VALUATIONS & APPRAISALS
Using Patent Numbers in
Even rookie investors in antiques and collectibles appreciate the importance of age in determining the value of an object. Frequently one finds that sellers guess-timate the age of a piece to show the item in its most favorable light. Weekend collectors--in a post-brunch glow and accompanied by a charming companion--are all too ready to hear the best of an object that has attracted their attention. As we say on the Street: That's what makes a trade.
Dating Antiques & Fine Collectible Objects
But my column is about investment in tangibles--not about entertainment. If you are investing in an object for resale, it is useful to have something more concrete than a distant memory of a hopeful conjecture an enthusiastic dealer made in passing.
In 1836, the US Patent Office opened for business. Makers of things great and small have seen fit over the years to obtain patents for their items or processes. The variety of objects patented is extraordinary--everything from machine motors to earring closures.
What follows on this linked Biddington's page is a sort of vintage chart for patented objects: it cross-references the patent number with the year in which the patent was issued. If an item was produced over a long period of time, this chart will tell you the earliest date it could have been made. If an item was only a flash-in-the-pan, then the age becomes quite specific.
BRITISH CHARTS OF OLD PATENT NUMBERS
BRITISH PATENT NUMBER SEARCH
United States Patent and Trademark Office
UK Intellectual Property Information
European Patent Office
Jake Biddington's Collecting Series:
Art Appraisals and Valuations
Investment Grade Contemporary Art
Jake Biddington Art Investing (Archives):
PPP Test: Judging Quality in Contemporary Art
Art, Time and Technology
American vs. European Paintings
Jake Biddington's Art as Entertainment
Jake Biddington's Vetted Antiques & Art Shows
Jake Biddington's Patent Numbers as a Dating Tool
Jake Biddington's Hard Assets as Portfolio
Jake Biddington's Buying Fine Jewelry at Auction
Jake Biddington's Long Term Investing
Jake Biddington's Short-Term Investing
Jake Biddington's The Craft of Art
Jake ABOUT THIS FEATURE
Jake Biddington works on The Street and is responsible for the
opinions & information in INVESTING. Young Jake, as he is known
within the virtual BIDDINGTON clan, views art, antiques and collectibles as
stores of value similar to stocks or foreign currencies. He sees these
items as another type of asset in which to place one's money. To that
end he keeps price histories and charting information on various
categories of objects. He views some items as long term investments,
others as items for a quick trade--and he even sees some as short
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