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Tips For Appraising An Antique Car

American Government Special Collections Reference Desk

Tips For Appraising An Antique Car

Levi Quinn
January 14, 2011

Levi Quinn

If you are a classic car enthusiast, you might be considering just how much that restored set of wheels that is sitting in your garage could garner in a sales or auction situation, especially in today's economy. You might be interested in learning about your appraisal options, but it is also important to know that just like with any item that may be considered valuable, true worth is in the eye of the beholder. Therefore, regardless of what you find, know that it is always opinion based and that actual value is only determined once someone decides to write a check. Always look for a second opinion when appraising your classic car.

First, antique car appraisal and research can be started through online methods. It is important for you to make sure that the information you find is verifiable and accurate, so only use the Internet as a place to gather information. Don't expect a car buyer to take Wikipedia's word for how much you think you should get for your antique car at auction.

Next, look for a business that specializes in the sale or acquiring of antique cars. Reputable auction houses or luxury car dealers are sometimes a good way of determining true worth. If one of these organizations is a member of an antique car organization or appraisal system, feel confident in the information they provide. Always check to see if they are a member of the Better Business Bureau and look up reviews and their rating online.

If you are looking for appraisal services for insurance purposes or for other legal documentation, it will be necessary to go to a licensed appraiser. Every state has licensing programs for individuals in this profession and there is a set of rules and guidelines that must be followed if an appraiser is licensed by the Appraisal Foundation.

Continue to research through this process. It is important for you to understand the ratings used to appraise a classic car and many publications and magazines, such as The Ultimate Collector Car Price Guide published by Cars and Parts Magazine, Antique Car Appraisal, and Collector Car Values are great sources for obtaining information on your particular vehicle along with the ratings certified appraisers use in the process.

Classic car ratings used in the appraisal process vary from excellent, fine, very good, good, restorable and parts car. They are dependent on vehicle condition, mileage, restoration methods, etc. Know that an excellent rating usually only applies to cars that were originally show cars and never driven. These types of cars are very rare and a restored car will not fall into this category.

While it is probably unlikely you could assign one of the classic car ratings to your own car, it is important for you to be open minded and honest to an appraiser about vehicle history and maintenance. If you are up front about past issues with your antique car, you are more likely to get more in an appraisal situation in the long run.

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