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At Home: In appraising antiques, old does not equal valuable

Marni Jameson shares tips she learned while selling the items in her parents' longtime home.
By Marni Jameson, For The Oklahoman Published: March 11, 2013

“Not for sale,” read the lime-green sticky notes slapped on furniture throughout the estate sale.

Not selling the furniture defeats my purpose, to clear out my parents' former home to get it ready to sell. But the task is defeating me.

I don't know how much the nightstand that came from France is worth, or the gold-leaf chairs in the entryway, or the antique clock that was my grandfather's or the cedar chest that was grandma's.

The experts would tell you to take your time. Have someone from an auction house or consignment shop, a dealer, or appraiser look at the items to determine their value before you sell.

But I had to get the job done in a week.

I did, however, have one ace up my sleeve. A contact at PBS's Antiques Roadshow offered to run photos of some of the antiques by one of the show's expert appraisers to help me determine value.

Meanwhile, my two-day sale was going on.

The morning after the estate sale ended, the Antiques Roadshow appraiser calls. Gary Sullivan specializes in high-end antiques. He'd looked at my pictures and was about to tell me how much the items were worth.

But first, Sullivan offered this general advice:

• It's just stuff. “The chances of anyone having something that has significantly great value is quite slim,” Sullivan says.

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