Buying Antiques Made Easy

Biedermeier desk from approx. 1830

Biedermeier desk from approx. 1830

The world of antiques is a universe of its own that opens itself to an affine observer as soon as he engages with it. Especially potential buyers encounter a vast amount of information that is hard to sort out and leaves them unsure. The prices of many items are often in the higher range which means that the decision to buy should not be rushed. There are many risks when buying antique furnishings that you should definitely be aware of.

Masterpiece-Antiques, active in the international antiques trade, spoke to the renowned Austrian restorer Alexander Kronstein, who talks about the most important aspects, tips and tricks which you as a buyer should take to heart.

What should interested and potential buyers definitely pay attention to when buying antiques?

It is most important to look for and find a dealer or restoration workshop that they can trust. The right contact is essential in this field because normally you can’t know everything as an ordinary layperson. Trust is the foundation of this business. Unfortunately, there are always dazzlers and boasters that are not always easy to spot. And sometimes the dealers don’t even give wrong information on purpose, they just don’t know better or fall for misinformation that they got from somewhere else. That’s why it’s important to have somebody with you that is knowledgeable in the matter. A correct handling as well as proof of origin for expensive items should be a matter of course.

With Masterpiece Antiques you definitely have an absolutely competent partner by your side that has positively convinced customers worldwide with their high quality standards.

How do I know that I can trust a dealer? How can I determine that?

Reputation and personal experience from friends or acquaintances play an important role and offer the best help in the decision-making. Satisfied customers and good references are the best distinction.

What determines the quality of an antique and which procedure do you use or which criteria are crucial?

kommode-28-8-15-9265Ideally you buy the item in its original condition. It’s better if it is in the original condition and slightly damaged than to buy an item that looks good at first but when closely inspected it turns out to be a motley disaster and to be the fourth one to work on it.

You should also not go below 97% original parts to preserve the authenticity and value. We set great store in removing as little as possible of the existing substance when restoring something.

And then we only use wood pieces from the particular era and are thus able to preserve the authentic charm of the time.

All of the antiques offered by Masterpiece-Antiques are restored to the highest quality standards and thus convince satisfied customers worldwide.

Which criteria should I consider when I view my antique as an investment?

img_9343For a lot of people antiques are more and more interesting as an investment and the development of prices over the last years confirms that. Certain epochs are definitely to consider. As well as classic “brand names” in ceramics, decorative items as well as furniture from established workshops or manufacturers are also a good surety.

The documented price development and the stable value make that impressively clear. Of course there are trends, just as in all sectors. Those trends determine the price. Especially Biedermeier furniture as well as Jugendstil decorative items and ceramics have significantly increased in price over the last years which the demand of the market clearly shows.

Biedermeier furniture from renowned workshops such as Danhauser or Nepomuk Geier are big names of the time.

In Jugendstil names such as Kolo Moser, Powolny, Thonet and Hoffmann were very big and are still guarantors for a stable value.

If you have the option to bring along a restorer when making a purchase or to talk to one beforehand (also about the costs one might be facing) then it is advisable to do so. Everybody that deals with antiques and restoration knows that there should be no cheap restorations on the market. Cheap equals low quality!

Can you give us a quick price outline?

That’s hard to do in general since each project is unique. Normally a limit is agreed upon with the client that the restoration should not exceed. That process is usually very advisable.

Are there geographically specific areas that would get a purchasing recommendation regarding quality and value stability from you?

Basically most high quality furniture, ceramics etc. were made in Central Europe – Austria, Hungary, Germany, Italy, France and partially Russia.

Do you also have an advice about interior design with antique furniture/items?

Transitional Commode (approx. 1870)

Transitional Commode (approx. 1870)

It is not uncommon to use a style across several epochs or combine them mainly with the contemporary style today.

Masterpiece Antiques always recommends to its customers to not just buy a piece because it’s valuable, that would definitely be the wrong approach.

You should definitely also like it since you will be living with it.

How can interested people or potential buyers inform themselves?

One advice that is also always practical: don’t buy right away but get some background knowledge beforehand and as said previously, ideally take an expert along when making a purchase. There is also a lot of specialist literature available that can help even laypeople to get a very good first impression. The various epochs differentiate themselves by different quality of the materials or different treatment of back boards, drawer bottoms or the like. Basically the reputation of a restorer or a renowned workshop in the field always plays an important role.

With Masterpiece Antiques you definitely have a diligent and trustworthy partner at your side when you search for high quality European antiques.

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