Collectors determine the current value of vintage or antique keys according to availability and marketability. Current price guides for determining the value of many antique keys may be found online at the Antique Detective website.
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Historians generally agree that the ancient Egyptians and Chinese invented the key and lock around 4,000 B.C. Most of these keys were made of iron or wood. The lock and key flourished during the Roman Empire as riches were amassed during various conquests.
Popular Antique Keys
Chubb, Bramah, Cotterill and Victorian-era keys range in price from £1.60 to £9 depending on the metal and intricacy of the design, according to the website DEA Bathroom Machineries.
Railroad key collectors are in a special niche of antique key collectors. Collectors of railroad memorabilia hold a special regard for the little brass keys. According to railroadkeys.com, prices for a key to railroad's history ranged from £22 to £162 in June 2010.
Skeleton key collectors are a special breed of antique key collectors. The skeleton key is sometimes called a pass key. According to iTaggit.com, some skeleton keys made of titanium, gold, sterling silver or commemorative designs will fetch prices ranging from £32 to £271, as of June 2010.
Unique Fancy Keys
Collectors' value unique intricately designed antique keys. Oftentimes eBay, estate sales and antique auctions offer unique keys. The price is determined by the condition of the antique key.
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