4 Ways to Know if Vintage Furniture Is a Find, or a Fake

Like many people, you love vintage furniture—authentic vintage furniture. The craftsmanship and exquisite style evident in the work of some furniture designers give their pieces allure and staying power. Many people who appreciate these kinds of furnishings see them as more than just a chair or a sofa—but as expressions of themselves, and worthwhile investments that can increase in value. As you search for vintage pieces you love, consider these four ways to know if what you’ve found is a find, or a fake.

Ask the seller how they know a piece is authentic.  

A reputable furniture dealer will be able to prove why one of their furnishings is an authentic, vintage piece. If they simply perform an online search and pull up the same item in another store it does not prove authenticity.

Ask about the furniture’s finish. 

If a seller says a piece has been refinished, ask how and why. It’s okay if the piece was restored to match an original factory finish as much as possible using modern means. But be suspicious if it was refinished simply due to the dealer’s personal preferences. This could indicate that the piece is not authentic since it isn’t being handled that way.

Put in some legwork. 

Reading about the work of your favorite furniture designers can be a good way to better familiarize yourself with their pieces, and to be able to spot characteristics like silhouette and construction. Also, consider becoming acquainted with secondhand dealers and curators who have a keen eye for quality to help develop your awareness of vintage pieces, and cultivate a discriminating eye for authenticity.

Look for descriptions that indicate a piece isn’t the real thing.

Sometimes the answer to authenticity isn’t hard to find. When searching for authentic vintage furniture online look for listing descriptions like in the style of, or commonly mistaken for, or frequently attributed to, which are disclaimers that a piece is not the real thing.

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