Kovels Antiques, Inc, the go-to source for antiques and collectibles information since 1953, published a great article on the points to consider for purchasing damaged antiques. Kovel.com suggests, that yes, one can buy damaged antique that still have value with the decision being up to the buyer. The article encourages buyers to ask questions regarding the rarity of a piece, the maker or designer, if a piece will complete a collection and even just asking yourself if you would like the piece.
Kovels.com identifies four particular antique categories that they feel that even if they have damage, they will still have value; art pottery, toys, furniture and jewelry. They write,
"1. Art pottery. While minor damage can reduce a piece’s value, not all signs of aging are bad. Light crazing on pottery doesn’t take away value; sometimes pottery is made to look crazed. A piece of Rookwood with a hole drilled for a lighting cord sells for half the price of the piece without the hole. And any large and attractive Newcomb or Ohr pottery with a chip can have value. Look for pieces with damages that have minimal impact on their beauty. Put flowers in them and let them hide the imperfections!
2. Toys. Few antique and vintage toys are in mint condition and one that has been repainted or improperly restored is worth less than half of a mint toy. But some wear and tear on toys is normal and “good” condition is acceptable. Replacement parts for almost any toy can be found, even the decals that came on the originals. Spring mechanisms can be repaired. Or old toys can be sold to dealers or restorers who want the parts. But keep in mind that a toy with even some of the original paint is worth more than one that has been repainted. A few exceptions are carousel horses and barber poles.
3. Furniture. Antique furniture has use and value and resale prices are high. Most new furniture loses value quickly. Finish is important; destroying it reduces worth. Proper restoration can retain or add value, but sloppy repairs lower value. Broken legs, arms and drawers can be fixed. Hardware can be replaced with other period hardware. Upholstered pieces should be refinished to the period – fabric with big red flowers on a Sheraton sofa will surely lower its value. But if it’s good furniture, it will sell anyway, but at a lower price.
4. Jewelry. Old damaged jewelry can be repaired, restored or repurposed. Hinges, clasps and pin catches can be fixed. Restoration would involve replacing damaged parts with like-period pieces, such as using “old mine” diamonds when called for instead of newer more sparkly ones. Repurposing implies renovating, like making a piece look more modern and fashionable or turning a hatpin into a pin, pendant or hair ornament."
Read the full article here