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Antique Furniture/refinishing an antique vs value


I have a wooden rocker that was a wedding gift to my great grandparents in approximately 1909.  I don't know what type of wood it is but since I can remember it has been very dark with faded areas.  I don't know how to properly clean it to be certain that all the years of body oils and sweat are ofTf of it and I also don't know if I should strip it and refinish then either leave it natural or urethane it to protect it. I'm not interested at the time to sell the chair and get an antique rate on it but my children may in the future want to get rid of it.  It's value to me is sentimental but I'd still like to preserve the history, value, and originality of it.  Any help and advice would be greatly appreciated.

Hi Cathy,

Since I can not view your rocker, to provide you with a number of answers, my
advice would be to leave the rocker alone. Even if you were to clean the rocker
with a product like Murphy's Oil Liquid Soap, you could disturb the patina of
the finish. More people today than ever before, that is the ones that still
have an interest, wish to acquire furniture pieces with their original surface

If it were me, I would prefer to view the chair with it's original surface that
shows the family use of the chair over the years. It becomes part of the chairs
individual character.

Another thing to consider is that antique furniture is rapidly becoming of no
interest with todays younger buyers that we rely on so desperately to keep
the market alive, hence no interest = no value! Young buyers no longer care
about history since all they are interested in is the latest model I-Phone or
a big-screen TV and then it's off to IKEA to shop for furniture. The world
today is all about high-tech and not antiques.
At auctions today, rockers can bring as little as $5. to $10.

Best Wishes,

George E. Harrison III

Antique Furniture

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George E. Harrison III


I am able to answer most questions pertaining to the authenticity,collectability and values of high-end reproduction furniture. As an example, quality furniture produced by leading manufacturers such as Baker, Kittinger, Kindel, Saybolt-Cleland furniture companies. I must have at least one photo for advice. PLEASE READ: No questions will be answered without a photo. View our website at for a sampling of our expertise.


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