What constitutes an antique and what is it worth? You should know everything there is to know about your area of antiquing to make wise buying decisions, including what to look for in a valuable piece. This article will give tips on value, searching, finding and condition of antique furniture. The word antique is used to describe anything old that is fairly rare. Old is considered to be anything that is over 100 years old.
Rare is used to described an item that is limited in its supply or, in other words, there are hardly any of the item around anymore. You must have a discerning eye while shopping for antiques because even if a piece looks old does not mean it is an antique. Furthermore, even when something really is old, if no one wants it; it will be worthless. On the flip side, an item can be newer than 100 years old and will be very collectible if it is in high demand, thus it will have a high value. A pieces value is based on demand in connection with limited supply.
There are approximately 15 major areas of antiques, to name a few: furniture, toys, ceramics, and jewelry. When you decide to start collecting antiques you will need to choose an area or two and study and learn all you can about it to really be successful. You want to be able to know a really valuable find when you see it, and know you are getting it at a good price. Each area of antiques has its own history, value, rules, frauds, junk and exciting finds. For this article we are going to go over what to know about antique furniture.
Antique furniture is popular and will almost always appreciate in value because of it’s solid wood construction and beautiful craftsmanship. Furniture today is not built like it used to be and people want pieces with style and character that will hold up over time. When you buy antique furniture you should always buy what you like and what you will want in your house, unless you are going to turn around and sell it for a profit.
There are four sub-categories in antique furniture: English, European (which is usually French or German), American, and Far Eastern, which is usually Chinese. English furniture is divided into Victorian or Pre-Victorian. American furniture will be Shaker, New York or Western. And Far Eastern furniture is described by the period or date of manufacture. Most people will enjoy one of these types of furniture and begin collecting and decorating their home with that one type.
The type of wood the piece is made from is of significance in determining value. Mahogany, walnut, oak and pine are the most sought after. If the piece has it’s original hardware and wood panels it will be worth a lot more than a piece that has been “re-done” due to broken parts. If you have a piece of furniture that is not in top condition, with scratches on the finish, leave it alone if you believe it has some value. Never strip and refinish it. If a leg is loose on a table you can leave it alone or put a dab of wood glue in the joint. Never remove a leg and re-fit it. If a piece is a bit wobbly this is a good indication that it is authentically old. Make sure you inspect the entire piece of furniture for matching wood. Sometimes the back panels had been damaged and they will be replaced with another type of wood.
Caring for a piece of antique furniture is important in preserving it and the value it holds. You should always use pure beeswax (carnauba) to clean and polish your antiques.
Lemon oil is a big mistake because it dries out the wood, darkens the patina and will definitely decrease the furniture’s value. When shopping for furniture, rub your finger across the finish and if an oil film is left on your finger the dealer has used lemon oil on it. Don’t buy it.
You can find antique furniture just about anywhere. First search your attic and your parent’s attics. You can even try and get into the attics of the neighbor’s homes. Attics are the best places to find antiques people have forgotten about. To find some more real deals, go to rummage sales, garage sales, estate sales, yard sales, thrift stores, pawn shops and flea markets. You might be able to pick up an antique at a really low price. Estate sales are usually the best place to find antiques because the items belonged to an elderly person. There are also antique stores, malls, dealers and auctions. You will be able to find tons of furniture and antiques here, but you may have to pay more, and you will definitely need to be savvy so you won’t get ripped off. You can expect to pay or get a variety of prices on antique furniture.
When you are new at buying antiques stick with one item and then start learning about other types of antiques.
Remember, condition is the most important aspect in determining value, so inspect each piece thoroughly. Do not buy on impulse, take your time and do some research to make sure it is an authentic piece. Don’t do all your research in the store you will be purchasing it from, go elsewhere and get second opinions. Most of all, have a good time and only buy what you like and you will never be stuck with something you don’t want.