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

Sheer charm can have a heady impact on price

Q: Decades ago, my father came upon this painting on tin at an antique show in Florida.

Age does not spike value for ironstone utility ware

Q: What can you tell me about this platter inherited from my grandparents? A: Noting that "Ltd." is missing from the mark on her ceramic piece, our reader wonders if the wording indicates date of make.

Classic styling keeps Windsor chairs on collectors' radar

Q: What can you tell me about this rocker? A: What a lovely family story! The Windsor is a turned chair, so-called because the narrow spindles that give it a distinctive look are lathe turned.

Don't be hasty when trimming down your treasure trove

Today's queries are from readers who need to downsize. We get a lot of inquiries about selling off long-time treasures, and I can tell you this: The decision to begin downsizing is the easiest part of the process.

Mid-century glass collected, but waxes and wanes in popularity

Q: My sister was given these two vases. A: This reader sent 11 images for a look-see! Both are cased glass; more on that later. Free-form, untraditional shapes and bright color, especially in the tall vase, pegs the pieces as mid-century glass.

Specialist best choice to appraise unusual items

Q: A local appraiser told me that I need further help because my Chinese plate could be worth more than the $600, she estimates. A: Our reader is a smart collector to have called on a certified ISA/GSA appraiser first.

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