To become a master hunter of quality vintage items takes time, a bit of research and some dedication. You’ll need lots of practice out on the hunt, patience and a keen eye. Don’t be too hard on yourself if you’re struggling to get that magic find. If you keep at it, you’ll soon know the difference between true quality and a poor imitation. Here are some top tips for spotting the best finds in furniture, art and silver so you know what to look out for:

Vintage Wooden Furniture

Never be afraid to trust your instinct. If you think something looks too new, then probability says it is. Always check out the fine details for clues. What condition are the nails in? If they are remotely shiny, this would be a giveaway of a more recent build. Dovetails joints are what you’re looking for. These were used to hold wood together before the use of nails and is an indication that the piece was made by a cabinetmaker and not a production line.

Take a close look at drawer pulls which should reveal inside a post and nut construction. If there is visible wear or dust around the pulls, this is a good indication that the hardware is original. For beautiful Vintage Furniture, visit https://www.couronnedeco.com/

You might have to scrabble around on the floor a bit to get a good look at the underside of items for signatures, stamps and labels etc.

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Art

The key skill is to be able to distinguish between paintings and print reproductions. Reproductions consist of absolutely tiny dots, so you might need a magnifying glass. Prints can be worth buying too but you need to know to avoid overpaying.

Do you know those very fine cracks on the surface of an old painting? If you see these, this is a good sign and not damage. It is known as craquelure and is an indication of age, originality and authenticity. These are often highly sought after by art collectors.

The nails and frames will also require close inspection. The frame of a painting can help determine its age. Looking at the back, check if the wood is stained or dark in colour. For gold frames, the more bronze-y the gold looks, the older it is. If you’re buying an expensive piece, be sure to ask the dealer for any accompanying paperwork and further information about the work.

Silver

It’s important to know the difference between sterling silver and silver plate. Sterling has more value and a higher resale price. It’s also incredibly durable. Carry a magnet with you when shopping for silver. A magnet will not stick to sterling silver, but it will to silver plate.

A piece of silver could bear multiple markings, with English silver featuring a lion, the monarch of the time, the year and the city of origin. Always bear in mind the current market price for silver which always fluctuates. By being clued up on this information, you might be able to use it as a bargaining tool.