Valuemystuffnow.com is an Internet service that values your art
and antiques online. Their team of experts values items in
over 30 specialist categories, and has valued over 15,000
since the launch of the business in Autumn 2009, attracting
over 9,000 customers. Their experts
all come from the main auction houses and typically have
thirty years of experience in their fields.
Digger talks to Patrick van der Vorst about this
fantastic new service that is going to revolutionise the way
we look at and evaluate our heirlooms and valuables.
4 inches, Width: 6 inches
believe everything you read at the moment
about the value of Michael Jackson items.
Since his untimely death, a huge amount of
memorabilia has appeared on the market,
value of autograph items varies widely,
depending on the item that has been signed
and the condition of it.
'standard' autograph like this, i.e. in an
autograph book, which is a little worn, is
at the lower end of the value spectrum.
However, it's a nice extra detail in knowing
when and where the autograph was obtained.
Patrick: Hi David. How are you?
Digger: I'm diving back into work after a Retro
weekend! You must be busy at the moment?
Patrick: It is, but slightly calming down for the summer.
Digger: That was an impressive figure you gave me the other
day. 15,000 valuations online since you launched in the
Patrick: I know. We have just gone over 9,000 customers that
have used our service. Over the weekend, which is great.
Digger: And once you have a new customer then they carry on,
Patrick: Yes, we have about a third repeat custom, which is
good. I was told that, apparently, over The Internet traffic
goes right down in July and August.
Digger: Of course, you have to build all that into your
business model and plan your holidays and revamping of the
site and so on at that time, I suppose?
Patrick: Yes, exactly.
Digger: I should imagine one of the busiest times is
Patrick: Autumn Ė September, October, November and then
the first half of December. The actual Christmas period is
quiet because people have other things on their mind.
Craddock, The Savoy Cocktail Book, One Volume,
Limited Edition, Signed by the Author
colour illustrations and decorations by Gilbert
Rumbold and the original art deco binding of
decorated cloth with top edge gilt. The design
of this classic work was intended to complement
the art deco of the American Bar at the Savoy.
The author, the most famous cocktail barman of
the twenties and thirties, was an American who
had come to London in 1920 to escape from
Prohibition. This appears to be one of the
limited edition of 750 copies in the original
high art deco binding and thus very rare. This
could be an important book which should be
checked first hand by a book specialist.
Digger: A good time to invade Britain. Everybody sitting comatose
in front of the telly with a swollen belly. (Both laugh) To
the questions. Please tell us a bit about the background to
Value My Stuff Now.
Patrick: The background is sort of tied in to my background
more or less, when I was working at Sotheby's heading up the
furniture department. I did notice that a lot of people feel
intimidated to pick up the phone to an auction house or to a
dealer and simply ask what their item is or how much itís
worth. So, I noticed a very basic need to come up with
something very simple for people to use Ė something that
wasnít intimidating. And thatís where the idea of the
website came from.
Digger: Itís amazing and beautiful in its simplicity.
Iím surprised it hasnít been done before.
Patrick: There are sites that do jewellery valuations,
silver valuations, painting valuations but thereís not a
one-stop place that does the sort of valuations at the level
that we do.
Digger: People need it to be a really simple approach,
Patrick: I think so, yes.
Digger: I like your 1, 2, 3 approach which is reminiscent of
the companies that send out DVDs.
Patrick: Oh yes.
Digger: That sort of format works in peopleís heads.
Patrick: Yes, yes, yes, exactly.
Digger: They donít want it to be complicated and they want
to do it all at one time and place.
Patrick: Because I think thereís always a bit of a myth
around the antiques world that itís untransparent and
people donít know quite whatís happening. And are the
auction houses really honest and always good, and the same
goes for the dealers. And we sort of take all these misconceptions
away and make the whole process transparent.
Digger: The good thing for you is that antiques are very
much in the public consciousness by virtue of the many
programmes there are about them on telly. Thatís a great
advert for you.
Patrick: Itís true.
Digger: I wonder if itís more in this country than other
Patrick: I would imagine so, yes, with the possible
exception of the USA.
Digger: I go to Ireland a lot and you donít quite get the
same as here. The same in many European countries. A lot of
the objects and heritage seems to get recycled and doesnít
seem to filter through the generations. We seem to hoard and
pass down things more here. So, can you go through the
mechanism for valuations for us?
Patrick: You upload at least one, or preferably a few more
photographs of your item. The better the photos the more
accurate, of course, we can be with our valuation. And then
you provide us with any text or information you have about
the item, like if you know any provenance, even if you know
who executed the piece or where you might have got if from,
when and how much it cost you. Or what your grandparents
said about it, or whatever. And then you pay the flat fee,
which is starting from £3.89 per item. That is if you buy ten
credits, otherwise for one item itís just £4.99. And then
you submit it, so itís a very simple process.
