Extract from ‘THE LINK’ Written By Gene Klompus
Publish by Adwin Ang
The phone rings. I answer it and the caller describes a pair of vintage or antique cuff links that he or she is thinking about purchasing, In most cases, the candidate pair is being offered at a local antique shop, or on eBay, an estate sale or on the table at a regional flea market. After describing the pair, the caller asks the inevitable question, “What’s it worth?”
I always answer this question by pointing out that there are many different measures of value. Some are more obvious than others. Condition, for example, is a critical factor. If the pair is scratched, rusted, broken, cracked, missing parts or shows signs of repair, the value is diminished. In some cases, the degree of flaw can render the pair worthless!
When considering a pair that was previously owned by a famous person, provenance is a major element of value. No matter what the seller’s claims, nothing can substitute for the credibility of a document or photograph that attests and connects to the celebrity of the previous owner.
Precious metals and/or stones are often the attraction to a particular pair. Buyers who are unfamiliar with the worth of such fine jewelry should seek the advice . of an expert. There are few reliable “rules of thumb”.
The value of a pair of cuff links is often enhanced by the availability of the original box. This is especially true when the box markings make reference to the pair’s designer, maker, country of manufacture, period, original price, hallmarks, etc. The extent to which an original box influences value will vary. Though the amount may be nominal in some cases, the box value can sometimes equal the worth of the cuff links. Some jewelers and auctioneers recall sales in which the appraisal of the box exceeded the value of the article inside. Indeed, there are collectors who specialize in period boxes! .
Age, of course, is a factor in the value of a pair of 0 cuff links. And, it doesn’t just apply to antique pairs. The concept of age also has significance in assessing the value of items less than 100 years old. For example, Art Deco cuff links should be examined for components that are indigenous to the movement’s heydays of the 1920s and 1930s. If the shank size and closure type don’t match the period, the pair may only be Art Deco-style or a reproduction…and worth far less than the real McCoy.
Worth is also influenced by rahty. Cuff links that were custom-made for an individual or an occasion are usually more valuable than those that were . fashioned from a mold or die. And, pairs that were mass produced – stamped out in cookie cutter-like methods – are usually penalized in value for their glut . in the marketplace. Note: Rarity is not synonymous with antiquity. Limited edition cuff links from Worlds Fairs, political races, and shuttle launches are . but a few of many contemporary examples of rarity.
Despite all of the above criteria, there is another measure of value that frequently determines whether the pair will be purchased. It’s simply the buyer’s desire to own those cuff links. Yes, sometimes a pair will have an intangible quality such as nostalgia that makes it irresistible. We have all bought pairs in this category. Some of my phone-callers refer to these as the “I know they’re not worth the price, but I just gotta have them” pairs. We’ve all been there too!
Special thanks to Gene Klompus, http://www.justcufflinks.com/
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