Fine Living 4 MIN READ

Antique furniture, an alluring alternative investment 

Unless treated as family keepsakes, antique furniture could perhaps serve as another investment, as long as they are properly and professionally maintained and appraised.

August 22, 2023By Chelsey Keith P. Ignacio, BusinessWorld

Having withstood the test of time, antique furniture is an object of fascination. Defined as pieces that date back dozens or hundreds of years, antiques are at the backdrop of stories from a bygone era and could also possess sentimental value, especially when part of one’s family history. Plus, of course, they add to a home’s exquisiteness with their one-of-a-kind beauty that aged like fine wine.

Such pieces of furniture serve as mementos of one’s lineage, possibly making them priceless for the inheritors. But aside from seeing such objects as keepsakes, perhaps they would someday pass on these antique furniture as alternative investments. Who knows, as you sit on your antique chairs or bed, you are unknowingly sitting on a pile of cash.

Whether treating antique furniture as an heirloom, an adornment, or an investment, it is best to be acquainted with caring for this old stuff to maintain its significance and value. And when the time comes that one is considering realizing the monetary worth of these antiques as an investment, knowing about selling them is also valuable.

Antiques are sought by collectors and those who merely want unique, sturdy, and historic furniture for their homes. But apart from these qualities that make such pieces attractive, the rise of considering sustainability in consumption is also adding to the appeal of antique furniture.

Still, of course, the worth of antiques would vary from one to another. Aside from its conditions — which are necessary to keep it in a good state — the rarity, age, and craftsmanship matter in the value of antique furniture as well.

Keeping antiques’ value

To maintain its beauty and strength, which are valuable to its worth, antique furniture has to be handled with care.

If you own old wooden pieces, know that direct sunlight, ambient temperature, and humidity could affect the furniture. Years of accumulated dust can also have some effect on the quality of wood so it is advised to wipe them off from time to time. But be mindful not to use cleaning agents that may harm the paint and protective varnish coating of the antique

When it comes to moving antique furniture that would prevent damage, having several helping hands would be needed, especially for large and heavy objects. Be careful not to carry them on their extended parts to avoid breaking them.

Some antique furniture, however, would need more than cleaning to keep its appeal. When in need of fixing, do not try doing it on one’s own or by an amateur. Antique pieces needing restoration must be carried out by a professional antique restorer.

Keep in mind also that restoration could impact the value of the antique furniture, especially if too much revamp has been done. So, as much as possible, it is best to be mindful of keeping its original look when restoring antiques.

Passing on antiques

When you finally decide to transfer your antique furniture to someone else, either as an inheritance or for selling, there are several ways to consider to figure out its worth and where to sell them.

You can list the details of your antique furniture, such as its age, the type of materials used (especially important for wooden furniture), previous ownerships, and restorations or fixes that have been done to it.

Sometimes, the historical significance of the furniture—from the years where it was created, to the historical figures–gives it even more value. There are communities of antique collectors in the Philippines specializing in period items, such as during the Spanish colonial period, the US occupation, all the way to World War 2.

When all these details are collected, you can show these to your potential buyers. But some antique collectors also offer their furniture to auction houses, and there are several renowned ones in the Philippines.

Auction houses, where you can consign your antique furniture, would also help in pricing the pieces. Working with auction houses can be advantageous for antique furniture owners as they could find legitimate buyers. A specialist from the auction house will discuss the piece or see the furniture to appraise it. The auction houses will also help in setting an ideal value for your item. And when it comes to presenting your antiques for sale, auction houses let you showcase your pieces as part of an auction or a private one.

But before sharing your antiques with them, familiarize yourself with the auction houses in the country; and note as well that auction houses, particularly upscale ones, might prefer pieces possessing special quality.

Among the known auction houses in the Philippines are León Gallery and Salcedo Auctions. Both founded in 2010, these auction houses can serve as a platform to offer your antique furniture as well as paintings, jewelry, and other collectibles.

Apart from auction houses, there are also antique stores looking for old pieces of furniture that could consider selling yours. If you are looking to offer your items for sale at these shops, make sure that you also have the important details and image of the antique furniture and ask for the store’s consignment policies.

Whether you would want to offer your antique furniture to auction houses or antique stores, get to know further about these sites and shops as you entrust your pieces. Although the estimated worth given to your ancestors’ antique furniture as an investment might not equal its pricelessness for you as the heir, at least make certain that these historical pieces are handled and transferred with care so they can retain their allure, purpose, and value for way more than a century.

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