How important is physical condition?

Being certified appraisers of personal property and a large re-seller of previously experienced home?goods, one of the biggest influencers of value for a piece of furniture or a collectible is physical?condition. I once had to do a professional appraisal for some folk?s furniture and ?antiques? that were in?storage at a flood & fire restoration company. These people were convinced that their furniture had?value despite it being terribly damaged and worn before it even experienced the flood damage. To be?honest, the flood damage was negligible and would not have affected value that much but the damage?that was there before the flood was significant and included staining, missing parts, deep gouges,?chipped veneer etc. I actually did the appraisal for the restoration company and the people that owned?the furniture were terribly disappointed in the valuation and did not want to accept the findings. They?believed since the furniture was solid wood and somewhat old (30-60 years which is not actually all that?old) that is should have much greater value than what I appraised it at. We can?t stress enough that?physical damage such as large water stains or heat ring marks, gouges or deep scratches on tabletops,?sideboards, side tables and coffee tables or faded, ripped, torn or permanently stained upholstered?furniture or cracked glass or mirrors, or missing pieces of veneer and any kind of damage that causes an?item to become unstable can essentially strip away 90% of the items value or render it completely un-saleable (especially in the case of collectibles such as china and glassware).

In this age of new furniture and home accessories being available for rock bottom prices from places?such as Canadian Tire, Home Depot, Homesense, Home Outfitters and Costco, people are not willing to?pay for damaged used goods, even those that are made from rare woods, have character and timeless?appeal. People also do not have the time or energy to take on re-finishing and repair works themselves?and many don?t have the space as so much of our living is done in apartments and condos these days.

The cost to have an item refinished and/or repaired is quite prohibitive and often costs more than the?piece would actually fetch once back in good nick. Vancouver is lacking many skilled furniture re-finishers as their services are just not in demand any more since we live in a much more disposable?society than ever before where people?s tastes change almost bi-annually as trends and style are?dictated to them through the Internet and an appreciation of quality and craftsmanship has been?replaced by wanting whatever is trendy.

Does this mean we at CC don?t advocate to buy damaged pieces or have them refinished? Absolutely?not! We encourage people to find that diamond in the rough and get it refinished or repaired. Good?quality, craftsperson hand-made furniture made from extinct or almost extinct woods will be harder and?harder to come by in the future and if the piece is a timeless and practical piece, then definitely invest in?getting it refinished or take on the project yourself. Use slightly chipped vintage china, take it on picnics,?use it for everyday eating and enjoy it. We are just cautioning that if you want to re-sell damaged items,?lower your expectations of what you may receive for them. Their monetary value is negligible but it?s?not always about the money is it?


Here?s a link to a wonderful blog by Andrew Baseman regarding collectibles that are damaged and have?been repaired.