Skip to Main Content

Researching Antiques and Collectibles: Searching with Google

Learn how to research the provenance and value of your antiques & collectibles.

Key Word Searching

Try an image search when determining what you have.  Here are some tips on how to choose good keywords:

1.       Think about what you're trying to find
2.       Choose words that you think will appear on the page
3.       Put yourself in the mindset of the author of those words


Word order matters: Natural Sequence- how would you say it?

What doesn’t matter (with some exceptions for special characters):

X Spelling                    
X  Special characters: @#$%^&*()=+[]\             

Refine Your Search

1.       Keep it simple! Start by typing the name of a thing, place, or concept that you're looking for.
[ antique sewing machine ]    
[ antique German saucer ]    
[ depression glass ]

2.       Add relevant words if you don't see what you want after doing a simple search.
First try: [ bowl ]   
Better: [ ceramic bowl ]    
Best: [ orange ceramic bowl german ]

3.       Choose descriptive words. The more unique the word is the more likely you are to get relevant results.    
Words that are not very descriptive, like "document," "website," "company," or "info," are usually not needed.

4.       Try words that a website would use to describe what you're looking for. 
Not ideal: [ i need to sell my antiques ]   
Not ideal: [ where can i sell my stuff ]    
Better: [ antique vendors ]

5.       Use only the important words rather than a full sentence or question.
Not ideal: [ places where you can buy antique bowls ]  
Better: [ ceramic antique bowl store ]

Image Searching

Google Image Search allows you to insert a photograph into the search bar and pull up similar images:

1. Click on the camera in the Google Image search bar:


2. You can upload your own digital photograph from your computer:

3. Google will pull up similar images, and you may get a match to your item: