Collecting antiques has been growing in popularity for more than 150 years. Antique collecting can be fun and profitable. How much do you really know about collecting antiques? Take this quiz and find out how you rate with the experts.
According to U.S. law, any item that is at least 100 years old is considered an antique. However, many serious collectors disagree with this definition.
Many serious antique collectors will not even consider purchasing an item that was manufactured after 1830.
It is true that items made prior to 1830 are rarer and therefore more valuable. However, the fact that the industrial age began around 1830 is the real reason that collectors prefer hand-crafted items made before that date.
In some cases, the craftsmanship of an item made in 1890 can be superior and is still considered an antique. However, Queen Anne reigned from 1702-1714, making the chair a period antique, which is more valuable to collectors.
Historians consider the passion for collecting antiquities began during the excavation of perfectly preserved items from Pompeii. This historical dig began in 1748 under the direction of Charles III from Spain.
Americans really became interested in collecting Antiques only around 1876, when the Centennial Exposition in Philadelphia highlighted artifacts from the early beginnings of the United States.
Unfortunately, a poorly designed or constructed piece will not bring a good price regardless of its age. A well-constructed quality piece is worth much more than a similar piece the same age that was poorly crafted.
Compare the finish to determine if the chair has an original finish and if that finish is in good condition. An identical piece that has undergone restoration will be worth far less than if it sports the original finish.
Not only are fake antiques expensive to produce, but it would also require a great deal of skill and expertise to create a fake piece that could fool an expert.
Mr. Sacks describes the overall look of a piece as its aspect. Aspect is generally described as the overall look or appearance to the eye.
The type of wood used to craft a piece of furniture is one of the best indicators of its age. Various woods were favored during different periods and even by different makers.
Pine was not considered a favorite for furniture construction, so it was hidden or disguised. Although pine has a very nice grain pattern, it is very soft and is easily damaged or marred.
Most Queen Anne period tables and chairs were made from walnut. Walnut was also used for colonial furnishings.
Mahogany was prominent in Chippendale items. Mahogany is favored for its rich grain and unique red color.
Cherry wood was used extensively in colonial America for its attractive, light red color and its abundant availability.
Plywood and particleboard was never used to make furniture prior to the 20th century. Although plywood is durable, it is less desirable for quality furniture than solid wood.
Wood darkens and shrinks with age, causing antique furniture pieces to become misshapen or panels to pull away from their supporting frames. For example, you can look for a lighter color where the panel separated from the frame.
Take advantage of museums in your area that feature antique displays. Museums often have seminars and classes and you can browse their collection or examine their documentation, confident that pieces on display have been professionally authenticated.
Handle antique photographs only with clean, white cotton gloves. Place your antique pictures in individual archival envelopes and store the envelopes in archival boxes in a dry, cool and dark place.
The best way to ensure long life for antique rugs and quilts is to hang them on your walls. Make sure that these items are kept out of direct sunlight that can fade them quickly.