Sunday, September 30, 2012

Used or Antique Furniture?

                     Know The Difference

I see lots of ads selling "Antique Dressers" or "Antique Table" only to reveal a 1970s Mediterranean dresser with plastic wood grain drawer faces and Ethan Allen rock maple drop leaf tables from the 1980's sold as "Very old Antique dining set".

                                             Timeless yet boring used furniture

Though these are in the style of antique furniture and have some age, they are not antiques. There is still money to be made on them but they are used furniture and should be represented as such.
Ugly Used Furniture (Avoid it)

If you're going to sell antique furniture, learn to identify the periods and techniques of manufacture. The difference between hand made and machine made dovetails. Know what is veneer and what is solid wood. The types of woods used. Most importantly, learn styles.
Hand Dovetailed
                                                         Machine Dovetailed

The style of a piece of furniture is the first indication of age and origin. Furniture styles are like clothing. You know bell bottom jeans from the 1960s and 70s, same goes for furniture. Styles come and go and revive sometimes over the centuries. Knowing what's currently in style will make reselling your pieces much easier and open to a wider market.

The Arts and Crafts Movement or Mission style for example will date the piece of furniture between 1900-1915, with some over lap. Even though this style is reproduced to this day, knowing how to read a piece of furniture, the wood, surface, manufactures marks, patination or patina, construction method and absents of wear all combined will immediately point out the age and authenticity to the trained eye.

Start with the style of a piece, (Art Nouveau, Art Deco, French, Heppelwhite, Chippendale, Mission etc.) then learn woods, hardware, and construction methods.
Now this takes time, effort and study, but it's a worthy pursuit. These pieces can occasionally be still found  as "sleepers" in used funtiture stores.
If you learn them one at a time, the rest will fall into place. You will know when to spend 3500.00 on a Gustav Stickley settle and  35.00 on the reproduction Mission style bench made in the 1990s that was left on the porch for the dog to sleep on. One is used furniture and one is going to a good antique auction for a big pay day.

                                    Gustav Stickley even arm Settle $15,000- $18,000

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