When do you restore an item? Do you leave it well enough alone or do you restore it? These are questions that you will hear when you are dealing antiques and collectibles, and it can be kind of hard to know what to do.
The first thing to know is how much the item is worth—both in its current form and what it will be worth after the restoration. An effective way to do that is to get an appraisal on the item. Ask the appraiser to give you an appraisal on both before and after values to see if it is worth it to restore the item.
If the item’s value will go up after the restoration, you need to keep in mind on what the item is. If it’s something that you don’t feel comfortable restoring yourself (like a rug or a painting), then you will need to find a good conservator to help you out.
Be careful though—restoring an item could get to be a very expensive proposition. I’ve seen restorations go from as little as $500 (for a painting) to well over $50,000 (for a car). To help figure out what it will cost to restore your item, I would contact people who do restorations to get an estimate on what to expect.
The last thing to consider is if you want to do the restoration or to just do a few simple repairs to the item—after all, all the item may need is a good cleaning and one or two new items on it.