The first thing we need to know is what the definition of seniority is. An antiquity is something that is more than one hundred years old. People claim that a product is an antique all the time when it is not. If you buy something at a flea market or garage sale and someone says it is an antique, how do you know if it is or not? How do we protect ourselves from fraud? The answer to our question is to have knowledge of antiques.
Real antiques are imperfect and defects are inconsistent. The reproductions are smooth and the flaws have been intentionally planted. There are several ways to detect an antique. First, you need to check the joinery. Joinery is the method used to join wood. You can tell if a machine did it. There were no machines until the 1860s. Another way to determine the condition of antiques is to check the saw marks. Round marks were not made until the 1860s. Before that time in history, a flat and a razor were used to produce straight lines.
Boards that separate at the seams instead of being flat and smooth is another sign that it is an antique. Another strong sign is if there are dark marks on the piece, which means it was wet (perhaps from a plant). Look for nicks and dents in the corners and even wormholes. Just make sure the holes have not been made with a drill. Make sure the hardware differs slightly from the others. A new piece would be the same. Take out the drawers and inspect the bottom and sides. An antique would have uneven dovetail gaskets, a new one would have perfect ones. Dovetail joints join a drawer with interlocking pieces of wood.
Single slot screws are another sign of age. The drawer runner would show many wear and tear from many years of opening and closing. You may also notice from the smell of the product that an antique smells musty and sometimes even moldy. Usually a square nail and wormholes together show that it is an antique. Under a chair, if there is wood that is different from the rest, it is probably old. The wood was so scarce that they did not see the need to use expensive material when it could not be seen. In the seating area, the padding was made of horsehair or hay. The use of modern products such as fibreboard, staples and Phillips screws show a reproduction.
An antique that has not been restored is more expensive than one that has. To see if it has been restored, look below for drips and runoff.