It May Pay to Know what Antique Furniture really is

If you are in the market for some antique furniture, it may be a financial benefit to know a little about the subject before you go running to the antique store and plop down huge sums of cash for ordinary old furniture.

Mastering the art of antique furniture knowledge is a life-long lesson but with just a few tips, you can get started in the right direction. Between the 17th and 19th centuries, there were basically five types of American furniture, and at the point in time where it changed, there may be even a few crossover pieces, meaning they contain attributes from both periods.

The earliest of the antique furniture usually found today is from the Colonial or Jacobean period, which ran from 1620 to 1720. Beginning in 1720, the Queen Anne furniture period enjoyed about a 30-year reign and the next 30 years, 1750 through 1780 is considered the Chippendale period.

Hipplewhite was a popular design beginning in 1780 and retain its popularity only until about 1800 and was followed by the Sheraton period from 1790 to 1810 with 10 years being considered a crossover period. Some antique furniture during this period may show significant traits of both designs.

Know What to Look for in Value

True antique furniture is separated in quality by five main categories; good, better, best, superior and masterpiece. Good antique furniture is usually judged to be simply old furniture, regardless of the period during which it was made. Better describes furniture made by good craftsmen but may have a weakness in design or workmanship.

Antique furniture classified as best will show signs of superior craftsmanship and design. A superior classification describes furniture maintain extreme beauty and an excellent quality of workmanship and masterpiece means there is not now, nor ever was anything ever wrong with its design, beauty and workmanship.

Restoring antique furniture should be done only by someone experienced in the art and only to make minimal intrusion on the piece. Should you obtain a true piece of antique furniture, having found a label or marking on the bottom or back, before doing anything that may depress its value, contact a professional for advice.

When too many pieces or parts have to be rebuilt to make the piece usable, it may be time to accept its value is not going to be maintained and restore it to its original function. Although with all antique furniture the least amount of work done on it, other than cleaning, is usually better.


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