Old China/ Old Books

Updated on October 12, 2010
S.B. asks from Gainesville, FL
9 answers

I am cleaning out an estate, and am running across many many many old things, such as old figurines, old books, old farm machinery, etc. Some of the china just looks old, same say Germany, some say Italy, many say Japan. My grandfather was serving in the war and probably picked up a lot of things from across the country. Do any of you know if there are certain things to look for to see if something is valuable ?? I plan on having a very large estate sale and would hate to sell something antique and valuable for .25 . I don't really have extra money or time to go to an appraiser....What do you ladies suggest ?Oh yea a lot of the books are from 1905-1915 copyright

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answers from Redding on

Use google!
I have lots of old things and every now and then I google to see if they are mentioned online as far as prices, any history, etc. I absolutely adore old books and some are far more valuable than others. Since you mentioned Japan....one thing I do know, my mother-in-law taught me this, is that things marked "Occupied Japan" can be extremely valuable.
Just google whatever information you have and see what comes up. You should find some dealers or appraisers that you can communicate with by e-mail if nothing else.

Let us know how it works out.

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answers from Anchorage on

I would take the time and the money to get that appraiser in to look at things.

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answers from Orlando on

I know you mentioned you don't have the extra money, but it seems you have so many things, you should consider having an appraiser come to the home to look at everything. That's what they do for estates. It will save you time, searching for everything online and libraries is a full time job! And you don't want to misidentify something of value and lose out. I think it would be worth it to have the expert opinion, and if you get someone from a large antique or auction house they will offer to buy from you, if your items are of value. Just my 2 cents. Good luck with everything!

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answers from Tampa on


You are in G'ville which is a great location, being you have UF there. for the machinery I would call the IFAS dept. or horticulture dept. Take pictures & as much detail (model info etc.) with you as possible.

For books, depending on topic I would go the the libaries- there has to be a book historian on staff. If medical- go to the library at Shands, science the one by Turlington hall, & the french fries. Others- I would try Library West.

The china- other than going online & looking up the manufacturer if it is printed on the back somewhere is good plact ot start. someone at a home consignment MAY be able to help you, or antique shop. Just explain that you want general information.



answers from Orlando on

As a former bookdealer, I can tell you that with books "old" doesn't necessarily mean valuable. My most expensive sale was actually a book printed in the 50s. Its rarity was what made it valuable. You can actually benchmark your books on Amazon or a site called alibris.com. Put in the title and see what comes up. If the results say that 85 other people are selling the same volume and all the prices are floating around $4.95, you have your answer. Good luck.



answers from Honolulu on

... pre-war things... are often more valuable....
.... for books, if it says "First Edition", these are valuable... but also depends on other factors.

I am a collector... I have first edition books of some authors. You can research this online...

Figurines, old books, farm machinery as well... can be valuable or highly collectible, or sought after.

Some things from Japan, may say "occupied Japan" or just have Japanese kanji "signature" markings or stamped impressions on the bottom. This itself, says a lot about the piece and/or the value of it, as a collectible.

If you have feudal era Japanese "pottery"... only an expert can valuate these... properly.

And "Meissen" pottery, can be very valuable! It is German pottery porcelain.

The thing is, your Grandfather collected these... while serving in the war. And, many things from this era... is valuable... or at least highly collectible.

Personally, I would NOT trash any of it. Nor, put it out for garage sale prices. Unless, you know, that it is junk.

If your Grandfather was specifically collecting things of a certain caliber... then even more so, it may be valuable. But if things are mass produced... these are not as valuable.

So many factors, determines if it is 'valuable' or just a collectible that is sentimental... or something that is historically significant and thus, valuable.

If anything, research the pieces online...

I wish I could look at it... I collect things.

What you might do is... take it to an antique store... and 'sell' it to them... or at least get their opinion on it. I have done that before. BUT... NEVER EVER, leave your piece there... or you may never get it back.

Next, take photos of everything you can... thus creating a photo file of it.... and thus, 'documentation' of it. And note down anything, in a notebook about it etc.

Or, you hire an auction house... to 'sell' your estate items for you.... they, often have appraisers on staff.... and because it is an auction house... they will keep a level of professionalism and quality standard, about your items... and YOU designate how low/high you will sell your pieces etc.
Since you seem to have SO MANY things to 'sell'... I would not do it yourself out of your garage.

all the best,



answers from Tampa on

I agree with a few of the other responses to get an appraiser. You will likely find that if you sell the stuff for, or close to, it's true value, you will earn more than enough to cover the cost. And an appraiser can tell you what it is worth. Online, you might find over or under estimates on your items' worth.


answers from Los Angeles on

and google the web.
Lots of authoritative resources once you start looking.



answers from Augusta on

you could look and see if they have any pricing guides at your local library.

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