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

Clues point the way for the savvy antiques detective

Q: While cleaning out a storage room, I found these two lamps. A: I'm going to challenge readers to see how they might do in response to this query: See how great you are as an antique detective. Clue: The "icicles" are cut drop prisms.

'Created collectibles' do have value for interested buyers

Q: How do I find value of my complete set of "100 Great Events of the 20th Century?" A: Our reader does not tell us who made the set, but I assume that it was a product by the Franklin Mint. Franklin Mint sets were small ingots, not coins.

Consult an expert to verify painting's supposed 'California connection'

Q: I inherited this painting. A: Given that all I have to work with is a long shot of the art hanging on a wall, I can't even verify if it's an oil on canvas.

Quality, condition drive value on vintage chairs

Q: I was given these two chairs and I know nothing about them. A: Seen in a photo showing one chair, the reader has mass production side chairs. I have good news and bad news about chairs.

Incomplete sets can still have significant value

Q: Attached are images of pieces from two tea sets. A: The reader adds that while pieces from both sets are either missing, chipped, or cracked, seven cups and saucers plus coffee and tea pots from the Asian set remain.

Vintage shoes in pairs have the most traction with buyers

Q: Dealing with my mother-in-law's estate, I found one antique ladies shoe, a child's shoe, and two hooks. A: As seen in images, the reader has one ladies high top button shoe with a small heel and one child's boot with buttons and no heel.

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