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Get the Basics about Antiques

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Age isn’t everything

Most people think that the age of an object increases its value. Age is not an automatic value indicator. An item isn’t automatically valuable just because it is old. I have junk in my house and so did my grandmother. Sometimes it is just older junk. Quality, condition and historical background are some of the most important factors.

A fine spine

When it comes to reselling old books, there are some basic rules of thumb. First, if you can smell it, you can’t sell it. If a book has an odor — typically the result of storage in a moldy or mildewed environment — it is more difficult to sell. Old books should be stored in areas with good ventilation and should not be stored upright. Rather, lay old books on their back cover to take undue pressure off of the book’s spine. The spine must be in good shape to command high values with no missing pages or damaging marks.

Conservation or restoration?

There is a difference between conservation and restoration. Many people I meet don’t know the difference but it is quite simple. Conservation may be defined as "any action taken to preserve or prolong the life of museum artifacts." This means that the conservator works to prevent artifact deterioration due to structure, people, or the environment. Restoration, on the other hand, may be defined as "any action taken to return an artifact to its original state." This includes removing signs of wear and replacing missing parts.

To clean or not to clean

When it comes to fragile antiques and aging treasures, do not over-clean them. Introducing commercial cleaners, water and moisture, or abrasion from rubbing to your antiques, could cause irreversible damage.

Paintings need air

Many people are surprised to learn that you should not place a piece of glass over your oil-on-canvas painting. It is best to frame the painting to ensure the painting’s stretcher (see picture) is protected, but leave the surface of the painting free from glass or other covering. If you cover your painting with glass, the pigment will dry out over time and start to flake away from the canvas. 

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