What is the furniture market?
As a collecting category, furniture has a track record of steady growth since 1968. Antique furniture, generally considered to 100 years or older, has countless styles, genres and makes. Some of the most sought after pieces include Baroque, Rococo, Chippendale and Colonial furniture. Other popular periods include Early American, Georgian and Pennsylvanian Dutch.
The desirability of a piece can often increase due to its rarity, condition, design, utility, provenance or other unique feature that differentiates it from the rest of the market. For instance, in 2010 the Harrington Commode, Sold for £3.8 million. The quality of this piece and its rarity, having most likely been created by Thomas Chippendale himself, saw five bidders competing to buy it resulting in a hammer price or almost three times its original valuation.
Despite higher end and older items often achieving record prices, there are areas of the furniture market that are increasing in interest yet are still available to the novice or less experienced collector to invest in. Occasionally referred to as antiques (but more appropriately called mid century, 20th century design, modern or Retro), furniture from the 50’s and 60’s has been on the rise. Those of particular note within this time frame include those of Scandinavian design and items by designers such as G-Plan. Some of the top department store fronts in London are beginning to resemble those from the 1951 Festival of Britain.
Is condition important?
Yes condition is important for antique furniture. That said, a real antique will undoubtedly show some wear and tear. In fact understanding where the condition should be found can help ensure your piece is a genuine antique and not a fake. For instance, in antique wooden chairs there will be more wear on the back legs instead of the front legs, due to users continually leaning back on their chairs. There also might be wear on the top and end of a wooden arm as well as the inside of the arms, as these areas would have come into more regular contact with an individual than any other.