What is my Longaberger Basket Worth?
For many Longaberger Collectors, the idea of trying to place a value on their Longaberger Basket or Baskets may be overwhelming, but it really doesn’t need to be if you know which questions to ask and where to find the answers. The questions are as simple as looking at that wonderful maple basket you’re holding in your hands right now. To keep the guide as clear as possible, we will only talk about Longaberger Baskets and save the topics of specific collections, pottery, wrought iron and such for another time. Ready? Well, here we go….
When trying to determine the value of your Longaberger Basket ask yourself these Questions:
- Is it Rare?
- What is the Condition?
- Which of the available Accessories do I have?
- Is it signed by a Longaberger Family Member?
#1. Is it a Rare Basket? There are several factors that may be used to determine if a Longaberger Basket is rare. Here are some of things to consider:
- Is your basket retired or part of Longaberger’s current line? From a collector’s stand point if the basket is still being made and readily accessible then it isn’t as valuable. However, some older basket forms that are still being produced may be in a retired stain (ie. dark, classic, natural, whitewash, etc.) which can add value.
- Was your basket part of a Collection? Speciality baskets would include Hostess Only Baskets, Feature Baskets and Special Collections or Lines. Hostess Only Baskets are generally only available to those that host a show with orders of $250 or more. Feature Baskets are special baskets that are available to everybody but for a very limited time (usually only a couple of months). Special Collections include lines such as the All-American, Autumn Reflections, Blue Ribbon, Christmas, Collector’s Club, Horizon of Hope, J.W. , May Series, Proudly American and so on. The Collector’s Club Baskets are an excellent example of some of the more rare baskets because they are only available to members of the club. Some of the most sought after baskets the J.W. Miniatures or Minis come from this collection.
- Was it a part of the Regular Line? Most regular line baskets have been made for so many years using the same form that they are readily available on the secondary market. Many are also well used because they were not intended to sit on a shelf and look pretty, so please take this into account.
#2. What is the Condition?
What is the Condition of the Weaves? Try to look over your basket in the best light available and go over it more than once. Look for the following weave problems: Breaks, Cracks, Chips or Scuffs.
Are there any unusual odors or stains? Smoke odors and permanent stains will greatly diminish the value of any basket.
Is there fading or excessive wear? Baskets that are not stored properly tend to fade unevenly. Natural aging is to be expected. But has the basket faded excessively due to being stored in direct sunlight? This will be especially noticeable on any accent or color weaves. Excessive wear would include things such as broken or missing handles, the condition of the weaves and so on.
#3. Which of the available Accessories do I have? Much like the options on a car will add to it’s resale value, so will the addition of accessories to your basket.
- Original Product Cards or Tags: If the basket had a product card, it is always more desirable to keep it with the basket. They also help to identify the basket years down the road when you may not remember the proper name.
- Plastic Protectors: Protectors were first offered in 1989 on a few baskets. They are now available for every basket, and help so much in protecting and preserving your special basket.
- Fabric Liners: Liners were first offered in 1984. They really dress up the basket and help to make it more unique to it’s owner while also allowing for a variety of decorative styles. Collectors prefer the official Longaberger liners for their rare baskets, and if you have the original plastic bag for the liner that’s even better.
- Tie-Ons: Tie-Ons really give the basket that finishing touch. Most tie-ons are made of Longaberger Pottery, but some are made of metal or pewter such as some of the Horizon of Hope tie-ons. All tie-ons come in their own little box so if you still have the box–keep it.
- WoodCrafts Lids: A WoodCrafts Lid is a nice way to top off your basket and possibly to hide the contents. If a lid was offered for your basket, you’ll probably want it.
- Original Box and/or COA: Not all baskets come with a box or COA (Certificate of Authenticity), but most, if not all, of the Collector’s Club baskets do. An original collector’s club box and certificate of authenticity will add much to the value of your basket.
#4. Is it signed by a Longaberger Family Member? Many collectors love to go to the Longaberger Homestead or Factory for basket signings. It’s really not much different from having a favorite book signed by the author, or a work of art signed by the artist. All baskets are initialed and dated by the weaver, but a family signature gives the basket special touch. So…who are some of the more collected signatures?
- Dave Longaberger: Dave was the founder of the Longaberger ® Basket Company. He ran the company up until a few months before his death in 1999.
- Grandma Bonnie: Grandma Bonnie is Dave’s mom, and the inspiration for many of the company’s baskets such as the 1998 Grandma Bonnie Two Pie Basket and all of the May Series Baskets.
- Tami Longaberger: Dave’s oldest daughter and the current CEO of the Longaberger ® Basket Company.
- Rachel Longaberger : Dave’s younger daughter. She heads up the Longaberger Foundation.
- Dave’s Siblings: Genevieve #1, Wendy #2, Jerry #3, “Larry” #4, Richard #6, Maryann #7, Judy #8, “Ginny” #9, Gary #10, Carmen #11 and Jeff #12. The numbers after their names stand for their birth order. Dave was #5.
Where can you find the answers?
The most helpful source available, that I know of, is The Bentley Collection Guide®. It offers pictures, information, dimensions and the “going” values on almost every Longaberger Basket and accessory. The Bentley Guide is well worth the investment for any collector, but you may also be able to check one out at your public library. They were published once a year (normally in May or June). Now the guide is only available with an online subscription.
For resale value you might try looking up your baskets on sites such as eBay, while keeping in mind that will be fluctuations in value according to the season and state of the economy.