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Tips from the Experts: What to Look for When Buying Antique Furniture

Knowing what to look for in order to spot a genuine antique is essential to avoid expensive mistakes when buying at auction houses or antiques fairs. Here are a few tips on what to look out for.

Tips from the Experts

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Is It in Its Original State?

There are a few things to keep in mind here. Look over the finish – does it look like the original finish, aged over time, or has it got the plastic look of a re-polish? Examine the handles. Do they look original or have they been replaced? Providing they are in keeping with the piece, this is not necessarily a bad thing. Have any other parts of the item been replaced, such as legs or shelves? Check for variations in colour and particularly for plywood, which would mean that the piece could not be a genuine antique. And bear in mind that all of these things could affect the value of the item.

Check Its Condition

Is it in good condition? Have a look over the piece, including around the back, checking for any scratches, dents and lose joints. If there are any drawers, open and close them all – is it a smooth action or do runners need replacing? If work needs doing, factor in the cost as good restoration can be expensive.

Look for Signs of Woodworm

Look closely at the wood, and if you notice any holes tap gently – if any dust comes out it means the worm is alive. Woodworm is treatable, so if the damage is not too extensive, don’t let it put you off.

Who to Buy From

To be sure that you’re getting a genuine item, it’s a good idea to buy from antique dealers who are members of a respected trade association and who adhere to stringent codes of practice, such as the British Antique Dealers Association.

When you are going for bespoke furniture look out for accreditations and choose companies such as http://www.victorhallantiques.com that use traditional techniques and quality materials to craft antique bar furniture in London and have a membership of the Guild of Master Craftsmen.

Go with Your Gut

If you’ve thoroughly checked the piece and followed the tips regarding condition and who you buy from, trust your instincts. If you like it, go for it.


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