If your crystal glassware has been in the family for years, you probably have no idea how much to insure or sell it for. The value of glassware depends on what it's made of, who made it, how old it is and whether it's in demand on the market. Even if there are no experts nearby, resources are available that will help you discover the value of your heirloom with a relatively small investment of time and money.
Obtain an identification guide. To get an accurate appraisal, it's essential to know the manufacturer and date of the glassware. A number of books are available to help you sleuth this out. "Crystal Stemware Identification Guide" by Bob Page and Dale Frederikson is one such source. Used copies are available online at bargain prices or you may be able to find one in a library.
Use an online identification service. If scouring through hundreds of pages of text is not your cup of tea, consider using an online source. Replacements, Ltd. offers a free identification service for china or glassware. It also will estimate the value of pieces that you want to sell at the site. A request must include a photo or drawing of the glassware and can be sent by e-mail, regular mail or fax.
Browse online auction sites. Once you have identified your glassware, it's time to get an idea of what it's worth on the open market. The granddaddy of them all, eBay, is the ideal place to do this. Use the site's search engine to see what other owners are asking---and what they're getting. A number of antique dealers have virtual stores on eBay, so be sure to search through them as well.
Hire an online appraiser. For more specific results, have your items appraised online. WhatsItWorthToYou.com does two levels of appraisals for modest fees. The site also offers tutorials and courses for budding collectors. PriceMiner advertises itself as the world's largest online price guide and allows you to identify your glassware, see its past and current value at auction and find a venue to sell it in. There is a monthly subscription fee.
- Baker, B., and Frederikson, D., "Crystal Stemware Identification Guide," Collector Books