Do you happen to own some old collectibles, a piece of artwork, some antiques, or other items that you think are valuable? To know for sure if they are worth anything, what you should do is to have them appraised. There are many ways to get a free online appraisal of your item and there are differences – if you are looking for a free art appraisal online or a free antique appraisal. It all comes down to the item that you have and the area you live. Getting a free online appraisal is not so easy as it sounds – whether you are looking for a free auction estimate on your antiques or art you need to remember that the auction houses will only provide you with a free online appraisal if the items are valuable and within the items that they seek. It is not always like that – but it is not far from the case.
First, what is an appraisal?
An appraisal is a process of evaluating certain valuable items, which in this case are antiques, artworks, and other collectibles.
It is usually done by someone who holds a valid designation from an authorized regulatory body. Appraisers will determine the possible selling price of the item. All auction houses have qualified appraisers who can take a look at your item and give you a good estimate of its worth.
What are the major auction houses and do they offer free appraisals?
Local auction houses can be found in most cities, particularly in major metropolitan areas. You are likely to have at least a couple of them where you live.
However, the major auction houses to consult with for fine arts, sculptures, and paintings would be Christie’s, Sotheby’s, Phillips, and Bonhams; for antiques and collectibles, you may seek the online auction house Catawiki; for modern designs and contemporary art, the best choices are Wright and LA Modern, but it really depends on your location and how interesting your item is.
Free appraisals online at Sotheby’s, Christie’s, Bonhams will in many cases not happen. In the majority of the cases, they will decline to appraise online and tell you it is not within their target customer area.
Where do I get a free online appraisal?
Many of the auction houses listed above provide free online appraisals, although the results may not be sent to you until after a few weeks. Their responses are not guaranteed either, especially if your item doesn’t fall within their range of interests. You also have to be very patient when you consult with these major auction houses.
Because of the high number of requests that they receive on a daily basis for free online appraisals, they might not be able to attend to your needs immediately.
The other ways to get a free appraisal is by attending the valuation days sponsored by your local auction houses. You may also watch appraisal TV shows and submit your items to them, although this can be a long shot.
How does a free online appraisal work?
If you choose to go for local auction houses, you simply bring your item to them to get it appraised.
For online appraisals, however, the first step is for you to take as many high-resolution images as you can. Make sure that you photograph your item on a neutral background. It will also help if you provide a bit of a background about the item that you want to be appraised.
So when you send the photos to the major auction houses, answer these questions in your letter to them:
- Where did you get the item?
- If you inherited it, how long has it been with your family?
- Do you have any proof of ownership?
- If you bought it, how much did you pay for it and where did you buy it?
- What is the condition of the item?
- What other information can you give about it?
Do note though, that free online appraisals are not formal written appraisals. They are merely estimates, and the actual item price may go up or down, depending on what the appraiser sees once you submit the actual item to him or her.
With that said, you can’t use the result of a free online appraisal for tax purposes. It is a good basis, though, of how much your item is really worth.
Why Choose Free Online Appraisals
Submitting your item for online appraisals is the most convenient option if there are no auction houses near you. It saves you from the hassles of the commute and the waiting time required by the actual appraisal process.
It is also possible to submit your item online to multiple auction houses. That way, you’ll get a good idea of its price range and which of them is willing to buy your item at the highest possible price. When you submit your item for an online appraisal, you are under no obligation to selling it. You are free to decide whether to keep your item or to have it consigned to your chosen auction house and get the selling process started.
What Are Other Ways to Get an Online Appraisal?
If you can’t wait for weeks for the results of the appraisal of your item, there’s the choice to pay for one. You can do that right here on Mearto.com. The good thing about this, is you don’t have to commute to a local auction house. The form is really simple, so it only takes a few minutes – and you are guaranteed an appraisal within 48 hours, but normally you get an answer within a few hours.
You may also do the research yourself. If you can find a similar item sold on a marketplace or an auction you can evaluate your item based on these old realized prices. Companies like artnet and artprice offer this service, but they tend to be a bit pricey and only with limited searches. An alternative is our cheaper database at mearto.com/search that has millions of realized prices and with unlimited searches.