Category Archives: Is My Furniture Antique?

Choosing Antique-Inspired Furniture

We know from our customers that buying a piece of fine antique furniture is always a special experience. But sometimes it makes more sense to buy new antique-inspired furniture for your home. Perhaps because it’s hard to find the exact antique piece to suit your space.

demilune regency sideboardHigh-quality reproduction furniture is very impressive and easy to live with and it’s a good investment too. These pieces are often hand-crafted using the same methods as original antiques.  Look at furniture by makers like Jonathan Charles Fine Furniture, Ambella Home Collection, Woodbridge Furniture Company and Currey & Co as well as lighting by Dale Tiffany, and you’ll see why they are so in demand amongst homeowners who recognize superb design and craftsmanship.

Let’s take a look at three important elements to consider when you are choosing antique-inspired furniture.

High-Quality Materials

Dale Tiffany dragonfly lampEverything starts with high-quality materials whether we’re talking about solid wood,  exquisite flame mahogany veneers, wrought iron, or superbly cast hardware. Or how about hand-rolled art glass?

The craftsmen at Dale Tiffany use the same hand-rolled glass techniques as were used to make original Louis Comfort Tiffany lamps. They also hand-cut their unique and colorful glass to replicate the famous Tiffany stained glass designs. The Dale Tiffany table lamp in the photo shows the gorgeous effect of the fine glass… you can’t fake that! (See more about the authentic Dale Tiffany creative process including a video.)

Craftsmanship in Construction

Jonathan Charles carved deskSome of the best antique-inspired furniture is crafted with the exact same techniques that the makers used for the original European antiques. From hand-cut marquetry to intricate carved details, these reproductions are works of art in their own right. This amazing Jonathan Charles desk in the Queen Anne style shows just what we are talking about. The craftsmen and women certainly need to be as good as the craftsmen in days of yore. The only difference is that today’s furniture experts get to produce their work under decent lighting – they don’t have to work on fiddly inlays by candlelight!  (See more about traditional Jonathan Charles hand-craftsmanship including a short video.)

High-Quality and Antiqued Finishes

Ambella Home Sink Chest Hand-rubbed and carefully crafted antiqued finishes add the finishing touch to the best antique-inspired furniture. Perhaps you’ll love an ebonized finish or the welcoming allure of an aged brass or oiled bronze finish. The gleam of hand-waxed wood, antiqued mirrors, crackle glazes, distressed painted wood, polished marble… there are so many choices.

This Ambella Home sink chest shows how refined and authentic the best finishes can be, imbuing your home with a sense of substance and tradition.

If you need more convincing, take a look at some of our client spotlights and other blog posts featuring antique-inspired reproduction furniture. Or tell us about your own favorite piece of antique-inspired furniture!

AimeeAvatarAimee owns EuroLuxHome.com with her husband and best friend, Greg. Aimee sources amazing antique furniture, vintage lighting, & high-quality reproduction furniture to help her customers decorate their homes in a unique way. She loves her 8 (you read that right) fuzzy children and is renovating a 1920s bungalow in South Carolina. Find us on Facebook or connect with EuroLux on Google+. Or you can sign up here to receive this blog in your inbox.

How to Sell Antiques and Vintage Items

We receive emails nearly every day from people asking how to sell antiques or vintage items. Sometimes they have inherited antiques, sometimes they are just downsizing or have another reason to let go of a piece of furniture or other antique that they have enjoyed for years. Either way, they aren’t sure where to start. So here is our advice on how to sell antiques.

How To Find Out What Your Antiques Are Worth

How to sell items like this Antique Delft JarA great place to begin searching for values of antique or vintage items is Worthpoint.com. Of course, you can also explore sites where people sell antiques online, like Ebay. But Ebay only shows the last 30 to 45 days of data whereas Worthpoint has a huge database. It stores many years’ worth of information from ecommerce venues like Ebay and GoAntiques.com as well as other important auction houses.

Worthpoint is definitely worth the price for unlimited access for 30 days if you have specialty items or many things to look up. If you want to try it out first, Worthpoint offers a free trial period for a limited number of searches. You can also send a description and photos of your item to a “Worthologist” to get an expert online appraisal for a fee of $29.99, which is very economical.

I suggest the Worthpoint.com appraisal service because you’re unlikely to find an antiques dealer to give you a free appraisal. Dealers receive so many requests for free appraisals and although they are lovely folk, if they spent all day helping people with advice they would never have time to run their own businesses! So if you want to sell antiques but don’t know how to price them and don’t have time to research values, it’s well worth paying for the service of an expert appraiser.

If you are handling the estate of a relative, you may want to hire a licensed personal property appraiser in your area. Or you can contact a local auction house to help you determine the value of items. If you have rare or especially valuable antiques, you might want to find a specialty auction house. For instance, you would go to Theriaults for dolls.

How to Sell Antiques Online or Locally

Sell antiques at auctionObviously you can sell antiques through a local or specialty auction house. Or you can list things for sale on Ebay or GoAntiques or Etsy. You can even post an ad for free through your local Craigslist. You might also contact interior designers in your area to see if they could place a piece of antique or vintage furniture with one of their clients.

How to sell antiques like this Louis XIV ArmoireYou could also contact antique dealers in your area to see if they are interested in purchasing a piece outright. In this case, realize you will need to accept a wholesale price, not a retail price. Dealers have large overheads and sometimes they have to keep an antique in stock for a long time before finding a retail customer. The upside is that by selling to a dealer you’ll receive payment more quickly and don’t have to do all the selling yourself.

