Antique Furniture Values – How We Determine Antique Furniture Values

Antique Furniture Values Discovery

Antique Furniture Values

Here is some helpful information if you are trying to determine antique furniture values.

Identifying and valuing antique furniture is one of the most difficult and confusing aspects of all antiquing.  There are many different styles, different time periods, and different types of wood involved.  Everyone who gets involved in antique furniture must learn quite a bit of history in order to be able to identify genuine pieces.

Among the various styles, there is Queen Anne, Tudor, Chippendale, to name but a few, and many of these are similar to each other.  Some were made from oak, some from walnut, from mahogany, and others. Discover also that American walnut is different to English walnut. There are differences between English French and American furniture.  And of course, there are the reproductions, where each antique style is copied very carefully, thus requiring quite a lot of skill in order to tell the difference. At times you will feel like a detective when working out antique furniture values.

If you come across a piece of furniture that interests you, here are a few pointers and tips that should guide you.  As with any type of antique that you may be interested in purchasing, you must examine it meticulously. Never assume that the seller will tell you the complete and honest truth.

Examine it carefully.  Open all the doors and drawers and check inside.  Look for damage to the wood, and signs of where it has been repaired in the past.  Also look for cracks in the wood.  Try lifting it to ensure that it is structurally sound, as you don’t want it to fall apart as soon as you try to move it.  You would definitely expect to find some wear and tear, but this should be minimal.  Look at the finish on the wood, and remember that it was supposed to be made by master craftsmen, so there should be a vibrant sheen on the entire surface.  Check for discoloration on the coated surface and on the wood underneath.  If a section is mismatched somehow, either by shape or colour, then this is usually a sign that the piece has been repaired. Any of these points can affect antique furniture values.

Check every inch of the furniture for manufacturer markings or emblems, as these can be a great help when trying to identify and value it.  Ask questions from the seller of the item, how long has it been in that persons possession, where did it come from, was it a family heirloom, try to trace all previous owners as much as possible, and find out everything you can about the history of the piece.

Remember that the furniture is supposed to be over one hundred years old, so touch it and feel all over it.  There should be no sharp edges as you run your hand along it. If you do feel any sharp edges, then this is also a sign that the piece may not be genuine.

Based on your knowledge of the style, and the unit, do some detective work to ensure that everything matches.  Is the pattern correct?  Does the colour and grain of the wood look proper? If there are any etchings or inserts, do these match the patterns for this style and era.  All these clues will eventually help you to determine if a piece is genuine or not.

At some stage during your investigations, make sure that you try to find out everything you can about the history of the item, its Provenance. This is actually what antique experts call any information connected to the past of a certain object. I am not referring here to the age or time period of the antique, I mean its recent and past owners. Question the seller thoroughly. Find out who owned it previously, and even who before that, as far back as they can tell you. Take note of everything such as names and dates. You may even be lucky to find that it is or was connected to somebody famous. Sometimes there may even be old receipts or documents showing proof. Make sure you protect those papers just as much as your newly found antique.

Lets say the item is a Victorian table. The information may seem to be mundane, such as Mr Jones was the previous owner, who bought it from Mrs Smith in 1902. The Smith family used to dine at this table every day. There it is, the provenance to your antique. It may not seem very much, but you would be surprised how sometimes these ordinary stories can increase antique furniture values.

One piece of advice for your antique furniture values guide, note that American antique furniture is quite rare.  It was not as mass-produced as English furniture, so there is much less in existence.  Whenever a new genuine piece emerges for sale, it is immediately snapped up by dealers and experts, usually regardless of the price.  So if you think you may be looking at an antique American chair, then be very careful, as most likely it will be a fake, or reproduction.

P.S. Remember I have a totally free antiquing email mini-course. You can read some of the benefits and highlights here Antique Furniture Values. Be sure to check it out, then sign up by entering your name and email address and clicking the button.

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