We have some excellent guidelines below, however, the real answer can be found only with a qualified appraiser. If you would like to have more of the same kind of information, then we strongly recommend that you go to an upholstery workshop.
Determine if you have old furniture
First of all, determine if you have old Antique Furniture. It can’t be valuable or antique if it isn’t old. Also, when furniture is old, that doesn’t mean it is antique automatically.
Sharp corners or edges
Run your fingers over the back part of the piece or underneath the furniture: recent manufacture can be indicated by very sharp corners and edges.
Numerous nail holes
If it doesn’t have original furniture, then lift one edge up: check out the antique chair rail to see if there are numerous nail holes. To the trained eyes, that is a reassuring sign that over the long life of the piece, there have been a number of re-upholsterings.
Distinct curved patterns
Search for a distinctive curved pattern that has been left on the sawn wood by a circular saw’s teeth. This is one of the most important signs that the manufacturing has taken place around 1840s.
Irregular width screws
Take one screw out that is in an inconspicuous area. A handmade, old antique screw has irregular widths in between the spirals, which run along the entire shaft length. The slot that is in the head might be off-centre. By contrast, new screws have evenly, regularly spaced threads and sharp points.
Thick wood veneers
Antique furniture has thick wood veneers that have widths that are somewhat irregular, similar to home-slicked break. This can be determined by noting the edges of the veneers on the back of a chest top or wherever parts of the veneer have broken off. Modern veneers, on the other hand, are thin and each slice is the same width exactly.
Plastic or metal taps
There are no plastic or metal taps on the bottom of the feet on antique and old tables. At times they could have been added recently to an old piece of furniture. However, they should not be visual.
Antique table pedestals frequently are reinforced using a tri-metal strap or hand-hammered metal disk at the point where the legs come together. Twentieth-century tables might be reinforced with crimped, large staples. One good indication of being old is a one-board top, that is made from one piece of wood.
Up until 1800, the antique mirror glass was all imported to America. Antique glass is a somewhat grey colour, variably wavy and thin (less than 1.8 inches in thickness). To determine whether a mirror is old or not, hold the tip part of a key to the glass. It is more likely the glass is old the closer the tip from the reflected image is to the actual key’s tip.
Is my Antique Furniture valuable?
In furniture, value depends mainly on four main criteria;
Out of all of the four, only provenance and conditions are fairly easy to establish. Usually, the other two take experience, research and time – and most likely assistance from an expert in order to be able to accurately apply them. There are three other elements that are important as well when considering the value of furniture:
In addition to the characteristics that have already been mentioned (for which you will want to involve an expert in), there are a couple of specific details that you need to watch out for when you are evaluating your antique furniture:
- An antique mirror is devalued by replaced mirror glass, even more than when its silvered back flakes or when there are inconspicuous cracks.
- Usually, the most valuable kind is the bonnet-top highboy.
- Value will usually be increased when there is vigorous, fine carving on American Chippendale antique furniture.
- More handwork is required by more ornate design. Therefore, a wing chair that has cabriole legs (which are curved legs that end in ornamental feet) will be more valuable compared to a block-leg chair.
- Very large pieces of furniture, those that are too large for modern apartments and homes, usually are not as desirable compared to more versatile, smaller pieces of furniture.
- Fancy chairs which have delicate arm and side chairs that are decorated with paint and gilt lose a majority of their resale value when they are repainted. To check for paint layers, scratch through an area that is inconspicuous.
- Original upholstery provides antique seat furniture with value, particularly when its condition is good.
- Saber-leg chairs from the Classical era are more valuable compared to turned-leg or straight-legged chairs, especially if the feet have brass or carved paws at the end.