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

Cameos featuring quality materials more valuable than others

Q: Any idea on value for this bone cameo? A: Frankly, the image sent is so blurry that I have a hard time viewing details. The cameo appears to be set as a round brooch.

The value of relics depends on the right buyer

Q: What can you tell me about my desk from the early 1960s? A: Smart collectors know that the issue here is not whether the desk is an antique.

Older Native American pieces considered most authentic and desirable

Q: My dad got this rug in the 1960s. A: The reader adds that dimensions are 6-by-3.5 feet. Our reader IDs the figures as yeis. We asked Steve Begner, of Turkey Mountain Traders in Evergreen, Colo., to check out the image.

Patent dates do not indicate a date of make

Q: What is the value of my old pump organ? A: Seen in an accompanying image, the reader has a late Eastlake style pump organ with spindles set in openwork on the high back.

No separate insurance needed for silver-plated hollowware

Q: I have three pieces of silver plate that I need value on for insurance purposes. A: Our reader adds that all three pieces are from companies that later merged with International Silver.

Age matters when selling political collectibles

Q: My walking cane seems to be made from an actual tree limb. A: Indeed, the cane is a collectible encompassing the genres of political collectibles, militaria and fraternal organizations.

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