Antique Furniture/what is it
what is it?
Owner asked me to repalce broken bottom shelf and add stiffners to upper mirrored section in back, she thinks it is worth more if left unfinished, your thoughts.
It would depend on your skills and experience as a restorer.
Bottom shelf should be repaired rather than replaced. I cant tell from the photo what need to be repaired on the shelf but for me it is like this.
If i am only going to repair, stabilize and conserve the item. Then it is repair the shelf matching any new wood patches to the old finish. stabilize the piece where and how needed. Clean and wax the piece with a silicone and mineral oil free paste wax for furniture like toluene free Briwax in the appropriate color.
As to leaving it as is to "preserve the monetary value": this is not applicable in this case. The piece is a common usage item and is not of noteworthy origin, design style of maker. Not saying it isnt nice. It is a wonderful 1910-20s etagere manufactured in the USA. It is not the common grade, it would rate, in its class of design and style. at a 7.5 out of 10.
Presently it would have a fair market value of $150 max to an informed and knowledgable buyer. Restored properly it would have a fair market value of 650-750 depending on the point of sale.
There is a misconception about 'leaving something as it is". The truth is that conservators and knowledgeable restorers (they overlap) will analyzeand determine a course of action that will enhance both the intrinsic and associative values of items on which they apply their skills. They will, when appropriate, only clean and wax an item to enhance the presentation surfaces. Determining what is appropriate is the key.
Aggressively sanding and applying polyurethane is never the correct course.