Do you often encounter difficulties in selecting antiques and collectibles from the flea market? Or maybe sometimes you can’t tell if an antique is fake or real? This specially curated article could lessen your pain, as we consolidated the opinions of some of the top industry experts in the world to share with us little-known tips when selecting or buying antiques and collectibles. Enjoy!
Top Experts of Antiques and Collectibles Shops or Trades
Laura Gaskill, Owner of lauragaskill.com
“Provenance is proof of where a particular piece came from. Proof could include purchase receipts, documents from auction houses, professional appraisals, photographs and historic records. Generally, provenance is provided only for higher-value or rare antiques. Having this documentation is important if you ever plan to resell the item and can also be helpful for insuring it.”
John Hansord, Owner of Hansord Antiques
“With furniture, there are some simple giveaways to look for, such as obvious use of machinery or tools not available when the piece was made – bandsaw blade marks, for example.
“If you buy a piece with original colour and patina it is much less likely to be restored as French polish and waxed finishes can hide restoration.”
Hilary Kay & Paul Atterbury, Owners of Antiques Roadshow
“Be adventurous. Mix and match what you buy and avoid being limited by sticking to just one style. Good quality objects from different eras can look really good together.”
Asher Mak, Owner, Designer & Stager at AVM Arts & Antiques
“Saw someone selling new pots online and called them antiques and collectibles. Not everyone who calls what they’re selling authentic and genuine is credible. Do your comparison online or ask a friend if needed be. Google helps a lot. See the differences (if any) for yourselves. Sometimes the seller is innocent as in he/she was misinformed when they bought the item. Other times, it’s not the case. So whatever it is, no harm asking questions before buying. If the seller avoids answering your questions on the item’s genuinity, feel at ease (and probably at peace later!) to walk away from the purchase.”
Cari Cucksey, Antiques and Collectibles Dealer and Collector and Host of Cash & Cari
“When you acquire a new item, research it thoroughly before attempting to clean it up. Some antiques such as furniture is best left untreated by chemical cleaners, whereas others will thrive with a little beeswax and a lot of elbow grease.”
Experts from Decorative Fair in Battersea
“If you like a piece of upholstered furniture but the colour or textile is not to your taste, don’t be afraid to ask the dealer if they will consider recovering within the asking price. If it’s a valuable piece, they often will. Dealers really don’t want to sell you something you won’t enjoy.”
Owners of AntiqueMarks.com
“Look for the odd one out … The odd ones are usually the best bargains. Look for items that don’t belong, such as ceramics in a jewellers shop or stall; or bronze in a silver dealers display. More likely than not the antique dealer or seller will discount the unsuitable item to move it on.”
Dordy Fontinel, Owner of Dordy Fontinel Show Management
“A genuine antique piece of furniture will have wear to the feet, legs, and case no matter how well it was cared for. If it is an original piece of painted furniture, the wear should be natural and uneven. Fake wear on a painted piece of furniture is easy to spot once you have examined an authentic pieces. Old paint is hard, and is difficult to remove. New paint used on fake pieces is easy to remove. Dirt and dust should have collected in cracks and crevices. No dust? Beware!”
Karen Keane, CEO of Skinner Auction House
(Source: Antique and Vintage Furniture: Tips For Treasure Seekers by Kathryn Tully)
“Checking the provenance of furniture and verifying who made the piece independently is also important, particularly since throughout history, lots of furniture makers have imitated the style of particularly notable craftsmen.”
Kathleen Lee-Joe of Domain Group
“Be wary of certain words. If something is described as Louis XV “style” or “inspired”, you’re not buying a mid-18th-century French original, but a shabby chic rococo rip-off. “Limited edition” is another phrase that has been overused to the point of meaninglessness. The piece could easily have been “limited” to a million. Be sure to clarify before laying down any cash.”
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