It’s a frequent sight to see wooden furniture being sold at antique auctions at places like Dania Beach and all over the rest of the world as well. Another common place to find old wooden furniture being sold is at garage sales. Some of the furniture found at these garage sales looks just as old and ornamental as the items being sold at auction. Therefore it stands to reason that someone might wonder how to tell the difference between old furniture being sold for $50 and old furniture being sold for $10,000.
From Dusty to Desirable
A good place to start is by distinguishing the difference between something that is just old and something that is a priceless antique. While there is no industry definition of when an item crosses over and is no longer just old, some of the standards used are that the item needs to be at least 100-150 years old. Technically speaking though, an antique is any item with extra value assigned to it due to its age.
What to Look For
When trying to distinguish the authenticity of wooden furniture, a good place to start is by examining the type and condition of joint used to fasten the fixture together. This is really handy for any item with drawers in it, as these can be easily taken out and examined. What you’re looking for is a dovetail joint, which has been used in furniture since before the 19th century.
Just as important as the presence of a dovetail joint is the condition of it. Any joint from a piece of furniture that’s supposed to be from the 19 century or older will have been done by hand. This will result in slightly unequal and uneven joints in the same project. If the lines seem perfectly straight and equal, then there’s a very good chance that item was made sometime in the 20th century or even later.
The type of wood used is another great indicator of age. Much older valuable pieces will often involve the use of at least a couple different types of wood. This is due to the fact that using a valuable wood on inner or bottom pieces was financially illogical since those areas would be seldom seen. If you examine the furniture and notice different woods on the bottom, then it’s a likely sign that it’s quite old.
The last big thing to look for when determining age is general wear and tear. No item that was built 150 years ago survives this long without incurring some pretty significant wear and tear in the commonly used components of it.