There are a lot of myths floating around out there when it comes to buying antiques. If you’ve ever fallen prey to some of these falsehoods then you might not be getting the best treasures. Read on to find out how these myths impact our buying choices when we go antiquing.
Myth #6: Pass on Anything That Is Dirty or Damaged
Many people believe that just because something is dirty or damaged it’s ruined. Many crusty items can be cleaned up if you know how to do it (I once found a vintage Coach bag for almost nothing that just needed a little oil). The question is if the item is too far gone to be restored or if you are willing/able to restore it properly. This is a case by case basis, though many items which appear dingy still have quite a bit of life left in them.
Myth #5: There Are No More Treasures at Antique Stores
While it’s true that some antique stores can be rather picked over (or bare if they’ve saved their best items for dealers), there are still plenty of good finds left in antique shops. There’s constant turn over on furniture as tastes change or people downsize and small items always abound. But, they may take a little more hunting to find these days with the rise of vintage collectibility and shows like Antiques Roadshow which give people a lot of information about collecting.
Myth #4: Vintage Items Are Not Worth as Much as Antiques
In today’s market, mid-century modern is worth quite a bit of dough. Even things made from plastic can be worthwhile investments. Take for instance 1950s radios, Saarinen-Knoll tulip chairs, or the Mod mushroom lamps, which all currently have very good values among collectors.
Myth #3: You Can Spot a Fake Easily
Sometimes you can and sometimes you can’t, but there are a few clues that many pieces will give up if inspected closely. An “antique” breakfront may have gorgeous old-fashioned style, but if the joins inside the doors and drawers look cheaply made then there’s a real chance that it’s not that old. Finely made antique furniture should have high quality features like dovetail joints.
Myth #2: Just Because Something Looks Old It IS Old
Not only are there a lot of fakes out there, there are also a lot of reproductions. If you like the item and don’t care if it’s old or not, then the only real concern is that it’s priced appropriately. Some dealers will charge the same for a known reproduction as the real thing! And that’s where the next myth comes into play.
Myth #1: Don’t Buy Unless You’re Sure of Its Worth
We often get fed this myth. The truth is that if you love an item and it is reasonably priced then there’s no reason why you can’t enjoy the piece. When you buy what you like, you’re assured enjoyment regardless of the monetary value. Falling into the trap of only buying what you think has a high dollar value may lead to a collection which doesn’t really reflect your tastes.