Spotting Fake Antique Furniture

If you love antique furniture, but you are not an expert, you are probably hounded by the fear of buying a fake. Your fear is shared in the antique-buying community; even experts and auction houses get fooled into buying fakes every now and then. There are several ways to protect your money and your reputation by observing the following recommendations made by antique furniture collectors and sellers.

Before you buy a number of pieces from a time period, it is advised to work only with a reputable furniture dealer. Take the time to visit old houses, antique fairs and museums too see good quality pieces until you get a “gut” feeling for the period’s style and furniture design. Many long time collectors will tell you that their best furniture buys did not come at bargain prices; you still get what you paid for. Be wary of a bargain. Unless you are an expert, the piece is too good to be true if the price is. So if you see a piece that is extremely cheap or under priced, warning bells visit –  should ring in your head and handle the transaction with caution. Dealers do not usually put wrong prices on their items, so getting a bargain is quite unlikely.

Read up on the current market values of the items you are looking at. Fakes are not always cheap; in fact, they can be priced at the same level as the real ones to project credibility. But if the dealer cuts the price by a rather large percentage, like selling a $1000 chair for $700, look at the item very carefully and be sceptical.

Don’t be fooled by stories that begin with “a little old lady”. Ownership stories like this must be taken with a grain of salt. If you buy antiques at a furniture fair, look around the fair first before buying the piece. If you see a number of similar pieces around, you might be getting a fake. With furniture, some sellers will keep the “antique” part, like the tabletop, but replace the legs to complete the entire “antique” table. Take time to inspect the item thoroughly and stand back to take the entire piece into view. Take a good look at the joints, handles and the marks on the furniture. If there are marks that look out of place, too fresh, or in hard-to-reach areas like the inside of a dresser, be careful.



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