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

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.

Marked ceramic wares sell best and highest

Q: Any info on two ceramic parrots I inherited from my parents? A: Our reader has a great story. The reader adds that the pair of identical parrots is 8 in. high and that each is marked "Germany," with a mold or model number.

'Keys' open a path to God rather than a door

Q: Can you help me ID these objects? A: Sent with the query are images of two metal objects the reader calls "keys."

Interest soaring for works by African-American artists

Q: Here is a painting that we own. A: Enclosed with this inquiry is a photo of what looks to be a painting hanging on a wall. To clue readers, Henry Ossawa Tanner was the first African-American painter to achieve international recognition.

Top Boehm birds still fly high with collectors

Q: My sisters and I inherited our father's Boehm birds. A: To clue readers, Edward Marshall Boehm was a prolific American sculptor whose studio produced a series of porcelain tabletop figures of birds and wildlife.

Big story trumps small value of family heirloom

Q: I'm wondering if our family heirloom has any intrinsic value. A: Our reader adds that his tray has been in the family for four generations. Seen in images sent, the treasure is a round, double-handle metal serving tray.

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