Danielle Arnet Smart Collector

Danielle Arnet

In her syndicated column, "The Smart Collector," Chicago writer and lifetime collector Danielle Arnet uses reader questions to educate and inform everyone from general interest readers to experienced collectors. "Smart" collectors know the ropes, thanks to her wealth of expertise, essential tools and inside info on how to negotiate through today's changing world of collecting.

Having bought and sold in shops, at auction and on eBay, Arnet knows the ins and outs of collecting from multiple perspectives. Years of collecting and observing, plus contacts with movers and shakers in the world of art and antiques, provide a wealth of sources for her readers. Tech savvy Arnet became "wired" to the exploding popularity of online auctions early on, and she is the only antiques writer to always supply Web and e-mail contacts. Now that 6.5 million new items are listed each day on eBay, online auctions are a valuable tool for collectors. Arnet helps readers find reliable e-sources, and provides tips on how to avoid online scams.

In addition to writing "The Smart Collector," Arnet is a freelance writer and journalist who covers the auction and collecting scene for Maine Antique Digest. She also contributes to several national publications. Her article "Why We Collect," written for Hemispheres (United Airlines), is required course reading at Harvard Law School. Other credits include USA Today (a regular column), USA Weekend, Woman's Day, The Rotarian, Modern Maturity and others. She was a weekly columnist for the Chicago Sun-Times for more than 10 years. She has also served as a regular contributor on Chicago's WBBM-TV and has appeared on WGN Radio in Chicago.

Arnet holds a master's degree and has served as lecturer in the department of comparative literature at Ohio State University. She and her collections reside in a suburb of Chicago.

Danielle Arnet Samples

Collector groups not best sources for price information

Q: I served in the U.S. Air Force, and for some time was stationed in England. A: Our reader already qualifies as a smart collector because he used the Internet to track marks and discover what he has.

Collector crave World's Fair memorabilia

Q: My dad was a manager with IBM and managed their pavilion at the 1963-64 World's Fair at Flushing, N.Y. At the end of the exhibit, he brought home this picture from the People Wall exhibit.

Historical connection can boost value of otherwise minor items

Q: I have a ticket stub from April 1996 that says, "Top of the World at the World Trade Center." A: Ordinarily, ticket stubs from observation decks, restaurants, etc. have only sentimental value.

Start research online to peg value on old books

Q: Any thoughts on value and handling for a book that belonged to my great-grandfather? A: I'm thinking that we need to revisit how to be a smart collector when buying/selling/researching old books.

Not all old (or ancient) things are valuable

Q: How much is Greek pottery like this piece from 400 B.C. worth? A: Attached with this e-query was the image of a vessel in the ancient Greek form called a pelike.

Beauty and condition count most in Victorian whatnot shelves

Q: Any info on a whatnot cabinet from my aunt? A: Enclosed with the query is a small snapshot showing a wall-hanging Victorian display unit. Technically, it's a Victorian multi-level wall whatnot and open display case.

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