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The Impact of Restoration on Antique Valuation

Choosing Which Pieces to Restore

Most people have heard stories of folk who have taken it upon themselves to restore an antique piece only to discover that in doing so, they eliminated the value of the item. Of course, there are other instances in which an antique piece has sustained such damage or wear that a bit of restoration work actually does increase its value. It can be difficult to know when to restore and when to leave an item alone, but generally speaking, the assessment must be made on an individual, case-by-case basis.

Assess Value Ahead of Restoration

Antiques Roadshow senior producer Peter Cook has written that the difference between a piece that should be restored and one that should not comes down to the inherent value of the item itself. There are certain kinds of museum-quality antiques, including those crafted by well-known craftsmen, which have value unto themselves even without restoration work. These are the sorts of pieces that may lose value when restored. It is the history of these pieces that provides value, not their present condition. Unless serious damage is present on items of this type, they are probably best left alone.

Assess the Severity of Damage Present

Not all damage is equal. It is one thing to have an antique table that shows age-related fading of its surface and another for such a piece to be missing a leg. The process of restoration is meant to revive an item's past glory, but it is important to examine the state of the piece in an overall sense when deciding whether to move forward. Tips of the Trade from Antiques Roadshow suggests that damage of a minor nature should probably not be addressed. This is true for things such as fading or cracking of a finish or other age-related concerns. Of course, items that are broken or are extremely unsightly may benefit from some restoration done by a professional. Restoration work intended to correct previous, failed attempts at repairs should probably be undertaken.

Evaluate the Risk

When you think about whether to have an item restored, it is important that you appreciate and understand the risk involved. If you have a piece with great personal value regardless of its monetary worth, it is wise to contemplate the overall impact restoration may have on it. There are times, particularly with regard to antique jewellery, that restoration efforts can ultimately harm or even destroy the piece. As such, the pros and cons should always be carefully weighed.

Patina Can Be Key

Antiques derive a great deal of value simply from their age. As such, oxidation or patina can be critical, because these are indications of age. If a restoration process is likely to eliminate the patina, it is probably best to avoid it if you are concerned about retaining maximum monetary value.

Choosing Restoration Professionals

A critical consideration when contemplating a restoration is selecting the professional who will perform the work. High quality services can lead to an increase in value for an antique piece, while poor workmanship can reduce the value down to almost nothing. Therefore, choosing a restoration technician with care and deliberation can make all the difference in the final outcome. A firm offering furniture restoration in Essex can tell you more.

Consult with Professionals

Restoration of antique pieces can bring them back to almost an original state. But, this may not be useful in terms of raising value. The overriding point is that whether a piece ought to be restored involves a highly fact-specific, individualised calculation, and that is why it makes sense to discuss the situation with an antiques professional who can provide essential guidance.