Every day antiques are collected, traded, hoarded and sold. Each furniture style, each type of object collected has a set of standards, knowledge and guidelines to guide the collection process. Some of this knowledge is factual and some of it comes from the mere handling of the objects and the collector's experience.
All antique furniture collectors can benefit from some simple basic ideas about collecting.
Educate yourself on furniture styles, history and manufacturing processes. Often a collector begins collecting antiques because they are drawn to a particular piece. They buy it and the collecting process begins. Not knowing why they are collecting or the facts behind what they are collecting can lead a buyer to make mistakes in their purchases.
Antique Chinese furniture is a great example. There is a vast difference between a modern piece and an antique piece. The dynasty, the manufacturing process, the maker's marks and materials used can tell a collector if they have found their next conquest.
For instance, do you know what antique bedroom furniture from China looks like? If you want to collect this type of furniture you should do your research before purchasing. Reproduction Chinese furniture is common and a collector who has not educated themselves can be easily deceived. If you know what you are looking for, you can purchase in an educated manner.
How do you know if a piece of furniture is antique? Here is a general guideline to follow: any furniture at least 100 years old is considered antique. Any furniture more than 20 years old but less than 100 is considered vintage.
Knowing how to price your antique piece is an important step in the collecting process. Pricing can vary according to demand as well as the age and condition of the piece. If antique oak furniture isn't popular but you love it, know this before you pay top dollar. If it isn't in demand then there will be a lot more of it floating around and the haggling process can work in the collector's favor.
Don't repair, refinish or change an antique unless a reputable appraiser states in an appraisal that repair is necessary to retain value. Antique office furniture is a good example. Refinishing a piece that shows the everyday wear and tear of its user will lower its value. If a repair is advised, then choose a certified tradesperson to repair the item.
How you find items for your furniture collection depends on how much time you choose to spend on this hobby. For some, the best way to spend a weekend is trolling flea markets and antique dealerships, admiring everything on offer and occasionally finding an irresistible piece.
Others prefer to buy at antique auctions. This way you need only schedule an occasional afternoon to bid on the exact piece you want. If you are a savvy collector, you can pick up great deals at auctions, as well. Online auctions are even more convenient. You can bid on antique furniture from all over the world without ever leaving your home.