Will Seippel | July 17, 2023

Antique furniture encompasses various styles, with each item representing a specific period, design influence, and craftsmanship techniques. Deciding which items are worth investing in and which ones to skip can be daunting. Additionally, distinguishing between genuine antique furniture and reproductions can be difficult if you’re unsure what to look for. So, how can you make an informed purchase?

The Internet Is Your Friend

Antique stores, online marketplaces, and estate sales offer diverse opportunities to find distinctive pieces of antique furniture for purchase. When venturing into buying antique furniture, it is critical to conduct thorough research and carefully examine the condition of the desired work. While many reputable sellers aim to provide fair and accurate pricing, considering factors such as condition, authenticity, rarity, and market value, it is always beneficial to supplement your research with price guides, books, and additional resources to ensure an informed decision.

Value of Antique Furniture Versus Reproductions

antique Queen Anne dressing table furniture
This Queen Anne block-front dressing table, an exquisite antique, embodies the allure of the elegant Queen Anne style while commanding high value. This particular piece fetched an impressive $550,000 on eBay in 2017, showcasing its remarking desirability and appreciation.
Image source: WorthPoint

Acquiring something of pristine historical value is commendable. However, for those searching for the aesthetic appeal and design elements of original antique pieces, well-crafted restorations can provide an enticing alternative. Reproductions, more readily available than authentic antiques, allow skilled artists to painstakingly replicate the intricate carvings and quality craftsmanship seen in the originals. Take, for instance, this high-quality reproduction of a Newport block-front chest of drawers, which embodies many distinctive stylistic characteristics of its original inspiration. This item sold at Cowan’s Auctions for $1,150 in May 2005.

Alternatively, this original Newport chest of drawers sold at Thomaston Place Auction Galleries for $12,500 in February 2015. While reproductions provide attractive pricing, it’s crucial to recognize that they lack authentic antique furniture’s historical and cultural significance and the potential for appreciation as investment assets. These factors significantly influence the item’s value.

Happy Hunting!

Whether you are drawn to antique furniture for its historical and cultural significance or its unique and authentic nature, knowing what to look for can empower you to make informed decisions when purchasing, collecting, or valuing authentic antique furniture.

Will Seippel is the CEO and founder of WorthPoint®, the world’s largest provider of information about art, antiques, and collectibles. Individuals and organizations use WorthPoint, an Inc. 500 Company, to seek credible valuations on everything from cameras to coins. WorthPoint counts the Salvation Army, Habitat for Humanity, and the IRS among its clients.