Hemswell Antique Centres

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5 valuable tips for buying and selling antique furniture

Valuable tips for buying and selling antique furniture


Throughout history, furniture has developed from simple designs cut out from trees, to beautifully crafted pieces using sophisticated and skilled techniques. Intricate carvings, astonishing veneers and glorious designs created over the centuries have left us with a remarkable selection of antique furniture to buy and sell today.

Get a bargain at an auction house

There’s no doubt that auction houses provide one of the best ways to buy and sell period furniture. Private buyers can compete with trade on equal terms, which is great because members of the trade rarely ever pay ‘over the odds’ - meaning you can grab bargains at  ‘wholesale prices’. However, if you’re selling antique furniture at an auction house, be aware of the often heavy commission charges.

Buy from an antiques centre 

Auctions are held everyday of the week, but the primary source of antique furniture for buyers is still an antique furniture dealer. The best place to find specialists, especially if you’re short on time, is at an antiques centre. Here you’ll find reputable antique furniture dealers under one roof. From antique pine furniture to Georgian chairs, Hemswell Antique Centres have a huge selection of quality antique furniture for sale at fair prices, so both collectors and trade buyers can benefit. Nothing can compare to seeing antique furniture in person and chatting to our impressively knowledgeable dealers on how to value antique furniture.

Learn how to spot a fake

Honest restoration such as replacement veneers or fresh feet on antique furniture is acceptable - in fact it’s often desirable to dealers as it’s a sign of age. However, there are often cases where antique furniture has overgone comprehensive ‘restoration’ which is undeclared and intended to deceive. One thing to beware of with antique furniture is artificial distressing. Inconsistent colours and grains or signs of excessive distressing are all red flags that the antique furniture could actually be fake. The main signs to look out for are unnatural appearances on surfaces, exaggerated rusting on nails and uneven oxidation of boards. Other factors to look for are alterations to doors, cornices, glazing bars, handles and re-made drawers. It’s not always easy to tell if antique furniture is genuine, making it more important than ever to authenticate items by buying from reputable dealers or centres. Browse our wide range of antique furniture for genuine quality at fair prices.

Teach yourself how to value antique furniture properly

The diversity of antique furniture is enormous, making it no easy task to value. By specialising in one particular type of antique furniture, you can hone all of your sleeper-spotting skills into, say, Georgian chairs and become a pro at spotting a bargain. Types of antique furniture (which vary in all kinds of shapes, constructions, styles, timbers and decorations) include:

Seat antique furniture: stools, chairs, sofas and settees

Storage antique furniture: chest of drawers, wardrobes, cabinets and bookcases

Writing antique furniture: desks, bureaux and secretaires

Top tip: Antique furniture with a splendid mellow patina - a highly prized characteristic - will significantly increase your chances of selling for a higher value.

Become a dealer at an antiques centre

On the seller’s side, a further advantage of antique centres is that dealers can become part of a large network. Hemswell Antique Centres are the largest centre in Europe, where dealers can showcase antique furniture on their rented pitch or online to reach a wider customer base and importantly, sell more. Hemswell’s dealers have access to their own dealer portal where sales and accounts are updated daily. Our staff offer an exemplary service to customers, trade, private clients and resident dealers. The groundwork for national and international shipping is done here at Hemswell, we can even arrange it to save you time and effort. Our commission charges are a lot less than an auctioneer demands - get in touch to find out more.


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