How can I find the value of old documents from the late 1800-1940s online?

Christine S August 4, 2013

I was given a box full of old papers, documents, records, old menus from well known hotels and was given the task to research and place a value, if any on the items.

How can I best utilize the web to find such information? Google is great, but I don’t always know the correct way to word things for a successful search. Also are there alternative search engines that I can safely use? Anything in the deep web?

Thanks ever so much, Christine

  1. Guy M
    August 6, 2013 at 7:49 pm

    Antiques Roadshow requires you to show up at one of their tapings and stand in line for hours on end. Possibly not the best way.

    Being a collector, I would recommend looking for organizations that certify antique appraisers. By contacting the certifying organization, they will be able to tell you if there is someone in your area, and possibly what their rates are.

    A search for 'antique appraisal' and your location should bring up a good list to start with.

    Keep in mind that if the appraiser runs an antiques shop, they may under-appraise to get you to sell to them, and then they can sell at the market price.

    You may also want to contact your insurance company as they will have appraisers as well.

    If you're just looking for ball-park figures, each of those types of items have collectors' groups online. Often they will have a buy-and-sell page where you can see similar items and what people are asking for them. So you might search for 'menu collector forums' or something similar. You can get similar information by searching eBay for similar items and seeing what they sold for.

  2. dragonmouth
    August 5, 2013 at 2:06 pm

    If you are in the United States contact the Antique Roadshow TV show.

    • Christine S
      August 6, 2013 at 8:26 am

      I see hrs. later my reply to dragonmouth is lost, to sumerize;
      WoW seriously that easy? Thats fabulous although since
      the pofit is not mine i am doing this to help me become more proficient with the web and researching and the google search lingo but a bone is a bone and i will gratefullly take your advice, christine

  3. Oron Joffe
    August 5, 2013 at 1:54 pm

    I suspect what you need is an expert, rather than "the wisdom of the crowds", so use Google to search for an antiquarian in the area (meaning, in the subject, period and geographical area that the papers are from) and contact him/her for a valuation. Sometimes, there's no substitute for people!

    • Christine S
      August 5, 2013 at 6:08 pm

      Yes your absolutely correct and again i still need to "find" the right expert and thats where i was hoping the internet would help so im not driving off all half cocked. And im doing this as a favor and learning experience to become more adept at pulling information from the internet. Thanks so much, christine