It’s important for antique collectors, interior designers, and everyday shoppers to understand the difference between genuine and reproduction antiques. Much like genuine antiques, reproductions have existed for centuries, with some even amassing a following dedicated to collecting reproduced pieces of antiques.
In general, people are usually attracted to antique furniture because of its craftsmanship and historical value. Here’s an easy way to find authentic antique furniture:
1. Inconsistent shortage vs. contrived imperfection
In general, genuine antiques have inconsistent flaws due to natural wear and tear. Reproductions have apparent imperfections, with flaws that are symmetrical and subtle.
2. Wear and tear
Genuine antique furniture pieces usually have dents and scratches. These signs of wear are most often found in areas that touch the most such as the legs of a table or chair, or the top of an armchair compared to the bottom.
The drawer runner should also show signs of wear, indicating that it has been opened and closed hundreds of times over the years. Furniture that is too perfect or symmetrically flawed may be a reproduction.
Antique French furniture, as available at Antiques on Old Plank Road, similar to other types of wooden antique furniture where wormholes are to be expected. Wormholes are caused by worms that feed on wood, something that is not uncommon in French antiques from the countryside.
It has to climb up and down through the surface in an inconsistent manner because the worms eat the wood furniture randomly. Wormholes that appear flat may just be sliced to give the impression of an old cut on a new reproduction or counterfeit antique.
4. Musty on top of Fresh
Genuine antique furniture that lasts for years will usually develop a musty smell that comes from the wood and patina. Antique reproduction furniture pieces most likely still have the fresh scent of the fresh wood used in their production.
5. Natural vs. Synthetic
One thing that can help when looking for authentic antiques is the presence of synthetic fibers which were only introduced in the 1920s. If a seller claims that certain furniture is from the Regence period in France, check the upholstery. Stuffing should be made from natural materials such as horsehair rather than synthetic fibers and fabrics.
6. Various types of wood
Real antiques are usually made of more than one type of wood. This can be attributed to the high cost that carpentry materials demanded in the past. This has led furniture makers to include other types of wood for furniture parts that are not visible to observers or are not exposed. Reproductions, on the other hand, tend to be made from the same type of wood from the ground up.
7. Finish with finish
Antiques that retain their original finish are worth more than items that have seen many touches of refinishing. Look for drip marks on the back or bottom of the antique, as this is usually an indication that the antique has seen brush refinishing.
Knowing how to distinguish a reproduction from an authentic antique can mean the difference between a great deal and a serious burn on the wallet.