Recognizing an item as an antique is critical if you are, in fact, looking for an antique. Mass production of furniture and other items are at the order of the day in the modern world. If you are antique hunting, you should make sure that you can identify the knock-off or reproduction and recognize the original antique. Many people reproduce antiques to make them look old and sell them for very high prices. Look for the following when antique hunting.
1. Check for legitimate signs of age – A true antique will show signs of aging like boards separating, water marks, or littles nicks. A new piece or reproduction will have smooth surfaces and edges.
2. Look for ‘too perfect’ – An antique will show differences in its hardware. Every piece of hardware that make up the antique has to differ from the others in some way. If every piece is the same, it is probably not an antique.
3. Check the drawers – An antiques’ drawers will have dovetail joints that are not exact. In new furniture, joints are perfect because they are made through machines that are operated by computers.
4. Check the drawer’s runner – Furniture that has been used over and over across decades and centuries will show signs of wear and tear. If you don’t see any indication of age on the runner, it probably isn’t an antique.
5. Check the screws, and worm holes – Antiques have square nails and worm holes together in a single piece. It is possible that someone could duplicate this by using old nails, so check the piece carefully.
6. Check for other signs of reproduction – Newly produced furniture tends to be more ‘perfect’ or more consistent than antiques. This is due to technology making everything easier and more precise. To avoid buying a reproduction, look for coloring that is too consistent, corners that are factory-rounded, and the smell. Antiques don’t have consistent color or perfectly rounded corners, and they don’t smell ‘new.’
Keep an eye out for these things, and you are less likely to get caught by a sneaky sales person trying to pass off reproductions as antiques.