One of the hardest trades in the world is the buying and selling of antiques. There are now so many replicas in the market that it can get difficult to tell which ones are authentic. Making the right decision in bringing antiques is not easy. Antiques for homes are a pretty addition, there is no doubt about this but do you have ample skills to bring the genuine ones home?
Information Is Key
The first thing that you need to acquire is information about the piece that you would like to have in your home. Know your expectations and what you can actually afford. It is advisable that you purchase antique from reputable dealers. Another good source is any antique show. Seeing a numbered code, not a price could mean that the seller is going to charge you according to his assessment of you and not what the antique is really worth.
Try finding regulated bodies and authorized agents prior to making your final decision regarding your antique purchase. Focus on aesthetics, how genuine the piece is, and whether it is in great condition or not.
Shun making any rash decisions as you see fractures, cracks, discoloration, missing parts, scratches, tears, breaks, gouges, and such. Be sure to bring a magnifying glass once you start shopping around. Remember that there is always a better option out there. You do not have to buy an antique piece just because you are being pressed by a perky agent.
Whether you are looking for antiques to sell or to keep them in your home, you must have the skills to weed out the fake ones.
Antique or Good Repro?
Now it’s time to hunt; keep in mind that dedicated antique dealers explore the market with magnifying lens, pins, and other sorts of testing equipment. Making an educated decision means you are able to establish the value of the antique that you are looking at.
Collectors prefer certain styles, makers and eras while others simply have an eccentric taste. Either way, authentic items are valued according to their rarity, history and present condition.
It also wouldn’t hurt to get someone who has a trained eye when it comes to valuing antiques. If not, then at least take time to read antiques trade publications which aim to educate about antiques and their value.
Check the weight and size of the antique furniture or artwork that you are buying. Shipping could get costly so consider if you really need to buy that bulky piece of wooden table or if you can just go with another one that comes at a much lighter weight.
Check also the joints on antique furniture. Machine fabricated ones have even joints while those that are dovetailed by hand are, of course, not that even. Handmade dovetails are pieces that were certainly made prior to 1860.
Checking the drawers could also guarantee genuineness. If you see cuts or nicks anywhere, then you are looking at a piece that has been cut by a spokeshave, plant or a drawknife. Saw marks in straight lines also indicate authentic old pieces. Circular cuts have not been made available till 1860.
Precise symmetry in furniture means it has been cut using a machine. Real antiques are rarely cut in precise straight lines. Repros that have beautifully perfect cuts are definitely machine made. Look at the wooden finish. Shellac was the sole clear surface finish till the Victorian times. Varnish and lacquer only came into existence in the mid-1800s. Antiques for homes are beautiful additions so make sure that you decide intelligently; and you can only do this by taking your time in studying and testing each piece.