Loss of Value

Tips & Guides Article

This article was published in the March/April 1999 issue of AntiquePrime Magazine & Journal.

For What It’s Worth …

Q. Some of our possessions were damaged. The insurance company wants to repair them rather than replace them. Won’t there be a loss of value?

A. Loss of value (LOV) is the amount of worth an item loses due to damage. However, LOV cannot be determined until the item has been professionally repaired or professionally restored. After the repairs are completed, the quality of the repair is also taken into consideration. Typically, the better the repair job, the lower the loss of value. Mathematically, the loss of value is calculated with the following formula: LOV equals value of the item before damage minus value of item after repairs.

Depreciating property (most furniture and bric-a-brac) normally does not suffer LOV after being professionally repaired. Appreciating property, such as antiques, might suffer LOV. There are several factors that appraisers consider when determining LOV in appreciable property. 

  • Pre-existing condition. Pre-existing repairs or damage similar to the new damage can minimize or negate LOV. For example, one new chip to the rim of a cut glass vase which already had several chips would not cause any measurable LOV.
  • Severity of damage. There is a difference between a minor scratch and a missing drawer. A replaced leg on an 18th Century highboy is significant, but a repaired surface scratch on the same piece is not a major drawback. 
  • The type of damage. Is this type of damage normally acceptable to collectors? Glass and ceramics in pristine condition are more desirable and command higher prices than damaged pieces. When it comes to antique furniture, however, collectors are more forgiving and accepting of repairs and restorations.
  • Quality of repairs. Invisible repairs using appropriate restoration techniques are vital to preserving the integrity and value of a damaged piece. Any deviation from this desired level of professionalism will adversely affect the repaired item’s final value.

Your possessions may or may not suffer a LOV. You might consider having an appraiser examine them before and after the repairs are made to determine if there is any loss in their value.


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