Digger: Then itís valued? And if you canít value it for
whatever reason then you give a refund?
Digger: Have you had any feedback from people when theyíve
had it valued as to how accurate you were when they
subsequently sold an item?
Patrick: Very positive, to be perfectly honest. In the nine
months weíve been trading we have only had two complaints
as regards to value itself and that was mainly that we
valued it slightly lower than they sold it at. I think one
was that we valued it at £400-£600 and then they sold it
at £1,100, but then thatís also market forces because it
happened at auction. It can double or triple if you just get
the right people in the right auction bidding against each
Digger: You've done 15,000 valuations so far?
Patrick: Yes, with 9,000 customers.
British Dominions 'Empire' Motor Policy enamel
Service Agent - Eagle Star & "British
Dominions" Insurance Company",
enamelled in colours and depicting a racing
car at high speed and worded to front
"Empire Motor Policy", in rope
pattern borders, the lower section worded
"Free Towing, Instant Repairs, Assets
5 feet, Width: 3.5 feet
is a lovely and very collectable advertising
sign, very popular with car memorabilia
your sign is not in great condition: chips to
the enamels, the worn edge, the rust patches
and overall surface wear.
our estimate had to take this into account and
reflects this condition issue. That said, it
is a very smart piece and still would do well
Digger: Wow. Where are the experts from?
Patrick: Theyíve all worked for Sothebyís, Christies or
Digger: Well, you canít say fairer than that, can you?
Patrick: At the end of the day, itís like any other world I
should imagine, with quite a tight network of people and
most of them are in their late 50s, early 60s and theyíve
just retired or taken early retirement. Then itís ideal,
because they can work from home and for me itís great
because theyíve got literally 25 or 30 years of experience
under their belts.
Digger: Itís brilliant. Ití so simple and itís working
well so I congratulate you on that.
Patrick: Thank you.
Digger: I was talking to a dealer the other day who said he
gets a lot of calls asking for valuations and assessments
which he canít deal with. Is that the sort if referral
Patrick: Yes, definitely.
Digger: Iíll mention that to some of my contacts as well.
Patrick: Sothebyís are actually forwarding business to us
Digger: Thatís good.
Patrick: Because they donít want to get involved anymore
with items below £3,000.
Digger: Did you ever bump into Stephen Maycock?
Patrick: Oh yes.
Digger: I chatted with him when he was the Rock and Roll
auctions expert at Sothebyís, because my main passion is
Patrick: Well, being honest he actually works on the site.
He does our pop memorabilia.
Digger: Thatís nice to know. He was thinking of retiring.
Patrick: He still works for Bonhams as a consultant. A very
Digger: What are the most enjoyable aspects of what you do?
Patrick: Itís seeing a flow of different items every day.
Digger: It must be great fun because you donít know
whatís coming next and youíre making people happy.
Because people like to know that their items are worth
Patrick: Sometimes itís interesting when we get things
that we donít know anything about. Over the weekend, we got
an American 1920s cash register. And suddenly you find out
that could be worth $800. You do learn a heck of a lot with every
day that goes by.
Digger: What's the most expensive item you've valued?
Patrick: The most expensive item was a painting that we
valued three weeks ago. It was a Claude Monet.
Digger: Wow. Someone sent you photos of a Monet?!
Patrick: I know! They knew what it was and we valued that at
£1million to £1,500,000.
Digger: Wonderful. And you charged them £4 odd for the
Carat Gold 1965 Westminister Abbey 900th
Anniversary Commemoration Medallion designed
by Michael Rizzelo, 127g, In Original Case
metals, as you realise, can fluctuate wildly,
and present markets although high can alter
dramatically and so it is difficult to value
this long term.
of these types of medallions were issued as
investments, and some have proved to be
investments only because gold prices have
are companies which buy gold as scrap, but
this will appeal more to coin and medallion
collectors as a cased medal and therefore
realise more in a specialist auction.
Patrick: Yes, but, to be perfectly honest, our experts said it was
easier to value than a lot of the smaller
Digger: But it would be interesting if you were on an
eBay-type business model and you were on a commission for
Patrick: Yes, but the reason we valued that was because the
customer had already valued ten or fifteen things with us
before. And he didnít want to go to one of the auction
houses to get it valued because he said ďIf I had my Monet
valued there then I know that every few months theyíd be
on the phone to me to see if I want to sell it or do a
proposal for me.Ē He knew that once weíd valued it then
Digger: Can it be anonymous in that way?
Patrick: It is completely anonymous. Because we donít ask for the
address. We do ask for a first name and surname. I know
that, even so, some people use dummy names on there.
Digger: How much does the service typically cost?
Patrick: £4.99 for a single item and cheaper per item if
you go for bundles we offer.
Digger: Thatís a good rate. How did you come up with that?
