6 Tips for Shopping for Nautical Antiques

There has always been a great interest among collectors forĀ nautical antiques. If you begin investing in antiques with a nautical theme, you’ll have to collect them over a period of years to realize a profit. However, if you collect nautical pieces for the attraction of the pieces, here are some tips to follow.

1. Collector or Investor?

There’s a distinction between investing and collecting. Investors are willing to pay for artifacts they can earn a high return on and must be prepared to sell when approached by the right buyer. Collectors are usually more interested in the historical value of nautical items and search for diaries, high-quality prints and photos, letters, and items from ships they can display in their home. When you start collecting, choose a particular field such as ship’s lanterns, models, or historical prints. Find out who the collectors and appraisers are in that field to get advice.

2. Be Realistic About Prices

You should have realistic expectations about the value of artifacts you collect. People watch programs about antique collectors and pawn shop owners who pay thousands for objects and expect a lot more than the items are worth. Some collectors believe that because they can see the worth of an article, it may not be a practical purchase for a dealer who can’t find a buyer. When you’re buying an artifact, it’s better to buy one or two of an item and pay more than to purchase several, less expensive pieces.

3. Keep Detailed Records

A notebook is an excellent way to record all the details of each transaction. Make notes about the research you did to acquire the item. Write down descriptions of all the items in your collection, the name of the seller, the purchase price, and any relevant details. If you should decide to sell or donate your collection at some future time, the recipient will want information on each artifact in your collection.

4. Glazing

Delicate china and silver place settings are often glazed before being sold to cruise lines. From the appearance of the glaze, it’s easy to distinguish new from older pieces. The enamel on antique pieces may have worn off entirely. The china may be cracked or otherwise damaged, which is an indication that you may have a valuable artifact. If the piece was recovered from an old shipwreck, there’s a good chance that the enamel will be entirely worn off.

5. Identifying Markings

Silverware and even pieces of antique furniture may have markings that identify the country of origin and possibly the date to determine the age of the article. Furniture often has symbols or markings etched on the back, sides, or inside drawers. The trademarks or signatures may show the name of the company or person who created the piece.

6. Signatures

Whether you’re a casual collector or are willing to spend higher amounts for artifacts, always check with an expert about the authenticity of items you’re interested in buying. Not everyone in the antique market sells items that are authentic. Appraisers can identify the authenticity of nautical artifacts but may charge more than you wish to spend. Before you pay anything, take some time to learn about the methods of identifying nautical antiques. If an artifact is being sold as a nautical antique but is in excellent condition, most likely it’s a reproduction.

The season for collectors runs from September through the end of May. The peak time for collectors is the Christmas season. If you plan to attend auctions, you can get the most reasonable prices during the summer tourist season. One thing to keep in mind is that if you’re looking for nautical items from a particular area, the further away the auction is held, the lower the price usually is.

Finally, whatever you choose to collect, take excellent care of the pieces in our collection and keep them as long as possible so they’ll increase in value.

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