• 19
    Feb

Desk? What Kind of Desk? One Must Be More Specific

A reader recently wrote me saying she had a desk that belonged to her grandfather that was more than 100 years old. What did I think it was worth? I think it was a waste of her time and mine to send a letter with such a paucity of information. What did she leave out? […]

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  • 11
    Feb

Treasure Salvage: On The Way To The Dump

In today’s market, it’s not unusual to read about an auction in which jewelry is sold for the scrap value of the gold or silver. Aluminum and many other metals are recycled to save money on mining and processing, and entire cars are scrapped for “salvage” value. “Recycling” is a good “green” word in today’s […]

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  • 31
    Jan

A Furniture Inventory: How Many Chairs Do You Have in Your Home?

Many years ago when my daughter was in elementary school, her teacher gave the class an assignment count the pieces of furniture at home. The idea was to get the children involved with the home and to be aware of what was in it. My daughter dutifully complied, carefully listing the number of chairs, tables […]

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  • 22
    Jan

Ask a Worthologist: Makers’ Marks and What They Do—or Don’t—Mean

To collectors, well-seasoned or novice, the subject of determining a maker or origin of a piece can be very confusing if it’s outside one’s normal area of interest. Markings can often help unravel the mystery if you know what they mean. If you don’t, they can lead you well astray of the truth. This question […]

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  • 15
    Jan

Unloved Antiques: Great-Great-Grandma’s Spinning Wheels

The next item in this series of Unloved Antiques is something that once was almost a requirement in any antique shop: the spinning wheel. During the early years of the 20th century, there was a rebirth in interest in all things Americana that resulted in the market for antiques of the American Colonial and Federal […]

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  • 20
    Dec

The Stranger Below: Silent Chairs and How to Get Them to Open Up

Some pieces of furniture are like an open book. A casual familiarity with the trade allows you to readily identify the period of a piece of golden oak or to correctly label a Victorian Rococo Revival couch. A number of technical elements can easily tell the age of a drop-front desk and a bed is […]

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  • 12
    Dec

That’s My Story – Shaky Family Histories no Guarantee of Provenance

The life story of an antique—where it’s been, who owned it and how it came to be where it is—is known as the “provenance” of the piece. A good provenance is supported by documents or photos that verify the story. These might include bills of sale, household inventories, wills, gift receipts and contemporary photos. In […]

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  • 14
    Nov

Passing the Smell Test – Telling Good Advice from the Bad

Need some advice about furniture? Want to know how to repair that chair or fix that ugly spot on the table top? Have a question about the properties of a specific finish or what stripper to use on a tough project? Finding advice about furniture issues is about as hard as catching a cold in […]

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  • 31
    Oct

The Retrophile Files: Junktiquing in New York City at Furnish Green

When self-confessed “estate sale” junkie and professional dance instructor Nathan Hescock decided to furnish his dance studio in New York City with vintage finds, his clients took notice. As a result, Hescock started selling pieces right off the dance floor. Eventually, his side business of rescuing and restoring second-hand furniture became a full time green-minded […]

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  • 31
    Oct

Good Reproductions: Baker Furniture Solves the Colonial Revival Riddle

After the American Revolution ended in 1783, the fledgling country struggled to establish its new identity in a number of areas, including furniture style and design. It plowed through the Federal period—unabashedly using the ideas of English designers like Hepplewhite and Sheraton—and then climbed into the Empire period in the footsteps of Napoleon. When the […]

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