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Robert Lorenzelli, antique dealer and expert in antiques, specializing in furniture and sculptures from the 16th and 17th centuries, gives us some tricks of the trade. He is also president of the Company of expertise in antiques and art objects. Interview by Pierre Tessier How can we ensure the value of an old object? When you want to know the value of a piece of furniture, a painting or an art object, you must contact an expertise company to obtain the contact details of an expert specialized in the period concerned. If you are not sure of the date of manufacture, you can seek the advice of an antique dealer or a general expert, to know who to contact. The first contact is made by phone, to give a description of the object. By sending photos, you can also know very quickly if the piece has no value or if a further examination is required. This first step is free because it is not a real expertise. There is no written document and the expert does not commit. For a more in-depth appraisal, it is necessary to agree with the expert, because there is no official price list. That said, we consider that 5% of the value of the property in the auction room is a correct price for the creation and writing of a certificate of expertise. To this may possibly be added the costs for examinations such as a carbon-14 analysis, or an x-ray, when it is a table. Are there any guarantees or remedies when you are disappointed with an antique that you have purchased? It depends on the context in which we made this acquisition. If it is a part purchased in a catalog sale, the auction room which organizes it must have hired one or more experts specialized in the furniture and objects offered during this sale. If the antique that we bought turns out not to be from the period indicated, we can initiate a recourse against the expert and the auctioneer, who are then obliged to reimburse us. We are therefore sure of recovering our stake and we can even, if we believe that there has been damage, claim damages. On the other hand, if it is a current sale, we have no guarantee because the parts offered are not appraised and we therefore take the risk of being disappointed. When you buy a piece of furniture or an object from an antique dealer, you can ask him for a certificate of expertise if he is himself an expert in antiques, or ask to have an expertise made, knowing that it is payable by the buyer. If there has been deception on the goods, then it is generally quite easy to be reimbursed. How to buy antique furniture at the best price? Whatever you are looking for, it is in any case advisable to go around a few shops or visit antique salons before buying, to get an idea of the price of the kind of goods that interests us. Then it all depends on what you are looking for. If it is a question of furnishing a second home, one does not necessarily need extraordinary pieces. We can then go to the current sales organized by the auction rooms. There are often interesting parts at affordable prices, but since they are sold without a certificate of expertise, there is no guarantee in the event of a problem. On the other hand, if you are looking for really good quality pieces, it is better to turn to catalog sales or go to antique stores. We are then sure to have guarantees on the quality of the furniture or objects that we buy. How to sell a piece of furniture or an art object at the best price? The first thing is to have it assessed to determine its value. If it is an important piece, for example a beautiful old painting, it is best to offer it for sale in a catalog in an auction room. This type of specialized sale attracts a lot of buyers and, with the enthusiasm which animates the auctions, the object can easily reach a high price, from which it will still be necessary to deduct the expert fees and around 20 or 22 % who will go to the auction house, for sales costs. Another advantage of this type of sale is that you can set a reserve price, below which the sale is canceled. In the case of a more common good, the expertise certificate indicates two prices, the realizable value, that is to say the price at which we can hope to sell it, and the replacement value, which corresponds to the price. of this type of object from a specialized dealer and which therefore includes the margin of the antique dealer. The difference is around 50% for ordinary goods and 30 or 35% for a more expensive piece. Often, the expert who has been called upon will also be interested because most of the experts are also antique dealers. We can of course offer it to other antique dealers to find the highest bidder, but the advantage of selling it directly to the antique dealer who appraised it is that it will generally give you free of charge. expertise. > More info on www.experts-antiquite.com