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Antique Furniture is one of the most fascinating sections of antique collecting.

Primarily because so many of us naturally do what’s most important when collecting antique furniture. Most antique furniture tends to be purchased by ordinary everyday people, rather than dedicated antique furniture collectors.

Hunting for antique American furniture is a popular pastime, but how do you really know what you're buying is a true classic, such as a Shaker or Chippendale piece?

By examining the shape and condition of the furniture nails and screws as well as the wood and finish, you can get a fairly good idea of when the furniture was built, and possibly by whom.

Check out the condition of the finish on the exterior as well as the drawers.

Look for areas that have been worn down or replaced.

If the piece has drawers, remove a drawer and look carefully where the front and back of the drawer are fastened to the sides of the drawer.

If a joint was dovetailed by hand, it has only a few dovetails, and they are not exactly even; if it has closely spaced, precisely cut dovetails, it was machine-cut.

Use the press and stay informed about current trends and potential scams in the antique trade by consulting popular and highly regarded antique trade publications.Other interior or home decorators tend not to take things so seriously but are still interested in items, history and authenticity.Many vintage furniture buyers opt for quality reproductions that are more affordable, and either option is fine providing that you research your subject well when identifying antique furniture.Exact symmetry is another sign that the piece was machine-made.On handmade furniture, rungs, slats, spindles, rockers, and other small-diameter components are not uniform.

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