A free antique appraisal - does it exist?

Free antique appraisals or valuations

Many people new to Chinese porcelain or antiques in general appear to have the misconception that a collector or appraiser can look at an item and instantly knows what it is and how much it is worth.
Maybe such misconceptions come from watching TV programs like the Antiques Roadshow?

The appraisers in those TV programs are mostly specialized in a single or a few item categories and/or periods only. If they encounter something unfamiliar, they must consult with colleagues.
They may not be able to appraise items outside their range of knowledge.

Researching an item can be time consuming, and these TV shows will be able to provide free appraisals only because it is important for selecting the final few appraisal objects that people see on TV.
Anyway, a free antique appraisal is not that easy to get... I we would be interested to learn of one that is for real. :-)

An appraisal is the process of identifying and authenticating an item, and possibly its source, age and market value. The whole process may take hours of research in some cases and, depending on the item at hand, it may require combing through many data or books to find information. With an item that may have little real value, except in the eyes of its owner. Would an appraiser do that for free? Learning about the traits of antiques takes years and years of experience and study, thus a professional appraiser will can hardly afford doing this for free.

An informal verbal appraisal done by a dealer at an antiques fair seems more likely, but it does not have the value of a written professional appraisal; it is more of an opinion as a dealer will be unable to consult books at such an occasion. It is really just the identification of an item and an opinion in view to its value, from memory that is.

What is easier to get for free ...
What may be easier to get for free instead could be an antique identification, but perhaps not for estimating its value, because again, the latter may need a database or knowledge of the specific market, or books and records of past sales or auctions, etc. It is the prerogative of a proper appraisal or valuation, if you don't want to do the research yourself. If you get your item identified, then you can try to find its approximate antique value yourself online. This way you may be able to get an idea what you have or what its value could be before requesting a formal appraisal.
Be sure to get a paid appraisal, or even more than one, if you find that your item could be something of greater value.

Determining the Age of Antique Porcelain

Antique Identification

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Introduction to Chinese Porcelain