Many of our readers are metal detecting enthusiasts, as are many of us here at RelicRecord.com. We’re in the woods, fields, and other outdoor areas in search of artifacts and other interesting items. So we thought it would be a good idea to put together a definitive guide on those pesky plants we all fear and respect – poison ivy, poison oak, and poison sumac.

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There comes a point in every collectors’ collecting life when getting a professional appraisal will make sense—determining an item’s value for a sale, for insurance coverage, charitable donations, and estate-planning; or just simply satisfying one’s curiosity of what something is and how much it’s worth.

No matter what you collect, you can find someone to appraise it. The key however, is to find someone who’s qualified. By no means are we appraisal aficionados, but here are a few suggestions to help you get started.

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How much is your collectible or antique worth? If you’re a seller, what price should you assign to an item? If you’re a buyer, how do you know you’re getting a fair deal? Instead of schlepping your items to an appraiser, consider an online valuation service.

Such services typically offer DIY research tools and estimates by professional appraisers and other experts in areas ranging from sports memorabilia and books, to Native American art and even classic cars. It’s important to note, these services offer valuations, not authentications. However, for the purpose of helping buyers and sellers determine a fair price, such services can be very helpful.

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When it comes to negotiating the asking price of an antique, most dealers expect it. Now that’s not to say that every dealer likes it; but again, they expect it. In fact, most dealers have already accounted for what they’re willing to let go in a negotiation by adding extra margin into their asking price.

Keep in mind, however, there are dealers who will not negotiate. Some may attractively price their wares to sell from the start, while others just don’t like to haggle. If you go to enough shows, you’ll quickly learn which dealers have a reputation for sticking to their prices. Knowing this going in, you won’t get caught off guard when they don’t budge on price.

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The Dalton Civil War show has always been one of our favorite shows to attend. This year was no different. There were well over 400 dealers putting their relics and knowledge on full display for the thousands of attendees to enjoy and learn from. Needless to say, it was a tremendous experience.

This show was particularly special for our new company RelicRecord.com, as this was the first show we’ve attended as an exhibitor. I want to thank everyone who stopped by our table to learn about what we’re building and who we’re building it for. We learned a great deal from our conversations with you and it’s our mission to build a product you’ll enjoy as much as your relics. Now we understand that might be a challenge but we’re going to give it our best shot!

If you’ve already entered our raffle for a chance to win Civil War relics, feel free to share this link with friends: relicrecord.com/show. The entry period will remain open until Saturday, February 21st, 2015.

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