Antique furniture and cars have increased in popularity in the last decade, with retail sales of antique furniture going up 450 percent. Whether they are purchased at local estate sales, antique furniture shops, public auctions, or local car auctions, vintage and antique items are highly prized.
How is it that we came to appreciate antiques? After all, the first humans were nomads, using only the items around them for furniture. It wasn’t even until 1600 that chairs were available in homes for everyone. Before then, only the master and mistress of a household were allowed to sit in chairs. As furniture became a more prevalent part of home decor, furniture makers began to flex their creative muscles constructing such fantastic pieces as those in the Queen Anne style which feature fine, decorative scrolling on the backs and legs. Well preserved pieces are incredibly valuable. In fact, many buyers of antiques are surprised when they have their pieces appraised and find out how much they really are worth.
Estate Sale and Antique Furniture Tips
It is easy to be taken in by the beauty and mystery surrounding antique furniture. However, it is important to keep function in mind when searching for a piece. Follow these rules when shopping for antique furniture:
- Consider how the piece will complement the room where it will be placed. An ornate Victorian piece might not fit well in a contemporary home. Consider the style of your home and which design periods might apply.
- Choose items that are attractive and functional, not just vintage.
- Look for genuine items. Many reproductions are available in furniture stores and carry much less value. They probably have sharp corners and edges, circular or power saw marks, thin veneers, and even dovetails.
- Read up on American and European furniture styles.
- Learn some of the terminology associated with antique furniture.
Tips for Local Car Auctions
Whether you’re on the lookout for a great classic or something a little newer, local car auctions can be a great place to start. However, it’s important to know what you’re getting into before you go. Local car auctions can be very hit or miss, and it’s easy to end up with a lemon. Follow these five tips when you hit up local car auctions:
- Know your limits. If you don’t have the ability or tools to deal with mechanical challenges, don’t convince yourself that you do.
- Look closely. Cars at government and public auctions sell on visual inspection alone. Telltale signs of repairs include paint overspray, less than smooth sheet metal, puddles under the vehicle, scored brake discs, and uneven stance, among many others. If a car smells musty or the carpeting is wet, pass.
- Seeing isn’t believing. It’s easy to make a car look good. Know that nothing you see is as good as it looks.
- Check the VIN numbers. If the VIN from the base of the windshield doesn’t match the ones on the door or trunk lid stickers, the car may have been rebuilt from a major accident. Move along.
- Peek at the dipsticks. A well maintained car will show clear and clean fluid on the transmission fluid and oil dipsticks.
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