Antiques and vintage furniture pieces are always in high demand by collectors and decorators, who are trained in how to tell if a piece is truly antique, or simply a clever replica.
Much like bingo Australia games online, sometimes fakes can be quite hard to spot without the right know-how, too.
If you would like to be able to tell the difference yourself, read on as we break down the only tips you’ll ever need for sniffing out genuine, valuable antique items!
#1: Search for Dove-Tailing
‘Dovetailing’ is a term that describes a certain style of woodworking craftsmanship that was used very commonly during the 19th and 20th centuries. Found on the sides of cabinets, drawers, tables, chairs and other pieces, these special joints have been around for a very long time, and are an accurate indicator of how old an item really is.
Once you spot a dovetail, you will need to look closer to check whether the lines and edges are flawlessly straight or somewhat flawed. Irregular joints (in both shape and finish) can reveal hand-done work, which is indicative of an older piece.
#2: Count the Wood Types Used
Decades ago, it was uncommon to see pieces of furniture made with one type of wood alone. Valuable wood was not used in the parts of antiques where nobody would see it, so check the bottoms of desks, drawers, tables and chairs to look for different wood hues and grains.
If the wood is the same throughout the piece, you are probably looking at a reproduced item.
#3: Beware of Ageing Techniques
It’s considered trendy today to have antiques in your home, but not everyone can afford them. Manufacturers’ solution to this issue has been to create faux antiques that are made to look like the real deal through the use of several ageing techniques.
Be sure to look for telltale signs of genuine antiques like pockets of dirt and grime in their corners and well worn drawer runners to be sure that you are not buying something that’s only a few years old!
#4: Check for Stamps and Labels
Furniture craftsmen in the olden days usually marked their work with unique stamps, letters, labels and symbols, much like artists sign their works before sale. If you want an authentic antique, look for signs of these stamps, labels and manufacturing tags, which will tell you when (and by whom) a piece was made.
These clues are most likely to be found on the backs of cupboards, in the insides of drawers, and on the lower, bottom-side edges of furniture pieces.
#5: Reject Symmetrical Artefacts
We noted earlier that perfect, flawless dovetail joints are a clear hint that a piece is not antique, but this concept extends to other parts of furniture design as well.
Hand-made items tend to be less symmetrical and uniform finishes and sides, so you will spot small differences in shape and size in a true antique. Machine-cut pieces did not come onto the market until the mid-1800s, so hand-done work and irregular touches are usually good signs!