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

What to do with inherited antiques

Q: My sister and I inherited our mother's antique doll collection and we want them appraised. A: Our reader adds that mother was an antiques dealer who bought, sold and repaired dolls. Please excuse me while I climb on my soapbox for a brief rant.

To fix or not to fix? Simple research can tell you what flaws are acceptable to buyers

Q: When selling antiques or vintage, is it generally best to repair items or sell as is? A: Our reader asks a significant question. Watch enough sessions of PBS's "Antiques Roadshow" and you become convinced that any retouch of an antique is taboo.

Fine salesman's samples are highly collectible

Q: I have a small display cabinet 21.5 in. high x 12 in. wide. A: Looking at images sent, a casual observer could think that the reader's piece is a circa 1900-1920s china cabinet in a popular style with a half-round wooden frame.

With laws still in flux, sales prospects for ivory are dim

Q: I bought this carved ivory tusk at an estate sale about six years ago. A: Based on images sent, I think this reader has more to worry about than if ivory can be sold and/or shipped.

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.

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