Furniture and accessories add to the ambiance of your home and will share space with you and your family for generations so finding an item that retains its value is obviously very important to any buyer. Antiques not only retain their value but are often of higher quality than mass-produced furniture and add a sense of history, culture, and warmth to your interior as well as an element of mystique and refinement.

Buyers looking for antiques generally do so because of an admiration of history and elegance along with a desire to acquire items that will either retain or increase in value but it is important to know how to spot an authentic antique. As you can probably guess, most antiques have imperfections and flaws due to natural use and because they have not been mass-produced from a template. Reproductions are usually smooth and symmetrical; its flaws are not authentic but rather contrived. In this post, we are going to be looking at tips on how to spot an authentic antique.

Look under drawers and chairs, check to see if any of its parts are constructed with a different kind of wood from the rest of the whole piece. Authentic antiques are often made with different kinds of wood because oftentimes materials used in carpentry were very difficult to obtain. Reproductions, on the other hand, are produced from the same kind of wood from its top to bottom and the fronts of drawers will usually have a different wood that the sides or interiors of a piece.

Authentic antiques will normally show signs of wear in places that would sustain the most contact naturally. Scratches, dents, and stains will be distributed unevenly on a piece whose flaws are the outcome of ordinary use. If the patina is perfect, then it has a greater chance of being a reproduction. Rum your hands over the piece. Fell the age with your fingertips.

Real hand carving is always unsymmetrical and uneven while machine carving is symmetrical and smooth. Look for little imperfections in the craft to confirm whether the work was done by a machine or a human. If it is perfect it probably is newly made.

The use of modern materials such as staples, Phillips screws and fiberboard is a clear indication that it’s a reproduction.

Authentic antiques will often (though not always) smell time-worn. Reproductions usually smell fresh with the wood scent still discernible. Cedar and Camphor wood have a wonderful scent to them.

Spotting an authentic antique can be challenging because replicas are often so well done. It requires a professional eye to spot and recognize a fake. With these tips discussed above, you will be able to differentiate an authentic antique from a reproduced one.

At Charles Jacobsen, Inc. we have over 35 years of experience in Asian antique acquisition. We are seasoned purveyors of fine furniture and accessories and bring you the most authentic pieces from China, India, Japan, Myanmar (Burma), Sri Lanka, Thailand and Turkey.