Antique shopping tips – part two
Last time we discussed some tips when you are out and about looking for antiques. We discussed how to buy wood furniture, rugs, and art. To help you in your antique shopping discoveries, here are some more tips to help you.
Know the difference between silver plate and sterling silver. There’s nothing wrong with silver plate. It’s a wonderful way to bring home the elegant look of silver without the high price tag but what makes sterling more superior? For one, it holds its value, retaining a high resale price no matter its age, whereas silver plate does not. Sterling can last hundreds of years is taken care of properly. You can easily tell if a piece is sterling with a simple trick. Hold a small magnet up to the design. If the magnet adheres then the piece is not sterling. A magnet is not attracted to true sterling silver. Also, check the markings. Both silver-plate and sterling silver pieces will have marks of some kind. American sterling is usually marked with “925,” meaning it is made of 92.5% silver. English sterling traditionally features a lion marking along with several other marks that indicate the city of origin, the monarch in power at the time of its creation and the year it was made.
Tip: Be aware of the market price. The value of silver is determined by the current market rate, meaning the price often rises and falls.
Porcelain and ceramics
To ascertain whether a design is true porcelain, take out your phone, hold it up to the piece, and see if the light shines through. If it does, then the piece is porcelain. If it doesn’t the item is likely stoneware or earthenware. Also, look for marks. Symbols on the underside of a piece can help you determine when a piece was made. Hand-painted marks on ceramics suggest an 18th-century origin or earlier, while impressed or printed marks denote a more recent date.
Textiles are often folded up at antiques markets so make sure to open them up and inspect every inch so that you aren’t surprised to find damage when you get home. As with most other things vintage, a little imperfection in a textile can be a good thing. Look for details such as uneven stitching, which means a piece was made by hand and not by a machine. Flipping a piece of fabric over can be a great indicator of its quality and age. Synthetic or new fabrics likely have a solid-color back (such as white), while older, more authentic designs will show color and pattern on both sides. Remember that wear and tear from age isn’t always bad. A little tattering or fraying adds character. We recommend drawing the line when it comes to things like stains or damage from insects or pets. If a vendor has a large stock of a certain fabric, it’s not likely very old so avoid it if you are looking for something with real history.