It takes time, experience, and the right education to learn how to shop for antiques. This means that looking for the right poison ring, lamp, antique rugs, and other items means learning the ropes of antiquing. Keep in mind that even experts in the field are continually learning about how to spot the value of antiques, so you should stay up to date as well.
What follows are a few tips, a few short cuts that can help you when starting out. While the following tips are no substitute for the time it takes to fully learn about shopping for antiques. You can avoid common issues in spotting antiques as opposed to newer items that may not have the same value.
Just because something looks old, dusty, or worn does not mean that it is an antique. There are common signs for many items that helps you date them properly. What follows are signs you should look for in furniture.
– Dovetails: Furniture that has dovetail joints was probably not mass produced
– New, Shiny Nails: The nails are a giveaway if the item is fairly recent
– Weathered: Original pieces tend to be dull
You should look for signs of wear around the pulls of the drawers. Even if the piece has been cleaned, there should be some dirt or debris along with signs that the pulls are either original or put on later. A big giveaway is whether the piece has been newly refinished. Proper antiques should be kept in their original condition.
Another common purchase is old rugs as many will carry considerable value. Here are a few tips that will help you determine if the rug is old or fairly new.
Fraying: If you see excessive fraying, it is best to stay away. That means the rug is coming undone and there is little you can do about it.
Knots: The more knots in the rug, the more likely it was made from an earlier time. Count the knots per square inch which you can see on the back of the rug. Also, the tighter the knot, the higher the quality of the rug.
Remember that most antique rugs will show signs of wear, discoloration, and uneven piling. So, do not be afraid of such rugs if they are still in good shape.
The main thing to look for is distinguishing between original and prints. You should look very close at the artwork and bring a magnifying glass. If you see a small series of dots, then it is a print reproduction. While reproductions can still be valuable, they are not the same as originals, so be wary.
Another factor is craquelure. This is the fine cracks that show up on the surface of paintings. They only appear over time, so this is a good indication that the painting itself may be old.
The same techniques that you can use to find the best antique rugs, furniture, and artwork can be used for other popular items such as a poison ring, silver, and other products from the past. When in doubt, trust your gut feeling and get a second opinion from an expert if you can.