The current trend of mixing modern and antique furniture is increasing the demand for genuine antiques, especially period dining table and chair sets. Of course, the more you know about the period concerned, the better and with that in mind, here are a few things to know about when looking to buy wooden antique chairs.
- Maker Stamps & Markings – More often than not, antique chairs will have the maker’s mark, possibly a stamp on the underside of the seat. If you are buying from a reputable antique dealer, they would show you relevant stamps and markings, while also giving you some history. Of course, the marketplace is flooded with replicas, and some are so good that only an expert would be able to tell.
- Damage Inspection – When viewing antique chairs, you should be looking closely for damage or signs of repair. The upper rear support section of a chair is often the first place to need repairs, so look for signs of replacement. When looking at a wooden antique chair, the central supports are another place to look for repair work, while delicate carved legs require careful inspection, as they can easily get damaged.
- Upholstery – Of course, this takes a lot of punishment and while you can’t expect the fabric to be like new, it should be in good order. If, on closer inspection, you found a small tear, this should be pointed out to the dealer, who would either offer to repair or lower the asking price accordingly. Typically, an antique dealer will only list items that are in good condition and when there are minor issues, they inform the client.
- Consider Re-Upholstering – If you have a set of period chairs with rather worn fabric and you aren’t planning on selling, have a skilled antique upholsterer carry out the work. Some might think it sacrilege to recover antique chairs, but from a practical perspective, it makes more sense, especially when you are not planning to sell the furniture.
- Repair & Replacement – It is important to understand the difference between repair and replacement. A repair is when damaged components are returned to original condition, while a replacement involves replacing a single piece. You often see minor repairs on antique Victorian chairs that have seen considerable wear and tear for more than a century!
For the best selection of genuine antique wooden chairs, search online for a local antique dealer and see what they have listed. Late 19th century Beech & Elm dining chairs offer comfort and elegance, perfect for a traditional setting, while you might prefer a Victorian dining suite, complete with table.
Buying from a reputable antique dealer is the best way to ensure that you are getting authentic pieces at market value and their reputation is highly valued. Reputable dealers would never knowingly sell something inferior. If you would like a professional appraisal of antiques, talk to your local dealer who would be happy to carry out an independent appraisal.