Many years ago, I learned that in order to make information stick in the minds of my university students, you had to give them an easy way to remember that information.
Catch phrases that I used in lecture halls on world class university campuses became my trademark, just as they are now.
I still employ these catch phrases, which I invented years ago, when I appear on TV and at appraisal tour events worldwide. I come up with new catchphrases on the spot during my live appraisal stage shows too. If you have been to one of my events, you have heard my loyal crowds recount these catch phrases aloud. Here are some of my greatest hits:
Shown above is an antique Staffordshire blue and white platter from 1870.
"Ugly is your first clue to value."
Sometimes the ugliest thing in Grandma's house is worth the most money. Don't overlook an antique just because it's not your style or taste. Think of Picasso's paintings - not particularly pretty, but very valuable!
"Just because it's old doesn't mean it's valuable."
I have old junk in my house, my Grandmother had old junk in her house. Sometimes it is just old junk.
"Antiques like to live where you like to live."
Display or store your antiques in the main areas of your home - like the living room, den or bedroom. You wouldn't want to live in your musty basement or in your hot attic. Your antiques don't want to live there either.
"Condition is to antiques as location is to real estate."
In the antiques game, objects have to be in good shape to be of high value.
"If your antiques expert isn't wearing gloves to protect your antique, then they just aren't an expert."
The gloves are mandatory if you have any respect for vintage or antique objects. If you are evaluating objects, condition is key and the gloves protect an antique from deterioration caused by the oils on human hands. In museums, gloves are standard issue when handling objects. The pros wear gloves.
"Ask that appraiser who offers to buy your antique from you appraise the front door on the way out of your house."
Know the difference between a purchase offer like "I'll give you $50 for that platter" and an appraisal like "a platter like that one recently sold for $500." An appraisal is an expert opinion of value based on a recently completed sale. If someone is offering to buy an antique from you, that is not an appraisal. Typically, that statement is a low-purchase offer or a cheap amount that the dealer acting as an appraiser is willing to pay.
"An asking price is not an appraisal. It is a wish, a hope, a dream."
It isn't an appraised value until somebody buys that antique for a particular price. When you hear a picker or a dealer say "I bought it for $20 and I am going to ask $200 for it," that doesn't mean it's worth $200. It just means he has the audacity to ask $200 for it. It's only worth what someone has paid for it - in this case, only $20.
There are more of these catch phrases that I have shared over the years. Join me at my antiques appraisal events and I will highlight more easy-to-remember antiquing tips.
Celebrity Ph.D. antiques appraiser, author, and award-winning TV personality, Dr. Lori presents appraisal events to audiences worldwide.