Record, toy, clock and antiques experts will be offering their knowledge
Every object has a story, and now BBC Leicester are giving you the chance to explore the history behind your most treasured antiques and collectables.
Between 10:00 and 12:00 on Wednesday 27 January 2010 bring your item along to the Open Centre for our valuation day.
Four experts will be on hand, specialising in collectable toys, records, clocks and antiques.
So dig those action figures out from the back of your wardrobe, dust off the old vinyl, and carefully pack that pot!
Toy expert: Joe Hand
Joe's love of old toys started about eight years ago when he picked up some Star Wars figures he remembered from childhood at an auction, "My collecting passion was born and i have never looked back since."
Some of Joe's most exciting finds have been Corgi models
He is yet to have a true "eureka moment", but his most exciting finds so far have been a rare 1970s Stretch Hulk, and some boxed TV related Corgi and Dinky models.
It is important to keep your toys clean and dry, and store them in solid boxes.
"You'd be amazed how many times I have been to view a 'mint' item that has been stored in a garage or loft, only to go to see it and find that a rodent had made the box its home.
"I once found a dead mouse in a Star Wars At-At!"
Joes' top collecting tips...
• Only buy what you like, don't just buy what you think maybe worth more in years to come as values and demand can change sometimes dramatically.
Do you have a hidden Obi Wan-Kenobi figure hidden in your loft?
• Although a box does sometimes alters the price of an old toy by hundreds of pounds, it is worth remembering that most of us remember playing with our toys and not necessarily the box they came in. Loose examples are also quite a lot easier to sell as the prices are more attainable for the man on the street.
• Try and avoid buying incomplete toys as spares may not be available.
• Buy the best you can afford, it is better to have a few really beautiful pieces than a dozen poor or average ones.
• Do your homework just because it is old does not necessarily mean it is a good investment.
• Have fun, collecting is great fun and finding something you have been looking for brings a great deal of satisfaction.
You can find out more about Joe on his
Record expert: Danny Reddington
Danny started his love of music listening to Radio Luxembourg. In 1955 he bought his first record, a Sammy Davis Jnr release; and the rest is history.
This rare Frank Wilson single recently sold for £25,742 on recent auction
Eventually he started holding postal auctions to raise money to buy more vinyl for his own collection. This gave him the selling bug and in the mid-60s he open a record shop in Birmingham.
The shop closed three years ago, but Reddington's Rare Records continues to trade online.
Danny is adament that you should never store record flat, but keep them upright in a room temperature environment. Do not store them in lofts or sheds, where the vinyl can warp and covers damaged by moisture.
Danny's top collecting tips...
• You can buy a book called 'Rare Record Price Guide'. It's a good guide but it's prices are dictated a lot by eBay and other internet sites which go up and down all the time; but it is a guide.
Danny with Led Zeppelin's Robert Plant, just before his shop closed
• Record condition is most essential as in most collectables. No good having a rare LP of Elvis on the HMV label if its worn and the cover is ripped. So condition as well as rarity.
• You can pick up many bargains at car boot sales, church functions etc.
• You can't go wrong in picking up Beatles, Elvis, Rolling Stones and Queen.
• Autographs can help with value. Prices fluctuate all the time on these items. Also it can increase the value if you have authenticity.
• Always enquire with dealers before you dump your collection. You can go to record fayres and check out the dealers there, but don't take first valuation as different areas can vary quite a lot. Also, go into eBay completed items section to get average prices.
• There are many re-presses and bootleg records out there, so always double check.
You can find out more about Danny on his
Clock expert: Elliott Nixon
Elliott's knowledge of clocks largely came from his time working at the British Museum and for the National Trust.
Elliott advises people to only invest in clocks they really like
He said, "It might seem strange but I'm not a collector. Perhaps it's because I spend so much time working on other peoples' collections all over the country that I never really developed the desire to build up a collection of my own."
His most exciting find was a beautiful regulator clock likely made for William Ludlum, a Cambridge mathematician who lived at Kings Norton, Leicestershire in the mid to late 18th Century.
Working mechanical clocks need to be serviced regularly, and more so if they are exposed to heat, rapid temperature changes, dust or bright light.
"Most importantly, always use a qualified person to service your clock. It may seem expensive but it will pay dividends in the long run."
Elliott's top collecting tips...
• The old advice about only buying those things you like is a still the best advice I could give anyone thinking of collecting horological objects.
There can be more value in the maker, than in the condition
• It is also important to become an informed buyer - a little research goes a very long way. As well as the many publications now available, your local museum is always a good source of informed and free advice, as well as national museums.
• If your particular fancy is longcase clocks, then check carefully that movement and case belong to the each other. Look out for would be extra packing under the seat board of the movement or unexplained or excessive gaps around the dial and the case.
• For wooden cased clocks the general rule is that value will always be affected more by the condition of the case than of the movement.
• A brass dial clock is generally more expensive than a painted dial clock and eight-day clocks cost more than 30-hour clocks.
• A well known maker's clocks, even if the specific example is of poorer quality than a similar clock of greater quality, will tend to be more valuable.
Antiques expert: John Gilding
John Gilding is from Gildings Auctioneers in Market Harborough.
This antique desk was discovered in a farmers shed in the late 1990s
One of the most exciting pieces to pass through their auction house was a desk by Gillows of Lancaster, found in a farmers shed in the late 1990s.
He advises collectors always look carefully at what your buying to make sure you don't miss defects and fakes, and that you ask for the correctly worded receipts and guarantees.
Paperwork, such as evidence of past ownership, can enhance the object's value, and condition is also important.
He also stresses the importance of caring for protecting valuable items, by taking out insurance cover and making sure they are not displayed in a vulnerable position for thieves
John's top collecting tips...
• Like what you see; collecting is to be enjoyed.
• Be specific when you are browsing, don't look for too many things at once.
• Watch our for reproductions, repairs and restoration or damage, hair line cracks can so easily be missed.
• There are many avenues to search the value of antiques - books, the internet and valuers at most auction houses who will help.
Listen in to the valuation day on Wednesday 27 January 2010.
Tony Wadsworth will be hosting the event on BBC Leicester - 104.9FM, DAB, and on BBC iPlayer.