ANTIQUE COLLECTOR NEWS
ANTIQUE COLLECTIBLE FURNITURE
By Leon Carlson of Mister Find IT ®
Through out history certain styles of furniture have been desired by the future generations. These styles are often dated by design distinctions of a certain era or time period. Smooth legs VS fancy tapering, claw feet VS a turned ball or simple bracket foot, even the choice of screws and hardware can determine a style and date. As all of my articles are geared toward the beginner collector, I'm not going to go into all those details on furniture, other then to say true antique furniture is at least 100 years old, so it will most likely be passed down from grandparents.
Most desired antique furniture will be made before 1920, as it was hand crafted. Most machine made furniture was made after that. Some antique furniture that is always desired is, heavily carved furniture (especially Asian made), inlaid furniture Adirondack furniture (furniture made with rustic twigs) and furniture made with or decorated with horns (steer horns, elk, moose, deer, etc.) . Furniture made by special designers or in time periods such as: fancy Empire, Gothic or Revival furniture made from 1820 -1880; Arts & Craft or Mission Period furniture (1900 - 1915); Art Deco furniture (1925-1940) Modernist or Mid-Century furniture (1945 - 1970); Furniture made by: Albert Berry, Belter, Charles Stickley, Dirk Van Erp, Earnest, Frank Lloyd Wright, Gilbert Rohde, Gustav Stickley, Harry Dixon, Haywood Wakefield, Herman Miller, Jarvie, Karl Kipp, Knoll, L & L.G. Stickley, Lifetime, Limbert, Meeks, Morris, Nelson, Noguchi, Onondaga Metal Shop, Rohlf's, Roux, Roycroft, Stickley Brothers, and Thonet. Collectors do not want furniture made of particle board, pressed sawdust, or cardboard. Collectors also do not want you to refinish oak furniture you plan to resell. On mission period pieces, an original finish is worth more than a refinished piece.
People want antique furniture that is beautiful to look at, but it must also be functional. Thus it is not uncommon to see repairs or flaws in antique furniture. Some of the common things you may see (or have to fix) is repaired drawers. Because of heavy use, many of the drawer bottom edges wear, and must be replaced or the drawer will teter totter, so you'll likely see two different types of wood there. You'll also see two different types of wood for filler pieces. Fine wood was expensive, and it was not uncommon to use a fine piece of wood in areas that would show, but cheap pine as blocks and spacers on the underside or in unseen areas. Like many other products, wood, over long periods of time shrinks, thus you may see cracks in corners, across an entire door, or loose drawer bottom, or where two pieces of wood are joined. If the piece has not been refinished, you will see scratches around knobs and handles, and cracking or flaking in the old finish. When you remove a knob the finish should be darker as the suns UV rays causes the finish to lighten over time. If the knobs themselves were replaced, you may see a different size foot print under the knob. If the back of a knob has rows of indentation (many little dashes), the knob has been made by machine, and thus replacing the original. If drawer sizes are different, a true antique will have smaller drawers near the top, and graduate to the largest drawers near the bottom. The same principle was applied to cabinet doors.
Antique furniture is heavy and bulky, and you need the right house to put it in. And often several strong guys to move it. Most people don't want to ship furniture across the country. Which may explain why some styles are sought after in different regions of the country. When Mister Find IT ® posts ads for furniture buyers, we try to make mention of the area the buyer buys from. There tends to be a preference of 18th and 19th along the East Coast, where as Victorian (1837 - 1901) designs tend to have a larger market in the Midwest and South. In the West, "western" designs are sought. Except for some markets in major western cities. Palm Springs, California for an example, people seek "Mid-Century modern furniture. While a hundred miles away in San Diego, and Los Angeles people seek a wider range of furniture. If you're selling antique furniture as described above, be sure to be contact serious buyers, as some pieces can be worth over $10,000. On the other hand, if you have old furniture, but it doesn't fit the above categories, you may consider painting (with caulk paint) or re-purpose it, as this seams to be the trend with the Millennials.
Enjoy your finds!
Mister Find IT ®