Hidden treasures around your home

August 21, 2008 12:00:00 AM PDT
You may be cleaning out your own house or a relative's, but how do you figure out what is junk and what could actually be worth something? We visited a Bay Area homeowner with a lot of stuff and we turned to expert Julia Hoitt of Hoitt's Appraisals to figure it out.

The process can be an overwhelming one. Try breaking down your items into manageable piles.

First thing to look for: Any distinguishing marks like a label, something that's embedded, a name etc. Look for anything that tells you what it is and where it came from.

If you have large items that you can't move, contact your local dealer. Find a store that has been selling that type of product for many years. You can also call any antique stores. Jackson Square in San Francisco is a good resource.

Do a consignment and ask the dealers that you know are reputable and that sell that particular item .

A final resource would be a site like eBay or Craigslist.

Coins:
Specific by year and where they were minted. Takes a lot of research. Look for sites that have information on vintage coins or U.S. mint coins. USMint.gov is not the best place because they're always selling current coins. Make sure you find a site with the words vintage or antique.

Books:
You have to look for first editions.

Silver plate/silver tarnish:
Look for identifying marks. There has to be a mark somewhere. Once you find out whether it is sterling or whether it is plate, then you know which market to look at.

Sewing equipment:
Singer is THE name in sewing equipment. They made millions of machines back then, so there are still millions on the market.

Artwork:
Track down the name and whether it is a limited edition. You have to know if it is an original and the condition.

Certified appraisers

Range in cost from $ 100-$500 an hour. The reason to hire a certified appraiser is to have a legal document and an assessment from an unbiased third person.

For more information, visit www.hoittsappraisals.com

About Hoitt's Appraisals:
Hoitt's Appraisals is a personal property appraisal company dedicated to providing appraisal services of the utmost quality to corporations, attorneys, insurance companies, and collectors, thereby allowing them to maximize the value of their possessions through accurate, throughly researched documentation. Julia and Analee Hoitt have completed the required appraisal courses from the American Society of Appraisers (ASA), and The Appraisal Institute (AI), which are two of the eight major appraisal societies that, in 1987, founded The Appraisal Foundation (TAF). Since 1989, the United States Congress has recognized TAF as the source for the development and promulgation of appraisal standards and qualifications. In addition they have also taken the certification, and connoisseurship program at the University of California Irvine (UCI), to be certified. UCI, AI and ASA require appraisers to adhere to the Uniform Standards of Professional Appraisal Practice, and Ethics principles.


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