We just purchased this piece of furniture and would like to know your thoughts on it. We purchased it in a consignment store, and the tag said “19thC French drawer unit.” We paid a couple of hundred dollars for it. My question to you is, could this piece be that old? How can we tell if it is or is not?
Donna and Tim from Pelham
Dear Donna and Tim,
I am hoping you bought this piece because you liked it and it will fit into your décor, because it is not from the period of time the tag stated. This is a reproduction of a French piece of furniture.
It is tough to tell if you don’t deal with such items often, but things to look for are hand craftsmanship and quality. You would look for this even in modern furniture today, but now most things are machine-made and don’t have signs of hand tools or sanding or board cuts, etc.
It is also hard for me to educate you by writing what kind of things to look for. You could look for natural darkening of the wood on the back, lighter inside where the sun doesn’t hit it, and total construction of the piece. But today pieces can be reproduced with those touches and look authentic. I think my suggestion would be that if you are buying it for an antique, have a professional look at it for you before you purchase it. Ask whomever you’re buying from what they know about the piece. If it is dated like your tag was, ask if this is really from that time or just a piece that was made now to represent a piece from then.
Donna and Tim, I would not be disappointed with this piece if it fits into your home. The price you paid doesn’t seem outrageous for it. It’s not an antique, but it is charming.
Donna Welch has spent more than 20 years in the antiques and collectibles field and owns From Out Of The Woods Antique Center in Goffstown (fromoutofthewoodsantiques.com). She is an antiques appraiser and instructor. To find out about your antique or collectible, send a clear photo of the object and information about it to Donna Welch, From Out Of The Woods Antique Center, 465 Mast Road, Goffstown, N.H., 03045. Or email her at email@example.com. Or drop by the shop (call first, 624-8668).