How to Value Antique Furniture

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Are you wondering where to start when trying to determine the value of your antique furniture? Maybe you are interested in selling that old antique chair you inherited and buying a chair you really want! Here are few tips when trying to uncover the value of your antique furniture.


How do you know if your furniture is actually an antique? There are a few indicators of the age of a piece. First, look at the style and shape. Does it look, well, old? An appraiser can help you determine what stylistic period the piece is likely from (for example, William and Mary and Regency are both periods).
How are the drawers joined or the legs attached? Are there screws or nails? The construction of a chair or dresser can reveal if it is indeed an antique rather quickly. Dovetail joints on drawers are usually an indication of higher quality modern or antique furniture. 
Savonarola Chair

Has Your Antique Furniture Been Refinished?

If so, I’m sorry to say whoever painted it might have done a number on the overall value. Collectors want furniture in as original condition as possible. Pieces with period repairs or well-executed modern repairs are still valuable, but completely repainted and refinished tables, chairs, dressers, etc., are usually worth a lot less than if they had not been altered. Just how much less? That depends on factors that a qualified appraiser can help you answer. Bottom line, don’t mess with antique furniture unless you are a professional furniture restorer!

Beware of furniture that has been artificially distressed or purposely rusticated. French furniture, gilded or whitewashed pieces are reproduced quite convincingly, so rely on the construction of the furniture to help determine if it is indeed antique. 

Consider Functionality

Special pieces will always hold some sort of decorative value, but many people are looking for older, but functional pieces to furnish their homes. A Savonarola chair might be beautiful, but how functional is it in a modern home? A mid-century modern chair could be worth more than a 500 year old chair, based largely on functionality.

How Do I Get an Expert Opinion?

Lugging a solid wood sideboard or china hutch to an auction house for an appraisal isn’t very practical. Luckily, e-ValueIt has online appraisal services and a seasoned antique furniture expert to provide you with a valuation!

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