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

Vintage postcards still sell if they pack a visual punch

Q: My grandfather was in WW I and brought back postcards from places he visited, such as Versailles, tourist attractions and bombed out houses.

Details loom large for Steiff bear hunters

Q: I've tried to ID my teddy bear, but no luck. A: The bear seen in an image sent is light-haired with fluffy fur and pad feet. To clue readers, Margarete Steiff was a German dressmaker whose first bear in 1884 stood in all fours.

Simple research can reveal sales prospects for dinnerware

Q: Any suggestion about how to sell my Goldhill by Noritake china service for 12? A: Our reader adds that the china has been used just a few times and has been washed only by hand.

For unusual items, database can help you cut to the chase on price

Q: What is value of my antique cheese cutter? A: Just from the description, we can tell that this reader has no run-of-the-mill home slicer. A photo sent shows an early store slicer from around 1900. That's the basic cutter.

Reader may have landed a treasure simply by buying what she liked

Q: Several years ago, I bought a hand-woven rug at a thrift store. A: Our reader adds that the rug involves 99 blocks of geometric designs. I think this is a smart collector who made a smart find.

Family lore may or may not be true, but dates don't lie

Q: This cast iron pot has been passed down in my family for several generations. A: First, a sincere thanks to this reader for highlighting raised letters on the large cast iron pot we see in images sent. They read "No.

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