Is My Antique Furniture Valuable? Appraisal Tips

If you own a piece of antique furniture, you're probably wondering what its value really is. While not all old or antique furniture is worth a ton of money, some pieces can hold a lot more value than people expect. Of course, you can never truly know until you enlist the help of an experienced antique furniture appraiser. Here are a few insider tricks and tips to help you learn more about the older furniture in your home or that you've inherited. 


When it comes to antique furniture, an appraiser is looking at four different main characteristics. First, they'll consider the rarity of the piece. Unless it's by a famous designer, if the piece was mass produced and they've seen plenty like it in the past, it's probably not rare. Just like many other antique items, the rarer a piece of furniture is, the more valuable it could be. Next, the condition of the piece is taken into consideration. If a dresser has a broken drawer or an old couch has ripped upholstery, the condition may not be as good as some would prefer. It's understood that antiques will go through some wear and tear, but condition is still very important in determining value.

Another important factor that appraisers consider is the item's provenance. The word provenance simply means its back story and its authenticity. Sometimes provenance can be hard to prove unless the owner of the piece has a paper trail showing when it was made and how it's been passed down. But a maker's mark or other signifying items on the furniture can really help to establish this. Finally, quality is taken into account. If the item was made from solid wood and hand-carved, or the fabric used to make the chair or couch is high in quality or hand-embroidered, this means it's high in quality and worth more money.

Appraisal Facts

Here's some quick facts to keep in mind when you make a trip to see a professional antique furniture appraiser:

  • An antique mirror with replaced glass is actually worth less than one that has the original glass, even if it's cracked or in less than perfect condition.
  • The more detailed a piece, such as intricately carved legs on a dresser or desk, the more it's usually worth.
  • Just because an item is large does not mean it's worth more. In fact, most collectors prefer smaller, yet more ornate pieces.
  • Chairs that have been painted are worth less than those that are original, even if the original finish is chipped or scratched.
  • Never assume your piece of furniture is junk until you've had it appraised; you might be very surprised!

Contact a business like Bucks County Estate Traders if you have questions about the value of specific antique item.