How to Recognize, Identify, Authenticate

and Buy Antique Furniture: A Guide for New

(and not so new ) Collectors


When buying antique furniture, it's a good choice to start with an informed approach.

Otherwise, how can we be sure of what we are getting? We cannot depend on a

salesman's say-so. He or she may be honest, but no better informed than we are.

Our only safeguard is a more thorough education along, and the time to get this

education is before purchasing, not after.


I know that is easier said then done because the average American likes a quick

and easy path to knowledge, but that is not the way to become familiar with the

essentials of the historic styles.


Try to read as much as you can about the styles that appeal to you. There is enough

information within this website alone to give you a good start.

Train your eye by visiting museums. You may never own such furniture,

but you will find by looking, really looking,  at museum quality period furniture

you will learn to recognize at a glance the period of a piece, as we recognizes the make

of a car by the shape or the proportions of the body.


Then, when we see a chair or a table in a shop window, we can tell at a glance whether or not it possesses the fundamental characteristics of the style indicated on the label.


You may be thinking, but Rod, I don't see the point in learning about period furniture

that I will never find or can't afford.  But you see, It's still all interconnected.  You will find

yourself purchasing better quality pieces once you understand what you are looking at.

Every day, unknowing people walk away from a sale thinking they got the deal of

the day, but really just bought something the "informed" buyers didn't want.  The

informed buyers (more times than not) just passed on it because they knew

something perhaps the buyer didn't.

Collecting antiques is very rewarding and a lot of fun!  Knowledge is power,

and your overall experience will be much more rewarding when you can

identify what you are looking at.