The world of design believes that crafting solid, hand-carved furniture pieces is already a dying form of art; yet, ironically, antique furniture sales is on an upward trend. Antiques are believed to be an expression of the creator’s character as it is also a decorative piece. For the right kinds of people, it can also be a piece of investment.
If you are just starting to collect antiques, it is best to live by a few rules. At the very top of these is to learn about antique collection and what it can hold for you.
Antiquity covers many past periods and designs. Think Oriental, American, Continental or English and each has its own history and style to offer. Antique furniture can either be American, English, Chinese or European.
Remember that wood type mahogany, oak, walnut and pine can significantly affect the value of the antique piece. Other factors that need to be seen are the hardware used, practicality, framework and other construction details.
Due to breakage, there are now a lot of antique pieces that contain replacement panels. These are hardware pieces that have been added because of damages incurred in time. If you see replacement panels on the item that you are buying, note that this significantly lowers the value of that furniture piece. There are also antique owners that falsely believe in lemon oil to be a means of conserving antiques. On the contrary, lemon oil dries out the old wood and even darkens the patina, thus, decreasing the value of the furniture in the long run. Beeswax is the only polish that must be used in its place.
Your First, Real Antique Piece
If you are starting to collect antique furniture for your home, begin by buying small pieces. You can, eventually, build to bigger pieces as you move along. Bigger does not always mean pricier.
Older pieces (those that were made before 1830) must be bought with their first patina. Victorian pieces and those that were made in later periods; with finishes that have been restored or cleaned are acceptable.
Furniture styles like Austria’s Biederneier increase in value as soon as they are restored.
The Pseudo Antique
For as long as there are authentic antique pieces, there would also be repros and fakes. It takes a trained eye to identify the genuine pieces from the unreal ones, though.
Pseudo antiques have three major categories – cheap imitation, clever fake and sound repros. All these clone furniture pieces have been crafted to copy the beautiful and usually expensive pieces of the past.
To buy sound reproductions at the very least, be sure to study collections and exhibits. There are books that feature antique furniture as well as experts that can discuss the topic. Listen carefully during auctions and have reputable dealers answer some of your queries. Curators who work with antiques and who specialize in this field are also – more often than not – willing to answer any questions.
It’s Time to Decide
Now it’s time to know what pieces you will include in your own home. If you know very little about antiques, then it is best to shop accompanied by an antique expert. Having ample budget is not enough; while you may have sufficient money to buy even the most expensive pieces, minus the expertise, you are merely throwing away money on pieces that are sold to be genuine when they are actually fake.
Time is also an important aspect in having antiques for your home. It takes time to learn about antique furniture, the history of each pertinent period, and the acceptable price range.
Unlike buying custom pieces or ready-made furniture, you have to acquire the skills to identify authentic antique furniture or at least the decent repros. More than your pride, it is your hard-earned money that you are actually throwing down the curb when you buy fake furniture for your home.