Distinguish your valuable antiques from old junk

It seems every few months there’s a news story about someone making a lot of money from a valuable artefact or lost treasure. Have you ever wondered could you be the next? So, how do you know that the item you’ve just bought via DoneDeal or are planning to sell on DoneDeal is of eyebrow raising value? To find out a little bit more, we spoke to Niall Mullen, Vice President of Irish Antique Dealers Association, which represents 50 antique dealers around Ireland. Niall, who runs Niall Mullen Antiques Frances St, Dublin 8 specialises in art deco. Modern value To put some perspective on what will hold value from the current era into the future, Niall explains that the only items bought in the last 5-10 years that will hold their value are: wine, gold, silver, Chanel handbags and Rolex watches. “Everything else that you buy has no value,” he says. With modern china and crystal, the value goes down once it’s taken out of its packaging. Every family has something that has been handed down through generations and told is of value. So, are Irish attics brim-full of high value antiques? The news is bad for furniture but good for other items. “The antiques market has changed. Furniture pieces that were probably once of value are no longer not. It’s changed into more collectibles, smalls, ivory, silver and commodities. The furniture market is struggling.” “Ireland was a rich country in the late 18th century, early 19th century and the best of the best was here. There will be things, but it won’t be the chair being dragged out of the attic.” Unless it’s an Eileen Gray chair (worth €3m-€5m) or a piece of furniture can be linked to an Irish cabinet maker, you won’t be retiring early on the proceeds from a lost treasure. Where the antiques market is at, says Niall, is a commodity also known as collectible. “It’s going to be a piece of art, silver, historical data, a Michael Collins letter, a JFK something.” Words of warning The wording used is something to be aware of as most antiques were replicated through the decades. Niall gives the example that something art deco could be art deco style. China tea sets One of the main enquiries he gets is from people who want to sell Staffordshire tea sets. And unless they are from a particular maker in the 19th century or a particular style done in the 20th they don’t have much value. Many china sets are not rare, they are a common commodity ie transfer printed rather than hand painted. So what is of value? 1916 “You’re coming up to the centenary of the 1916 Rising so you may have something of value pertinent to that. You may have someone who was in the GPO and handed down something from the GPO whether it was something that was damaged and they took it e.g. the furniture.” 5 items to give you food for thought The Asian market is trying to repatriate items taken from Asia in the past. The centenary of the Somme means that something related to it may be of value It’s 50 years since the Beatles played in Dublin, someone with something from that night may have a valuable item on their hands. Neil Armstong’s autograph has a high value as as he didn’t sign many. There are only 8 known original copies of the Ulysess. There might be a ninth somewhere, suggests Niall. How to establish the value of an antique Attempt to value it yourself Go on the internet and try to cross reference it. The internet might give you the value you want if the painting is signed or if it’s a piece of furniture and you can identify it. Auctioneers Go to fine art and antique auctioneers who act as agents/wholesalers. Antique dealers You can get a value by submitting details through the IADA website. This is sent to a specialist and loosely based values are given without seeing it first hand. #Antiques #DoneDealing #Vintage