People collect miner's lamps and mandolins in vintage boom

vintage guitar casesGetty Images

In the midst of Britain's vintage boom, people's vintage possessions go far beyond the traditional fine wine (5%). They extend to books (39%), musical memorabilia (33%) and furniture (27%). Even things people already own such as a jacket or tea set are now being considered 'vintage' by 27%, more than half having owned them for over 20 years.

But you need to be aware of the value of heirlooms and other vintage possessions, and get them insured if they are very valuable. There have been some mishaps, for example a dog ate a family bible that had been passed down through generations.
Specialist home and contents insurer Hiscox says consumers are at risk of being underinsured with 57% of people admitting they don't know the monetary value of their own vintage valuables despite thinking they may have increased in price.

Andrew Cheney, senior risk and valuation advisor at Hiscox, says: "Vintage is an aspirational fashion that is not just growing in popularity but also in what is considered vintage. Having worked on the Antiques Road Show and as an auctioneer, I have seen the added value the label of "antique" can bring to an object. The term "vintage" now carries the same influence to make an object stand apart from the crowd and reinforce its value if you can prove its provenance or association. Personal collections have moved beyond particular items like a designer hand bags or bottles of wine to anything from old miner's lamps to mandolins and as people acquire more it is important to understand their true worth."

The dog ate my vintage
As more vintage collections adorn the home the research found it is everyday miss-haps that can end in disaster with 16% of those surveyed having damaged or lost a vintage item at one point. People reported losing their vintage treasure because it was dropped, lost, spilt on, stolen, damaged during repair or transit and even thrown away by unaware relatives.

The research found some interesting mishaps:
  • In one case a woman bought two ancient Chinese rice bowls for £30 only to discover they were worth over £2000, however after this discovery the cleaner broke them
  • A dog chewed the family Bible that had been passed down through generations.
  • A vintage ring hidden in a shoe was sent to a charity shop

Cheney adds: "It is important to understand the history behind vintage items whether they are bought, inherited or given as gifts and take practical steps to protect them. Vintage items are often thought of as an antique; however the real value is rooted in their provenance or association. For example, the value of a vintage guitar is for the most part reliant on its time and place in history and then being able to prove it. I remember visiting one home and was shown a well-used guitar and asked how much it might be worth. It was just a reasonably standard electric guitar, but the owner claimed it was worth £120,000 and produced a photo showing a member of the Eagles playing the instrument which proved its value."

Here is a checklist for valuables:
  • Keep a written record or collection journal of all vintage purchases including the item's name, provenance, a brief description, date of purchase, and vendor
  • Ask for proof of provenance when purchasing a vintage item and keep it safe
  • Notify your insurer or your broker of any significant new acquisitions
  • Get a professional valuation every three years to guarantee that the insured value reflects current market trends
  • Keep a copy of your professional valuation with your broker, bank or solicitor for safekeeping
  • Take major items to an appropriate specialist shop each year to check them, ensuring for example with jewellery that clasps and settings are in good condition or stamps are stored appropriately
  • Have your vintage items cleaned professionally as doing it yourself or giving it to an amateur to clean might cause damage that could reduce the value of your item
  • Where possible, keep items in a suitable safe
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