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

Age matters when selling political collectibles

Q: My walking cane seems to be made from an actual tree limb. A: Indeed, the cane is a collectible encompassing the genres of political collectibles, militaria and fraternal organizations.

Originals vs. copies: Know your seller

Q: My 1954 Marilyn Monroe calendar titled "Golden Dreams" is marked, "There will be no more such alluring pictures of Marilyn Monroe." A: The reader adds that his matted and framed piece measures about 38 inches x 27 inches.

To repair or not to repair rare furniture

Q: My Mission oak desk has a Stickley and Brandt paper label. A: The reader adds that he wants to sell the desk used as a basement workbench. To clue readers, the desk is from the Arts and Crafts era.

Inscriptions could add value to World's Fair collectibles

Q: I inherited a Swedish hand carved treasure chest made in 1892. A: Our reader adds that, according to inscription on the inside, the chest that measures 20.5 inches high, 37.75 inches wide and 20.25 inches deep was exhibited as a "masterpiece."

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.

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