Did you just finish cleaning out your grannyís attic and find some super old-looking stuff? I bet youíre thinking that perhaps it may be worth a pretty penny. If youíre considering presenting your aged finds to the authorities on PBSís Antiques Roadshow or heading down to your local antique shop for an appraisal, you should take a look at how to keep your attic treasures in the most valuable condition.
Do Not Refinish
Say you have a beautiful Victorian chest of drawers but the walnut finish has worn off near the handles. Do not try fixing it by going to the store and finding pre-mixed finish and painting it on yourself. While furniture is usually more valuable the better the condition its in, you could seriously alter the finish if you tried fixing it yourself. Consult a professional for any restorations.
Do Not Repaint
This is especially important in regard to large items, like cars and boats. Before shelling out thousands of dollars for a new paint job, get an appraisal first. The model or make you have may not be worth the money to restore. Also, appraisers may be able to suggest specific businesses have experience working with the type of car or boat that you want to repaint.
Do Not Polish
Itís old; itís rusty; it has a weird black or greenish tinge to it. Donít do anything Ė itís perfect. This is one of the main antique restoration no-nos people commit. The oxidation of metals is a key indicator of its age and can help verify how long itís been around when examined by an appraiser. In most cases, items with their original patina are more valuable than when they are polished.
Do Not Repair Scratches or Dents
It seems like you would want to repair scratches or dents before you show a prospective valuable antique to an expert. Youíre wrong. Like the worn furniture finish, itís desirable to have items in the best condition, but chances are if theyíve been a round a long time, theyíve been bumped into and used now and again. You are better off getting the opinion of a professional before damaging the integrity of the item.
Leave It Alone
The most important tip to remember is to just leave it alone. If you are questioning if an aged item is worth something, leave it in the original condition you found it in Ė regardless of aesthetic deficiencies. A professional antique appraiser can help you figure out how to restore it properly without losing any of its value.
Antique related hints, helpful tips information resources recommendations
Coins should be left in "found" condition. Cleaning makes them less desirable to collectors.
Ceramics can be washed with soap and water, but only wipe gently with a damp cloth if they are repaired, damaged, or have cold-painted decorations.
To polish brass make a paste of equal parts of salt, flour and vinegar. Rub on brass with a soft cloth. Rinse completely. Shine with a clean, dry, soft cloth.
Store plastic toys or other plastic items away from the heat, not touching one another. When storing old toys remember to remove the batteries first.
Don't use plastic bubble wrap to store silver and ceramics. Heat and humidity can cause permanent discolorations.
Rearrange lamps and decorative items on wooden tabletops. If you don't, exposed wood will lighten and unexposed wood will remain dark after time.
Porous pottery and ironstone can be cleaned with wig bleach obtained from a beauty salon.
Clean mildew on wooden furniture with a cloth moistened with one cup water mixed with one tablespoon bleach and one tablespoon liquid dish washing detergent. Dry with a clean cloth.
To remove unpleasant smells from an old chest of drawers, use baking soda, cat litter, or charcoal chips to absorb the odor.
Tin signs or cans will fade in ultraviolet sunlight, or fluorescent light.
White powder forming on glass or pottery with a lead glaze is poisonous. Remove the item!
Marble sculptures will discolor from pollutants if near a window or an active fireplace. They may scorch or crack near a heater.
Lemon juice will remove the remains of gum, adhesive tape, and other sticky tapes.
If you scorch a textile while ironing, rub a cut onion over the scorch, then soak cloth in cold water for one hour. Rehash and try again.
Do not store foods or beverages in crystal bowls or bottles for long periods of time. Vinegar, acidic juice, and alcoholic beverages will leach the lead out of the glass.
Do not use olive oil to polish a wooden bowl, or it will turn rancid. Wash and rinse bowl well if using an olive oil salad dressing.
If displaying paper items, remember that light of all kinds (electric and sunlight), will eventually harm paper.
To clean antique ivory, dust with a soft cloth or brush, and use a clean woolen cloth to buff it.
Do not polish dark antique bronze or you will destroy the old patina and lower the value of the piece.
Chlorine in cleaning products will harm bronze items displayed in a room where these products are used.
When repairing dolls remember that changing the original hair in any way will lower its value. Clean antique cloth dolls by gently vacuuming through a layer of nylon net. Do not vacuum silk.
Glass Christmas ornaments should never be stored in a damp basement. Mildew will cause damage.
Antique clocks must be cleaned and lubricated every five years. To set most clocks, hold the minute hand in the center, turn it clock-wise, wait for each strike. Wind fully each time, but do not over-wind.
To clean glass with an iridescent finish, use cool water and very little mild soap.
Never display grandfather clocks near a heat register or radiator. Be sure to attach them to the wall for safety. Most old grandfather clocks have a small hole for a screw inside on the backboard.
A signature on a piece of cut glass adds at least 25% to the value, but it can be difficult to find.
Clean andirons using liquid metal polish and 0000-grade steel wool to remove resin caused by smoke.
Polish old carved furniture using paste wax applied with a stenciling brush. Buff using a shoe brush.
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