Various Antique Tips


Coins should be left in "found" condition. Cleaning makes them less desirable to collectors.

Ceramics can be washed with soap and water, but only wipe gently with a damp cloth if they are repaired, damaged, or have cold-painted decorations.

To polish brass make a paste of equal parts of salt, flour and vinegar. Rub on brass with a soft cloth. Rinse completely. Shine with a clean, dry, soft cloth.

Store plastic toys or other plastic items away from the heat, not touching one another.

Don't use plastic bubble wrap to store silver and ceramics. Heat and humidity can cause permanent discolorations.

Rearrange lamps and decorative items on wooden tabletops. If you don't, exposed wood will lighten and unexposed wood will remain dark after time.

Porous pottery and ironstone can be cleaned with wig bleach obtained from a beauty salon.

Clean mildew on wooden furniture with a cloth moistened with one cup water mixed with one tablespoon bleach and one tablespoon liquid dishwashing detergent. Dry with a clean cloth.

To remove unpleasant smell from an old chest of drawers, use baking soda, cat litter, or charcoal chips to absorb the odor.

Tin signs or cans will fade in ultraviolet sunlight, or fluorescent light.

White powder forming on glass or pottery with a lead glaze is poisonous. Remove the item!

Marble sculptures will discolor from pollutants if near a window or an active fireplace. They may scorch or crack near a heater.

Lemon juice will remove the remains of gum, adhesive tape, and other sticky tapes.

If you scorch a textile while ironing, rub a cut onion over the scorch, then soak cloth in cold water for one hour. Rewash and try again.

Do not store foods or beverages in crystal bowls or bottles for long periods of time. Vinegar, acidic juice, and alcoholic beverages will leach the lead out of the glass.

Do not use olive oil to polish a wooden bowl, or it will turn rancid. Wash and rinse bowl well if using an olive oil salad dressing.

If displaying paper items, remember that light of all kinds (electric and sunlight), will eventually harm paper.

To clean antique ivory, dust with a soft cloth or brush, and use a clean woolen cloth to buff it.

Do not polish dark antique bronze or you will destroy the old patina and lower the value of the piece.

Chlorine in cleaning products products will harm bronze items displayed in a room where these products are used.

When storing old toys remember to remove the batteries first.

When repairing dolls remember that changing the original hair in any way will lower its value.

Glass Christmas ornaments should never be stored in a damp basement. Mildew will cause damage.

Antique clocks must be cleaned and lubricated every five years. To set most clocks, hold the minute hand in the center, turn it clock-wise, wait for each strike. Wind fully each time, but do not over-wind.

To clean glass with an irridescent finish, use cool water and very little mild soap.

Never display grandfather clocks near a heat register or radiator. Be sure to attach them to the wall for safety. Most old grandfather clocks have a small hole for a screw inside on the backboard.

A signature on a piece of cut glass adds at least 25% to the value, but it can be difficult to find.

Clean antique cloth dolls by gently vacuuming through a layer of nylon net. Do not vacuum silk.

Clean andirons using liquid metal polish and 0000-grade steel wool to remove resin caused by smoke.

Polish old carved furniture using paste wax applied with a stenciling brush. Buff using a shoe brush