Collecting antique furniture pieces are considered as a prime financial investment and a superb way of decorating houses and other sites. As such, many people have considered antique collection as one of the most rewarding hobbies and activities that one can engage in. However, a serious antique furniture collector should take note of the following factors;
The Style of the Antique Furniture
Most antique sellers classify their products through style names such as Louis XV, Queen Anne, and many others. Usually, the style of the furniture piece plays an important role in determining its value. Furniture pieces which have styles and designs which originate from centuries before are considered as more valuable than those which possess more recent designs. Also, the more unique or customized the style is, the more expensive will the furniture piece be.
Moreover, there are designs which have been popularized by notable craftsmen or furniture manufacturers. As such, furniture pieces which carry such popular designs, including those which resemble such, may be more expensive than the usual antique furniture.
The Originality of the Antique Furniture
It is important to determine if a piece is a reproduction or not. One can easily determine if the furniture is an original piece through the hardware that is used in the furniture.
Examine the nails and screws that were used. Note that screws were only used in furniture pieces during the later half of the 19th century. Others shapes, types, and lengths of nails were used in furniture making in varying points in history as well.
If the furniture piece is original, note that its wood dimensions should not be uniform. Some of its parts should have shrunk by as much as an eighth of an inch due to aging. Also, note that the surfaces of the furniture should have suffered from discolouration. An original furniture piece may be affected from uneven exposure to sunlight. As such, it should have significant differences in coloring. Otherwise, the furniture might have undergone repainting or refinishing.
Apart from that, check the edges of the furniture. Note that early years of furniture construction only made use of handsaws. Thus, most old-age furniture pieces have ragged edges. If there are any differences in various pieces of hardware that was used in the piece, it may be a sign that the original parts of the antique have already been replaced.
The Age of the Antique Furniture
This factor is a prime consideration when collecting antique furniture pieces. Usually, the more aged the piece is, the more valuable it will be. Among the most notable periods in the history of furniture construction are Chippendale (mid-to-late 1700s), Empire Period (1830 – 1850) and Victorian (1850 – 1910). Note that one can identify the historical age of the furniture piece according to its style and design.
However, the antique collector should be aware that there are cases when appearance, design, and functionality supersede the value given to the furniture’s age. This is often the case for tables, chairs, cabinets, wardrobes, and other large furniture pieces that are not suitable for mere display and decorative purposes.
Also, in cases where the antique furniture pieces are a product of a notable craftsman, the value of the piece increases along with the complexity and the intricacy of the furniture’s design.