I can never forget the vase at my grandfather’s house that my mother always pointed out was part of my inheritance. It’s an antique! It will be worth something! Um, yeah, I was offered ten dollars for it. Old doesn’t mean valuable.
If you watch television shows like Antiques Roadshow, American Pickers, or Pawn Stars, you’ll hear many tales of individuals inheriting a family heirloom that they try to sell, thinking it will put their kids through college, only to find out that it is a replica or that it is no longer a desirable collectable or is too damaged or everyone’s parents or grandparents owned one (or several) and the item has glutted the market.
If you are holding onto items that you think are valuable, do a little research on eBay (look at what similar items sold for, not at what the asking price is) or bring the item or photos of it to an appraiser or auction house and find out if the items are worth what you think they are.
Susan Caplan McCarthy
I'm Susan, a writer and teacher developing a second career as a Decluttering Coach.