Patrick: Itís difficult to pitch it at the right level but
I think a fiver is where it should sit. More, then people
might be a bit hesitant or try to find the answer themselves
which wouldnít always be accurate or satisfactory.
Digger: That price is key. Itís affordable and good value
and so youíll get lots of people going for it. Never mind
having a few high-end customers, your model will get you
many customers and repeat customers as well.
Patrick: Then hopefully what will happen down the line is that we can keep those prices but we can have other revenue
streams on the side like advertising or whatever.
Digger: What plans do you have for the future of Value My
Patrick: To move into different countries. So we launched in
the USA a month ago and thatís already 40% of our customer
Digger: Have you got a physical presence there?
Patrick: No, itís all based here. We donít need
Digger: Thatís great, you can run your empire from
Victoria! (Both laugh) I think itís a real winner.
Patrick: Letís hope so.
Digger: Will we be seeing you advertising like the confused
people or the compare people or the Meerkat people?
Patrick: Who knows? (Laughs) I think maybe one can do those
things after two years. Two years of experience and with
everything running smoothly, the experts are happy, the
customers are happy. Then we can go for the big things.
Digger: Itís a great model. Iím just launching a new
online venture too so I hope weíll be able to meet up in a
yearís time and compare notes. At some posh west end hotel
Patrick: Drinks on me or you?
Digger: On me, definitely. You can buy the meal. I look
forward to it. Your model is great, people send photos, a
description and any background and they get a valuation
back. Itís simple for people to understand and use. And if
your experts donít know, they say they donít know. But
the vast majority of the time they do know. Itís just a
Patrick: Thatís true.
Digger: You just have to keep your overheads down, I
Patrick: Itís sort of a balance really, because you have
to keep pushing it. So every penny we make goes back into
Digger: Best of luck and Iím really excited about what
youíre doing and you sound very relaxed. (Both laugh) But
thereís obviously a lot going on there. I think youíre
going to do really well out of this.
Patrick: Letís hope so.
Digger: The British are so into their antiques and the
Americans to an extent.
Patrick: I think itís a matter of credibility. I think
once people know that they can take us seriously and that
the expertise they get back is very serious, then I think it
could really take off.
What would be ideal was if you could get a reference or an accreditation
on one of the main antiques shows on TV. On British TV they
don't do that sort of thing, of course.
Maybe we can advertise on one of the channels one day, who
knows? If ever you're in London, do drop me a line and we'll
Yes, we'll sort something out. It sounds good. I am a Londoner
originally, coming from Chelsea, so I do go back there from
time to time. Great talking to you.
And thanks for the images. Iíll include those in the
feature. And we'll catch up face-to-face. Take care.
Patrick: Thank you David.
Beer starry sky motion lighted sign
twinkling and displaying frosty mugs and
the word "Hamm's"
16" inches, Width: 20" inches,
Depth: 4" inches
Brewery was established in 1865 in Saint
Paul, Minnesota. They created many
inventive products to advertise their
vintage items are quite popular among
collectors. Yours seems to be in mint
condition and is quite collectable.
Similar examples sold for $300 to $500
over the last few months.
the lighting works properly, I would
expect it to fetch the $400 mark at
your art and antiques online. Our team of experts
values items in over 30 specialist categories:
Ceramics, Furniture, Sports Memorabilia,
Paintings, Oriental Art, Sculpture, Silver, Pop &
Film Memorabilia, 20th Century Design, Toys &
Dolls, Coins, Arms, Armour & Militaria, Medals,
Jewellery, Carpets & Rugs, Clocks & Watches,
Classic Cars, Contemporary Art, Books, Glass,
Drawings, Postcards, Tribal Art, Musical Instruments,
Photography, Prints, Wine, Scientific Instruments,
Tapestries & Textiles, Stamps, Other
Our aim is to provide you with a professional and
informed valuation of your items. We value items which
we have divided into 28 categories and for each
collecting field there is a dedicated expert, in some
cases, more than one. All our experts are based in
England and have worked for Sotheby's, Christie's or
one of the other major London auction houses. As well
as our expert team we have many contacts covering
various areas of expertise which enables us to provide
you with an accurate identification of your objects
and a valuation based on their experience and
knowledge of current auction prices. As we don't buy
or sell any items, nor advise as to where to buy or
sell your collectables, our valuations are completely
unbiased and objective. Rest assured, all data and
images that you send to us will be kept securely and
treated with the utmost discretion and
It's quick and easy to get an expert valuation...
1. You upload a photo
You upload the photos of your item and add any
information you have.
2. We assign an expert
We assign your item to the appropriate expert from
our experienced team.
3. You receive a valuation
Within 48 hours you will receive a full valuation
report or your money back.
You can call us on (+44) 207 869 51 37
You can also send your letter to:
Value My Stuff Now Ltd.