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

'The Sunrise Ruby' sale breaks world auction record

WHAT: Called "The Sunrise Ruby," the cushion cut stone of almost 26 carats set between two shield shaped diamonds of almost three carats each brought $30.3 million at Sotheby's Geneva this month, breaking the world auction record for the gem.

Zig-Zag bank fetches over $200k at Bertoia auction

WHAT: The early cast iron, tin and cloth Zig-Zag bank soared to $210,000 recently when Bertoia Auctions sold a private collection of early toys and banks. MORE: The Santa-theme bank with original cloth figure is a rare survivor.

Scarlett O'Hara dress draws big bucks at Dallas auction

WHAT: The dress worn by Vivien Leigh as Scarlett O'Hara in "Gone With the Wind" sold for $137,000 last month at Heritage Auctions in Dallas.

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.

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