Antique Furniture FAQs
How do I identify antique furniture?
Although most antique furniture is found without labels or dates, genuine antique pieces can usually be identified from a combination of the materials used, the style of the piece as well as the natural wear on the finish or Patina. Patina is something that can only occur naturally over time and is very hard to fake via man-made effects such as staining, sanding and painting. The skill is looking at lots of tiny details which convince you the item is a genuine antique. Much of this skill and knowledge can be built up over time just by observing real pieces and learning from those around you. It is also a good reason to buy from reputable antique dealers such as those on LoveAntiques who can give you the piece of mind that the item is what you say it is as well as offer valuable advice.
How to value antique furniture?
Like any collectable field antique furniture can range in value between nearly worthless to virtually priceless. In the past price guide reference books were a good starting point for valuing different items, but today such books have become nearly obsolete with the power of the internet at our fingertips. In most cases the internet will be the first place to research your item but don’t forget that the values you find can vary dramatically depending on the condition, who is selling them, where the item is located and more. While there are certain furniture items which are less or more fashionable today than in the past, desirability and value really comes down to individual taste and the room it is going into. You can ask your local auction house or antique dealer for a valuation but in both cases the value they give should be considered an estimate only. There are specialist online valuation services which will provide valuations for a fee but again check their location as values can vary dramatically between countries and continents.
Is Mahogany furniture valuable?
The simple answer is Mahogany furniture can be very valuable. It has always been a scarce and prized timber so is usually a sign that the antique item was expensive and well made at the time, sometimes by the very best makers and designers. Mahogany was first imported from the West Indies at the start of the 18th Century and continued to be popular up to the beginning of the 20th Century. It not only has an appealing red tone and grain but is strong and crisp to carve. However, Mahogany has also always been scarce, so almost from the start was also being used as a veneer as well as solid timber. Today antique mahogany is slightly less fashionable overall compared to other timbers (such as Oak) so can be purchased for less than in the past making them great value. In truth if you like the item or it suits the room, then that item is valuable to you either way.
What date is Georgian and Victorian Furniture?
The Georgian era in England (1714-1837) began with King George I in 1714 and ended with the death of George IV in 1830. However, for simplicity most people also include the subsequent reign of William IV from 1830-37 into the Georgian period. The Victorian era (1837-1901) began when Queen Victoria took to the throne in 1837 and until her death in 1901. When describing antique furniture people sometimes use the terms Georgian and Victorian somewhat loosely to also describe items created in the styles popular during those times.
What is vintage Furniture?
The phrase ‘Vintage Furniture’ is commonly used to describe a whole group of furniture that is not yet old enough to be antique. Many people and sales platforms deem that vintage items must be a minimum of 20 years old to be called Vintage and that they finally become Antique when they are at least 100 years old. In principle this is a pretty clear definition, but it is important to recognise that these are only guide-lines and some will use ‘Vintage’ to refer to even newer items in an older style.