Shopping for antique chairs can be a fun experience, especially if you know what to look for. An antique chair can give your room a classic, decorative look. For a chair to be considered antique it must be at least over 100-years-old. In addition to the age requirement, a chair must have aesthetic and historical value to truly be considered an antique. Always be vigilant when buying antiques. There are many fake antique chairs on the market. However, armed with some research and some buying tips, you will be on your way to understanding the antique market and making a smart antique chair purchase.
Before you delve into the world of antique chairs, you need to understand a few general terms. The term “x-stretcher,” describes the x-shaped supports connecting the chair legs. The x-stretcher is usually ornately carved and covered with ornamentation. A “yoke back” is the curved rails that make the top rail of the chair back. The curved rails simulate the look of an ox’s yoke and are usually ornately carved and decorated. The term “h-stretcher,” describes the three wooden pieces used to connect the legs of the chair. The “splat” is the vertical centerpiece on an open-backed antique chair. The splat acts as a back support and is usually ornately carved.
You now know a few terms used to describe antique chairs. Next, you will need to determine the style of antique chair you would like to buy. There are many styles of antique chairs on the market. You will want to narrow down your selection, and learn everything you can about the antique chair before you approach a seller. Chippendale is and example of a popular style of antique chair. Chippendale was manufactured from 1750 to 1780 by a London cabinetmaker, Thomas Chippendale. Chippendale chairs are made of dark wood and are known for their curved, thin legs. Chippendale is just one example of the many styles of antique chairs available on the market. To pick the antique chair that is right for you, browse through antique chair listings in auction catalogs and on the Internet. Learn all the design characteristics of you chosen antique chair. Arm yourself with as much information as possible to help you identify the chair in a retail environment.
There are certain characteristics of antique chairs that will either increase or decrease its value. Before you shop for an antique chair, you should have a basic knowledge of these characteristics. First off, you will want your antique chair to be in original condition. Original condition means the chair has all of its original hardware and pieces. An antique chair in original condition has a higher market value. Another characteristic of an antique chair is patina. Patina means the chair has some scuffs and dirt from years of use. Your chair should look old, but it should not be damaged. Strangely enough, patina makes an antique chair more valuable. Your antique chair should have its original finish, meaning the varnish or protective coating on the furniture is the same that was used when the furniture was first made. Finally, you will want your antique chair to have provenance, or documented evidence of the antique’s history.
Once you have chosen your chair, learned your terms and done your thorough research; you can start visiting your local antique shops. Visit your local antique shop and ask to see their selection of antique chairs. Do not buy the first antique chair you see. Use your first visit to an antique shop as a learning experience. Ask the sale associate questions and get a feel for the prices of antique chairs in your area. Get a feel for the antique shopping process. Once you feel comfortable in your local antique shop, you will want to visit antique auctions, garage sales, estate sales and the Internet. Auction houses, such as Sotheby’s, will have auctions specifically dedicated for the type of antique chair you would like to purchase. However, an auction atmosphere can be intimidating. Like the auction shop, visit a few auctions to get a feel for the process before diving into the bidding process. Garage sales and estate sales don’t have high-pressure bidding. However, issues of authenticity may arise at garage and estate sales. Always ask to see the “provenance” to verify the authenticity of the antique chair. The Internet is also a good resource for antique chairs. You can find many rare antiques on the Internet, but be careful. Always arrange to see the chair in person before making your purchase.
Once you have made a selection, you can enjoy not only the atmosphere invoked by your newly aquired chair or chairs, but you can also take pride in the history that comes with owning a true antique.