Now that A Fine Collection is over three years old, I feel I can safely refer to these questions as “frequently asked.”

Q: “I have an artifact kind of like this one.  Can you tell me more about it?”
A: Not necessarily – often, everything I know about that kind of artifact is already laid out for you in the blog post!  I can give you some ideas of where to find your artifact, though.  The internet is a magical place, full of collector websites, antique auction sites, patent databases, and searchable museum collections.  Try an image search, and compare several likely-seeming results.  Vintage manufacturer and retail catalogs are another good source, whether scanned online (there’s more everyday) or hard-copy originals and reprints in your local library. 
p.s. This doesn’t mean I don’t want to hear about your awesome artifact, though – please share it in the comments!  Perhaps another reader will have some hints or advice for you. And share anything you learn from other sources, too – your research may help other collectors (and me).

Q: “I have an artifact kind of like this one.  What’s its value?”
A: Ethical considerations prevent museums from offering valuations or appraisals.  (We also cannot recommend a specific appraiser.) And I’m not going to tell you what our own artifact may be worth, as that is not the reason we accept and maintain our collections.  Expert appraisers of various specialties can be found through a judicious internet search (try one of the professional assocation “find an appraiser” searches, such as this one or this one). For a more informal assessment, your best bet is to check auction websites – particularly looking at sold items – to see what other collectors are paying.

Q: “My blog/website is about this type of artifact. Can I link to your site?”
A: Please do!  The more connections made between collections and researchers, the more useful our artifacts are.  And they want to be useful!

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