Nothing says elegance more effectively than a house or apartment with fine quality, well-selected antique pieces.
Modern design and contemporary interior decoration is a fantastic backdrop for a home, but some original and authentic antique furniture adds richness, depth and character to your home. Antiques also have a hand-wrought quality and sense of history that is missing from today’s mass produced items, and they’re able to reveal something about your personal tastes and your interests.
For those new to antiques, there is much to consider so we’ve developed a help guide to make things a little easier.
An item is officially ‘antique’ if it is 100, or more, years old. Vintage pieces and textiles are also popular these days. These are often 20 or 30 years old but they are not, however, classified as antiques. It is important to remember that antique spans all manner of styles and periods, including Art Deco. Equally it covers an array of qualities so do not assume that because something is an antique, it is automatically fine quality.
‘Antiques’ can be purchased anywhere – The traditional places to buy antiques are through antique shops or centres, or at a collectors’ fair or auction. While you can pick up some great things at auction, it’s essential that if you are unfamiliar in dealing with antiques, do not bid on high value items. Auction houses too can make mistakes in their descriptions and you have no recourse – as the saying goes ‘buyer beware’.
In all cases, you should investigate the place you plan to make your purchases and establish that it is a reputable source. Some fairs and auction houses vet dealers’ stock in advance to ensure they are authentic and accurate. You can also look online for reviews, or use specialist internet forums to seek recommendations. It’s also worth checking which professional bodies the dealer or shop owner is a member of. This might include the Australian Antique and Art Dealers Association and CINOA. The most important rule of thumb however, is to get a Certificate of Authenticity. If the seller will not supply one, do not buy the piece as you have no recourse in the event you find out it is a fake.
Shopping online for antiques has become increasingly popular. Online gives you access to a far greater array of antiques but is also the forum in which most caution should be exercised and unless you’re paying nothing for a piece, it’s essential to follow these tips:
What to ask…
If you buy from a well respected dealer, you do not have to be quite as rigorous with the items below, as your dealer should have already made these assessments first. Experienced dealers have years of knowledge and skill and know when a piece is not right. A good dealer will not only save you from making these mistakes yourself and potentially losing a lot of money, but they will educate you over time as well. When buying you should…
If you find you have a growing interest in antiques, you might want to buy or borrow a good book on the period or types of items that particularly interest you. We at Wallrocks are great enthusiasts about our stock and will be more than happy to share our knowledge and experience on the furniture, the era and what you need to know and be aware of.
Investing a bit of time and energy in finding some quirky and original pieces for your home is not only a great way to create a stunning living environment, it can also be a fun way to learn about life in days gone by.
Elizabeth Foster, Gold Coast, Qld
Nerolie Withnall, BA LLB Company Director & Former Lawyer, Brisbane Australia
Paul Stack, Taree, NSW
Joan Greenwood, Warrick
Jannene Madden, Melbourne, Victoria
Narissa Perks - Director NT Corporate, Perth WA
Doug Patrick, Melbourne, Victoria