For me, saving an antique that was handed down by my mother is a no-brainer. Of course I will save it - it's a family heirloom!
For other people, ask yourself: Do I love it? How will I use it? As the saying goes, beauty is in the eye of the beholder. Only you can decide if an antique you inherited is something you want to save.
Factors that you may consider when deciding to save or buy an antique include:
Beauty - Do you love the item? How will you use it?
Age - Typically an item is considered an antique when it is 100 years old, however this is not a hard and fast definition. There are many items considered antiques that are not yet 100 years old.
Rarity - The fewer of an item that remains in existence, the more valuable it may be, though not necessarily. Some older pieces are beautiful and others make me wonder, who would want that?
How easy it is to find a desired antique piece - Just because it is hard to find a particular type of antique, that does not necessarily mean it is rare. These days, more people seem to be hanging on to their family antiques.
Restoration already done - An item is still considered an antique if at least 60% of it is still original. It is certainly understandable that old pieces may be in need of repair. Dealers will usually tell you if an item has been restored and what has been done to the item.
Need for restoration - If you want to buy an antique that is in need of repair, consider whether you want to repair it yourself or have it restored. Can you afford to have it restored on top of the purchase price? Also, do you have the skills to do the restoration yourself? Your local hardware store representative can assist you with tools required, paints, stains, varnishes, etc.
Price - What is the item worth? You can certainly check the value of antiques with reference books such as Kovels' Antiques & Collectibles Price Guide 2011. If I am making a purchase for my own use, I think about how much I love it and what it is worth to me. If I am purchasing an item for resale, of course I think about how much I may be able to sell the item for.
After all is said and done, what makes an antique worth saving or buying is different for every individual.
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