Before getting into the importance of provenance in buying and selling antiques, let’s first grasp the idea of provenance. Provenance with regards to antiques basically boils down to the verifiable history of the antique or the item’s trail of ownership. Where did it come from? Who’s owned it? Where did you get it? And other similar questions. When looking to buy or sell an antique, knowing the provenance can add considerable value to an antique.
For example, you may have a vintage Pyrex measuring cup, which is sought after. But that’s not the same thing as having Julia Child’s Pyrex measuring cup. The verifiable provenance, or history, behind Julia Child’s measuring cup adds to the value, which is why it is in the Smithsonian.
Provenance is usually proven through original receipts, photographs, handwritten notes from the previous owners, documented research, certificates of authenticity and other forms of documentation. Having these documents is a surefire way to prove your antique’s provenance and increase its desirability from collectors.
But, when buying, it is important to make sure the provenance being represented is real and verifiable. Because provenance can add so much value to an item, people will sometimes fake documents in order to connect them to a person with historical importance or to a craftsman. When looking into an item’s provenance, it’s always good practice to reach out to people with knowledge of the subject matter and make sure what is being represented is fact.
If you have an antique with provenance and are wondering what the value is, we’re here to help. Our network of experienced, knowledgeable and professional appraisers are standing by. Find an appraiser today to see just how valuable your antique is.