Antique-Buying Tips For Beginners

If you’re interested in buying antique objects or furniture, making your first purchase can be daunting. We’ve put together some tips to help you avoid common mistakes.

Antique-Buying Tips For Beginners

What Is an Antique?

Most reputable dealers use a mark of around 100 years before they call something antique. Anything younger than that comes under the broad label of ‘vintage’. A genuine antique will be something that was made in the years prior to and including World War I.

Are All Antiques Valuable?

No. Just being old isn’t enough to make something worth month. The price on antiques is made up of a number of factors, including:

•       Quality
•       Rarity
•       Historical significance and provenance (having proof of the history of the item)
•       The current fashions

Antique-Buying Tips For Beginners

Do Your Research

Before you consider buying an antique, spend some time looking into the market. If, for example, you are interested in antique crystal chandeliers, then it would pay you to look at the websites of reputable dealers such as

It’s also worth a trip to the library to read books on the subject or reaching out to other collectors via internet forums and discussion groups. You’ll learn some of the pitfalls from other people’s experiences rather than making mistakes yourself.

Know What’s Hot

You might think of antiques as being snapped up by elderly folk to fill their large houses, but that’s not the case. Many modern designers include very old objects in even modern settings. See this recent article from Ideal Home Magazine for inspiration:

Learn Your Kings and Queens

Or more properly, learn which styles were popular during their reigns. Being able to identify the common themes from various time periods will allow you to more accurately judge the age of a piece and might even help you to spot a bargain.

You can also take a good bet at the age of a piece when you learn a little about what sort of wood was use for furniture making, and when, and during what periods certain manufacturing techniques came into play. If something has been machine-finished, that gives you a good idea of when it was made.

Whether you go looking for treasures at a car boot fair or charity shop or you pay a premium at an antiques centre, if you buy what you love, you can’t really go wrong.