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Antique French Gilded Mirror: How to Spot a Reproduction

Tuesday, 12th August 2014 1 Comment

If it looks old, it probably is. This statement is often applied when shopping for antique furniture. However, there are pieces that are purposely aged to look antique, like gilded mirrors, that require a closer like. This is why a close inspection is often recommended before purchasing an antique.

Can you tell the difference?

 To spot an antique French gilded mirror reproduction, you need to know the characteristics of a genuine piece and a custom-made one. Here are some tips.

Look for signs of age

Like other wood materials, the wooden frame of an antique French gilded mirror displays discoloration with age. It also expands with moisture through time, making points of separation seem uneven.

Wood discolors and expands through time.
Petite Original 18th Century Antique Mirror in Gilt Frame

 Reproductions do not display these signs as they usually appear ‘too perfect’ compared to real antiques.

Check the construction

Staples, glue, and modern screws are clear indicators of a reproduction. Other characteristics of a reproduction include factory-rounded corners, consistent color, and fresh wood odor. Determining the age of your furniture can also help you spot a reproduction from an original.

Is it too symmetrical?

Antique French gilded mirrors are handcrafted without the new technology available today. They are imperfect and are inconsistent because of human construction. This is why an authentic gilded mirror has asymmetrical carvings or gilding. Reproductions on the other hand often have exact symmetry.

Reproductions often have exact symmetry.
Exquisite 57 x 37″ Gilt Carved Rococo Beveled Mirror

Have your furniture appraised

Get antique furniture valuation from an expert. These appraisals look into the size, style, origin and age of your antique. This way, you can be able to accurately tell if your piece is an original or a reproduction.

There is more than what meets the eye. Knowing how to tell a reproduction from an antique can help you make a great deal and prevent burning a large hole in your wallet. For top quality antique mirrors, check out our wide selection here.

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Who Identifies Antique Art Pieces?

Monday, 4th August 2014 No Comments »

Old collectibles and family heirlooms are not only home decors with sentimental value, they can also be precious artifacts worth thousands of dollars.

So before tossing that dusty wooden cabinet into the recycling bin or selling your grandma’s old vase at a garage sale, try to find out how much it’s actually worth. Who knows, what you have in your hands might be the very piece of art that would turn you into an instant millionaire.

Who Determines an Item’s Value?

Now that you’re looking more closely at what you would have thrown years ago, the next step is to have your items identified by an appraiser.

Appraisers can tell you whether you’ve got real treasure or just plain trash. They can help you with the item’s value for a sale, donation, insurance coverage, or even just to satisfy your curiosity. You can find an appraiser for almost any item, but finding an expert can be daunting.

Experts from the highly rated part-adventure, part-history lesson television program Antiques Roadshow are among the famous across the country. These are specialists from lead auction houses and independent dealers.

On the show, they explain the historical significance of the object the owners bring in – including jewelry, antique books, toys, furniture, and many others – and assess how much the object is worth.

However, getting into the show can be tough, especially with so many people wanting to join. You’ll need a ticket to an appraisal event and, if chosen, get in a very long line along with some 2,000 others. If you’re like most of us and can’t get on the show, here are other options to help you proceed.

1. Local Appraisers

There is no licensing for appraisers, so the key is finding a reliable professional who meets ethical standards. One way to accomplish this is to get referrals from trusted managers, estate attorneys, or other professionals who deal with appraisers on a regular basis. You can also get referrals from professional organizations such as Appraisers Association of America Inc. and American Society of Appraisers.

When you get a name, check the appraiser’s resume to see how long they have been working as well as what items they usually work with.  Find out how much a written appraisal is going to cost you before giving them the item. Prominent appraisers would charge by the hour, with rates dependent on location.

Bear in mind, a professional appraiser would never offer to buy an item he or she has appraised.

2. Internet appraisers

To get an estimate of your item, you can opt to obtain an online quote. Some are free while others cost $10 to $30. Essentially antique owners upload photos of their item and provide descriptions and receive valuations within a week.

Some online appraisal services include:

However, many appraisers say that the Internet is not a good place to obtain accurate valuations. They agree that the item needs to be handled and seen to identify its true value.

3. Auction Houses

Sotheby’s and Christie’s would usually provide free valuations to the public. Check out their websites for information and dates regarding “appraisal day” or “valuation day.”

4. Antique Dealers

Go to your local antique store and try to get free verbal appraisals from collectors or dealers. Some places would probably be happy to assist and give you an idea what your antique piece is worth.

5. Yourself

Before sending your item off to qualified appraisers, make your own initial assessment. Examine the piece carefully and do some research.

For wooden pieces, you can check out our guide on how to determine the age of antique furniture. This will give you an idea of what period or era your piece belongs. Remember, the older the antique piece, the more valuable it becomes.

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How to Get Into a Locked Secretary Desk

Tuesday, 29th July 2014 No Comments »

Antique secretary desks are functional pieces of furniture used for writing, reading, and storing documents, books and other office ware. However, in the home it can also serve as an important decorative piece.

Antique French L. Philippe Burled Walnut Secretary

One common problem that antique collectors encounter when using or purchasing antique secretary drawers is that often times they are unable to open them. This may be because of the loss of its original key or a difficulty in getting the drawers to pull open easily.

