Collectibles-General (Antiques)/Antique Buffet


Hi, I'm looking to buy this awesome buffet that the seller claims is 100 years old. The condition is pretty good if that's the actual age, however, I know age doesn't necessarily make it more expensive. What kind of things can I look for to determine what it might actually be worth?

Hi Freya
Nice to hear from you.
Lets face it, a piece of furniture that has lasted 100 years must be pretty well made.
So we can safely say this piece is well made. But certainly some furniture is better made than others.
I like to determine if the top of the piece and drawer fronts are solid wood or veneer.
There is certainly nothing wrong with veneer but solid wood tops and drawer fronts are better suited to todays lifestyles and busy families. If your piece is veneer, check carefully to ensure it has not chipped or have missing pieces.
Next I look at the drawer construction. I like to see dovetail or Knapp joined drawers.
And if I see handcut dovetails (which are very easy to distinguish from factory made ones),that increases the value.
Next, I remove a drawer or two to check the condition of the drawer guides.
A really well used piece will more than likely need these guides replaced. Badly worn guides can cause the drawer to fit wrong which leads to the drawers pulling apart or the bottoms coming loose.
While you have the drawers out, look at the inside drawer front. If the original handles have ever been replaced we often see that someone drilled new holes for the new handles. I hate seeing this.
Next stand back from the piece for a good look. Does it sit square? Do the horizontal frame pieces under the drawers sag?
Check to see if all turnings are intact. These often break and the pieces are lost.
Next check the doors. Open one fully..was it hard to open? does it sag?
I hope I have answered your question Freya.
Please get back if need be.

Collectibles-General (Antiques)

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Eileen Cronk


I can answer most questions about the repairing and refinishing of all your old furniture items (the things we call antiques). I can also give you advice on what wood items to choose and what wood items to avoid at auctions, flea markets etc. I DO NOT give appraisals on antiques as this is not my field of expertise.


I have been repairing, refinishing and of course buying old furniture for the past 30 years. On any given weekend I can be found at auction sales or flea markets searching out a good buy. I have taken several courses in this area over the years, but I find "Hands On" learning to be the best teacher. I can help you avoid the pitfalls and problems of this wonderful rewarding craft.

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