Using Antiques in your historic home

Services for Real Estate Pros with The Historic Interior

Of course the use of period antiques are the best way to furnish your period home, but how do you know if what you are buying is authentic or period correct. Finding a reputable dealer in antiques of the period that you are interested in is the best way to find your way through the intricacies of appraisal and purchase.

Some periods are more affordable than others And certainly much easier to find. The Victorian period is the most prolific as many of these pieces were machine made and mass produced. The arts and crafts period is next having been fabricated in the early 20th century and there are still many fine pieces to be found. The Colonial and Federal periods are the ones that I feel you will be paying the most for although it is trueone of a kind handmade items will be costly whatever the period. Search the web for appraisers and dealers that have professional affiliation with either of these two organizations.


these  organizations will give you the names of antique dealers that are reputable and knowledgable.

The  following is a short list for what to keep in mind when shopping for antiques.


Although bargains and good deals may be had when buying certain antiques, the first rule of thumb is to be highly suspicious of bargains when shopping for antiques. This is the initial and sometimes the most costly lesson any collector needs to learn. You must not set out to haggle with the dealer.

Step 2

The antique you buy should never be solely for investment purposes. Most antiques have proven to be a solid investment for most antique collectors. In addition, the items have been historically a wonderful hedge against inflation. The thing to remember, however, is the increasing value of the item is dependent on changing preferences within the market.

Step 3

You must be wary of heavily restored antiques. It goes without saying that most antiques need care as well as periodic restoration. However, an antique that has been excessively restored will show no signs of its age and thus cannot be fairly judged in determining the authenticity and antiquity of the piece. It is therefore advisable to stay clear of items that have been overly restored or excessively refinished.

Step 4

Be leery of reproductions or fake representations. Consider the demand of particular items. When demand rises to very high levels, reproductions and fakes are the by-products of such demand.

Step 5

Do not barter over price. Most dealers consider their prices rigid and firm. Today's dealer marks her prices up according to a fixed percentage in order to secure a profit. Wrangling over price is part of the old business of antiques. Unless you find such a rare situation, it is advised you accept the dealer's price as established with no room for flexible negotiating.

Step 6

In order to attain the best value, it is highly recommended you learn all that you possibly can about antiques. You may do so by subscribing to periodicals and reading books on the subject. Visit museums and well-regarded antique shops.

Step 7

Manage your range of collections. In other words, it simply is not possible for you to collect antiques in every category. Narrow your focus to a reasonable level. Choose one or two eras and one or two preferred collectibles within an era. If you collect too extensively over too broad a range, it will only prove to take away from the enjoyment you'll find as an organized collector.

Step 8

Many times you may be journeying about and find a monstrosity of an antique you greatly admire far from the area of your home. Resist the temptation to purchase it, unless you have access to a truck. Moving such an item can be more of a problem than you may have anticipated.

Step 9

It is important to trust your initial instincts. This step, of course, comes with experience as well as persistence.

Step 10

Collect solely for pleasure. Collecting and owning items of rare or great beauty should be your only motive. Men throughout history have collected antiquities. If you choose to be a collector of antiques, do not resist. There are few hobbies more rewarding--even if you must do so on a budget.





Comments (2)

Scott Fogleman
New Home Team 804-573-9592 - Richmond, VA
Greater Good Group


Thanks of a great post, I am a historic home enthusiast (and owner) who wants to create a niche in the market. You post will help me with buyers and sellers.

Mar 10, 2010 01:32 AM
Louise Corderman
The Historic Interior - Fredericksburg, VA
The Historic Interior

Dear Scott,

Once long ago I used to help my friend who was a realtor when she had a home that was in great disrepair and needed someone to walk through with her and visualize what could the space could be and how to decorate the most thrifty way. I don't know how many houses I helped her sell but I will say that she used me as a service for her customers. A knowledgable realtor is a wonderful thing when it comes to "seeing" the potential of a historic home that has seen better days and the only thing most see is $$$$!  You educating yourself in all aspects of your field is a great service to your customers and I am sure they will appreciate that they have a realtor that takes the time to appreciate all periods and wants to know how best to advise them when they "fall in love" with that great Queen Anne or Arts and Crafts bungalow. If you need any sources for the interiors of your home please visit my website,  we are #1 on the web for historic interiors and all our artisans and companies listed are ones that many curators of Historic House Museums use everyday.

Great good luck to you, my brother Tim Hafer has been a realtor in Martinsburg,WVA for many years and I know that this field is challenging right now.


Louise H. Corderman, owner/

Mar 16, 2010 01:13 PM