Here are some solutions to getting into an antique secretary desk.

Blank Replicas and Skeleton Keys

A very common problem that antique furniture owners encounter is the loss of keys. It can be that the key to your secretary desk drawer has been lost or perhaps you have bought one that did not come with its original key.

In these instances, a good solution would be to have a replacement key created. Many antique furniture shops offer replacement keys. Getting a blank replica or new skeleton key may require you to bring the furniture to the shop so a working key can be reproduced.

Drawers That Won’t Open

Antique French L. Philippe Burled Walnut Secretary

The vast majority antique secretary desks contain drawer. Often times, you may encounter one whose drawers do not slide in and out easily and may require excessive pulling. This can be a source of inconvenience during use and may eventually damage the furniture.

A good solution to this problem involves taking the drawer out and rubbing hand soap to the surfaces of the drawer. Candles can make for a great alternative as well. This will ease the drawers into opening without requiring much effort.

As an enthusiast, it is common to encounter these types of problems with your favorite antique furniture pieces. Follow the tips above to ensure your antique secretary desk is both visually appealing and functional.

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How to Do a Wall of Antique Mirrors

Tuesday, 22nd July 2014 No Comments »

Mirrors are an important part of a classic or contemporary home. Generally, they are used to create the illusion of a bigger space, but can also be used for different purposes such as dressing up a home.

Antique mirrors can add the natural charm, beauty, and drama of its frame to any space and instantly brighten the room. When installed, security and style should be taken into consideration.

Exquisite 57 x 37″ Gilt Carved Rococo Beveled Mirror

Mirrors are installed in a variety of ways.

  • Brackets – Some antique mirrors require brackets for installation. For these mirrors, measurements are crucial to secure the mirror in its place.
  • Hanging Wires – Other antique mirrors have hanging wires on its back side. When installing these types of mirrors on your wall, make sure to mark the wall using the highest point of the hanging wire. Secure a nail or a hook based on where the hanging wire is.

After you have installed a mirror, check the mirror alignment by stepping back and observing its placement on the wall. Also, make sure that the mirrors are in place and safely secure.

When doing a wall of antique mirrors, feel free to get creative with the style. Each piece does not have to follow the same size, shape, or color. Also, try not to worrying on having antique mirrors from the same era.

Photo via Homedit

Style Tips

  • Try putting together different forms of mirrors before securing them in place.
  • It’s important to consider how the different styles complement each other and that they enhance the surrounding space. Feel free to put them against a colored wall for more visual impact.

There is a wide selection of mirrors at Antiques on Old Plank Road that come from different periods and origins. Choose pieces according to the personality that you want for your wall and room.

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7 Steps on How to Antique Shutters

Tuesday, 15th July 2014 No Comments »

Photo via Olive and Love

Antique shutters give off a quaint, old-world feel. For those who appreciate a country or rustic design, shutters that look like they’ve been exposed to the elements for years can be a great addition to the home.

Like any wood furniture, wooden shutters – even the freshly manufactured ones – can be made to look weathered and aged with just a little effort. Don’t worry if you don’t have any old ones at present, here are manual aging methods to realistically imitate the look of antique shutters.

The goal is to create a distressed and imperfect fashion, excellent painting skills are definitely not required to accomplish this. Simply follow these steps:

Antique English Shutters with Original Paint

Step 1.
If the shutters are attached to the home, remove them carefully with a screwdriver.

Step 2.
Sand the surface of the wooden shutters to allow the paint to stick better. For operational shutters, sand both the front and back.  Afterwards, wipe the surface with tack cloth to remove dust and grit.

Step 3.
Paint the shutters in your choice of color. Apply 2 to 3 coats of latex enamel paint in different colors. For outdoor shutters, select paints and sealers made to withstand weather.

In between coats, rub a little vaseline on the areas you want to look distressed, such as corners, edges, or the area near the hinges. This will allow your base color to show through your top coat. You can also sand the areas lightly using fine-grade sandpaper. Wipe the shutters after sanding.

Wait for the paint to dry completely in between coats as well.

Step 4.
Begin distressing the shutters. Using a coarse or medium grit sandpaper, sand the surface of the shutters to create an overall aged look. Work in the direction of the grain or in small circles and apply more pressure in areas to reveal the base coat of paint.

Step 5.
Hit the shutters with multiple keys or hammer taps to create nicks and scratches. Be careful not to hit too hard though, as you may crack your wood. Aim at the edges where the wood is thicker.

Step 6.
Sand again until you achieve the look you desire.

Step 7.
Using a paint brush, seal the shutters with acrylic varnish. While it’s ideal to make your shutters look worn out, you wouldn’t want them to rot. This would protect the shutters from breakage.

Antiquing shutters can give new life to your home, both inside and out. Aside from their original purpose, distressed shutters also make great headboards, tables, magazine stands, cabinets, organizers, decorative wall pieces and so much more.

Photo via BHG

Photo via HGTV

But if you opt to skip the whole process and jump to having authentic antique shutters, give us a call – we have a collection of antique shutters for all tastes.

Antique French Shutters with Original Paint

Pair Antique French Shutters with Original Paint and Hardware

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