneer, Dealer, Gallery, Private Individual). And an item that has been authenticated & graded by a professional and recognized grading service will almost always sell higher than comparable non-graded items.

Mike Ivankovich is an Auctioneer, Appraiser, Home Downsizing Expert, and host of the “What’s It Worth? Ask Mike the Appraiser” Radio Show. Now in its 6th year, “What’s It Worth” airs live in the Philadelphia PA area on Friday mornings from 9:30-10:30 AM EST on WBCB 1490 AM, and on the Internet at: www.WBCB1490.com. You can also visit his Radio Show Web Site: www.AskMikeTheAppraiser.com If your local station doesn’t carry “What’s It Worth” tell them they need to add it to their programing mix. If you know anyone who needs any Personal Property Appraisal work, or if you need a Speaker for an upcoming meeting or event, call Mike at (215)-264-4304, or visit: www.michaelivankovichMEETINGSPEAKER.com