Some people are uninterested in fine arts or history and may not realize how one old furniture could amount to in worth. However, in the field of design, history, fine arts, and humanities, a piece of wood carved into a chair, then passed down to many generations of owners could be worth more than a thousand dollars because of its age alone.
A common man might find how ridiculous it is for one person to bid thousands of dollars at an auction for such simple material. But when one indulges into the studies of arts and crafts, he will learn that simplicity in such furniture pieces has even deeper aspects.
Antiques: The Value Beneath Its Surface
Antiques are pieces of works that have survived the tests of time for many generations or even centuries. It is not necessary to think that antiques are beauties of the old. In fact, the value of such objects lies not in their designs for they may come with simple and uninteresting features. The worth of antiques lies under its surface – the sentimental value, the stories they tell, and the nature of the artists. The saying “The whole is greater than the sum of its parts” applies specially to antiques, and their abstract value is the reason why people are willing to pay so much to acquire them.
As said above, these furniture pieces are not acquired for their physical appearances. One example of an antique’s abstract value is its history. A sword might be just a simple metal forged into shape by a blacksmith. But an antique collector could be more interested in the wielder of this sword and the many battles he had won. Perhaps the sword belonged to a medieval knight, and perhaps the King forged the sword himself for his favored vassal. Underneath the sword lies a symbol of greatness and the memories of its previous owner, and these are what most collectors pay for.
FAKES AND REPRODUCTIONS
Antiques are symbols of greatness. They hold memories, stories, feelings, and have survived the ravages of time. But due to its prices and increasing demands, companies and businesses came up with the idea of fake antiques. These newly-carved furniture pieces, which is outfitted with designs of the old, and laced with powder to make them look the part, trick collectors into buying fakes.
Reproductions are very rampant in the antique world. These are furniture made with imitated designs from “real” antiques. For example, any talented artist could paint an almost exact copy of Da Vinci’s Mona Lisa and sell it for a ridiculous price. In fact, it is not uncommon to find two stores selling the same painting and calling it “Original.” Reproductions are almost exactly like their antique counterparts, and even an obsessed collector can be fooled.
It is easy to spot a fake; for instance, if a store is selling it when another version of it is currently displayed in a museum. But unless one’s eyes are sharpened, and the mind trained to the expertise of fine arts, there is almost no way to tell whether it is a real antique or reproduction. Fortunately, however, experts are always ready to give out tips on how to tell these two apart.
How to Know if Furniture is Antique
The Antique and its Seller
The first thing that exposes a fake antique is its seller. Most antique sellers are avid collectors themselves, and they know their merchandise as if it were their own. They know the stories, its materials, the nature of its design, its artist, and even where it was made. Furthermore, they would be more than glad to tell all they know about it. A fake antique seller would be annoyed at such questions and would usually answer with “I don’t know,” or “Maybe…” They would also usually refer you to other company employees who claim to be antique experts. If that is the case, ask at least two of these “experts, ” and if their stories don’t add up, it may not be a real antique.
Humorously, some fake antique sellers would downright admit that they are selling imitations out of exasperation.
Real or Fake Through Sight and Smell
Most producers work hard on making their imitations look original. However, there are some who are content with selling mere reproductions. Ironically, antique collectors can still be tricked by such obvious imitations, believing they are real antique. They may look old through their designs. But looking closely, they may seem as if they were newly sanded, and the smell of wax would be strong.
Antique or Reproduction Through Design
Reproductions are usually produced exactly similar to their real antique counterparts. However, there are some copies that go beyond the designs of the original. For example, a China plate formed with simple clay could have Chinese characters simply calligraphed into its surface. Such simplicity reflects on the artist and from what age he was from where there were no such things as machines.
On the other hand, imitations could have a China plate made from rare, high-quality clay and mixed with gold, and the Chinese symbols as designs would be elevated and protruded to show emphasis, finesse, and elegance. However, such are made from modern machines, not from the hands of a man; therefore, it can be branded as fake antiques.
Antique or Reproduction Through Material
It is important to know first where the antique was made to know whether it is real or not. For instance, antiques made from the Georgian era, such as drawers and closets, are known to be made of oak wood while antiques from 18th century Britain are usually made of Mahogany. China plates are made only from the finest clay, which is bright white in color.
It is important to match the materials from when and where they were made, as these may help determine whether it is a real antique or reproduction. For more information on this matter, you are encouraged to do your own thorough research and visit official antique websites.