However, many antique dealers may only be interested in taking a piece on consignment. This is assuming that it fits with their inventory and they have the space in their gallery. Most dealers would expect to charge a 30 – 50% consignment fee, and you would be responsible for the transportation of the piece to the dealer’s gallery.

Keep in mind that it can be quite expensive to ship a piece of antique furniture safely. That shipping cost will come out of your pocket if you contact a dealer outside your geographical area. You’re usually better off contacting antique dealers in your closest large city.

Tips If You Sell Antiques Online

If you opt to sell antiques online through one of the ecommerce sites, you’ll need to write good and detailed descriptions. Even if you don’t know much about antiques, make a note of any makers’ marks or hallmarks and give exact measurements.

Take close up photos to sell antiques online

Door detail on antique 1880 French Brittany style chestnut buffet

Also take good, clear photographs from many angles. A picture speaks a thousand words! Include close-up shots of any decorative details and maker marks, and ideally show the insides of cabinets or drawers. At EuroLuxAntiques.com, we tend to provide lots of images when we sell antiques so buyers can see everything as clearly as they would inspecting the item in person. Then they are confident about making a purchase, or they can ask for more details if uncertain.

Finally, be honest about any damage or wear. People expect antique items to show a little wear – that is part of their history and unique charm and it proves their authenticity! But nobody wants any nasty surprises when the item arrives. The condition of an antique is a big factor in assessing its worth, as two similar pieces can sell for vastly different prices if one is in mint condition and the other rather more well-loved! For this reason, also be honest about the condition with appraisers if you get an online appraisal, otherwise the expert can’t give you the best advice.

If you have other suggestions for people wondering how to sell antiques or vintage items they own, please tell us in the comments box below!

Aimee owns EuroLuxAntiques.com with her best friend, Greg.  Aimee sources amazing antique furniture, vintage lighting, & high-quality reproduction furniture to help her customers decorate their homes in a unique way.  She loves her 8 (you read that right) fuzzy children and is renovating a 1920s bungalow in South Carolina. Connect with or you can sign up to receive this blog in your inbox!

Antique Furniture & Wood Separation: Is My Furniture Antique?

We are often asked how to tell if a piece of antique furniture is truly old, as some of our customers at EuroLux Antiques are new to collecting antique furniture. There is an art and science to appraising the age of a piece of antique furniture that only comes from direct, hands-on experience.

How to Judge Age in Antique Furniture?

However, there are some clues that you can look for to help you determine the age of a piece of furniture. One of those clues to judging the age of antique furniture is wood separation.

Antique Furniture & Wood Separation

Look at Panels & Doors

In the video above, I show you three places to look for wood separation in antique furniture as a way to determine if the piece is truly old. The first place to look is in a flat panel, such as a side panel, or on a door. Look closely and you may find a hairline crack running with the grain. This type of wood separation is caused by the expansion and contraction of the wood due to humidity fluctuations throughout the years.

Look in Drawers

Another place you would expect to find wood separation is at the front of a drawer in antique furniture. You’ll notice a small gap between the frame and the bottom panel of the drawer, which has been caused by wood shrinkage from fluctuations in humidity over time.

Look at the Joints

Finally, you should observe the joints of the piece, where it was originally put together by the craftsman. You would expect to see a small gap at the joints in antique furniture, for instance, on a door where the trim comes together.

While finding examples of wood separation is by no means the only criteria for determining if a piece of furniture is truly an antique, it is one of the clues to look for during your analysis. When there are enough clues, in combination, you’ll be able to determine if a piece is truly antique furniture.

Look for Wood Separation

Wood separation is one of the character marks of antique furniture and something to be appreciated. We all get wrinkles as we age, and wood separation is one of the ways to tell if a piece of furniture is truly an antique.

If you’d like a better definition of what causes wood separation, check out this earlier blog.

Stay tuned to our blog for more videos about other clues for determining age in antique furniture.

 Aimee owns EuroLuxAntiques.com with her best friend, Greg.  Aimee sources amazing antique furniture, vintage lighting, & high-quality reproduction furniture to help her customers decorate their homes in a unique way.  She loves her 8 (you read that right) fuzzy children and is renovating a 1920s bungalow in South Carolina.  Connect with or sign up to receive this blog in your inbox!

What is Wood Separation in Antique Furniture?

One of my New Year’s Resolutions is to film more blog posts! I’d like to share some of my knowledge about antique furniture with you, so I hope that you will find this helpful!

Wood separation is one of the things to look for as a clue to whether or not a piece of furniture is truly an antique. You’ll find wood separation, also called shrinkage, where joints of furniture come together. It looks like a gap or a space, and can also be manifested as a crack or split in the wood.

However, it might be easier for you to know what to look for if you understand what causes wood separation, or shrinkage, in the first place. It has to do with the relative humidity of the wood and how that is impacted by the temperature and humidity of the environment where the wood is kept.

We’ll look at more examples of wood separation in the next blog post! Please let me know if there are any topics you’d like to learn more about and I’ll see if I can help.

 

 Aimee owns EuroLuxAntiques.com with her best friend, Greg.  Aimee sources amazing antique furniture, vintage lighting, & high-quality reproduction furniture to help her customers decorate their homes in a unique way.  She loves her 8 (you read that right) fuzzy children and is renovating a 1920s bungalow in South Carolina.  Connect with or sign up to receive this blog in your inbox!

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