There are various types of furniture that you can get in all different styles dating back hundreds of years, but how can you tell which pieces are the real McCoy, and which ones are replicas, or later models?
Also, when is a piece of furniture classified as an antique, vintage, or just old?
Well here some things that you can look out for when you want to buy an antique or sell one that you think is an antique so that you don’t get taken for a ride:
When looking at a piece of furniture there are certain categories that yours can fall under. The first is second hand furniture, which is dated from the 1920’s through to the 1950’s and many people do mistake these styles for antiques, as many designs were reused during this time.
True antiques are more than 100 years old are found in the following conditions. Then you get utilitarian furniture, which are old pieces that are ideal for everyday use, but that museums have no interest in such as joint stools and dry sinks.
The next category is the decorative, which are items that are intricate and usually better quality than furniture of today, normally Louis XIV revival, or Baker furniture.
Then you get the museum pieces which are too fragile to be used and are just displayed as part a collection. These are normally medieval, French, Tudor style or Louis XIV.
When you are looking to buy an antique there are many things that you must look for and if you are not sure about where to start or if you are concerned that you are looking at a replication and not the real thing, then you should get an appraisal expert to help you.
Sometimes you will also find true antiques sitting in your grandmother’s attic or perhaps a local second hand store will have something antique that they don’t know the true value of. This is the perfect time to buy as you will be making a sold investment. When you choose to buy something antique, however, remember to always look for the quality of the piece and if it needs to be refinished find out exactly what needs to be done first.
As mentioned above a true antique is more than 100 years old, but some stores value furniture older than 50 years as antique and fine antique dealers will label items antique if they are more than 150 years old. The best way to find out is get the exact age of the piece.
The value of the piece will be determined by various factors including the artistry, the conditions of the piece, and the country it comes from. Most antiques you will find come from England and France, but this will also depend on where you are located. In the West people consider antiques any pieces that came across the mountains, in the East, the Queen Anne furniture are considered antiques, while in the South of America, an antique is something dating back to before the Civil War.
When looking at antiques you will not find any pieces (or maybe very few) that are originals from the 1500 or 1600, but you will find genuine reproduction pieces from this era which are also very valuable. To spot an antique you can also look at various things like the joinery. You will be able to tell if a machine was used or not, and machine made furniture was not made until the 1860’s. You can also look at the saw marks, because any rounded or circular markings could not have been made until this time as well. Before 1860 a plane, drawknife, or spokeshave was used which all cause straight saw markings.