As the proud owner of a number of antiques including an original Game Boy and an unopened box of Circus Fun cereal, I’m well aware of the value of those things passed down to us from the ancients. However, when you’re dealing with jewelry and other high-end baubles, the value depends quite a bit on hallmarks, mint marks, and quality notes. This project, called Info-Snap, aims to improve the process of assessing hallmarks in the wild, making anyone a junior antiques detective.
The system works either for smartphone owners – you simply take a picture of a hallmark and the system will look it up for you – and dumbphone owners who can find examples of hallmarks in a research wiki on the fly. You could even snap on a “branded” lens in order to magnify the scene and really get a good look at the little lions rampant and golden pentagrams stamped on fine jewelry and porcelain.
The concept is currently a Nokia IdeasProject and there’s no guarantee that it will ever see the light of day but it definitely would bring a bit of control back to the antiques business. We currently depend on the word of a number of experts who, when they’re good, are prohibitively expensive to hire and when they’re bad will cost you too little or too much when they misvalue your items. This lets everyone be a little bit smarter about the detritus of years past and, although they won’t help me sell the Jimmy Carter commemorative plate my grandmother bequeathed to me, it may allow me to identify the value of my extensive collection of Wacky Wall Walkers.