Antique Reproductions


One of the best ways to avoid being taken by reproductions, especially for beginning collectors, is to learn about new “antiques” being offered for sale in the retail marketplace. For instance, as true Victorian antiques get harder and harder to find at reasonable prices, more outlets will continue to offer Victorian reproductions for sale. Some of these look remarkably like the older pieces, too.These differ from Victorian Revival items in that they are usually exact copies of old pieces. Revival items – whether they are Victorian, Georgian, Egyptian or what have you – are often inspired by older styles but aren’t usually exact replicas.The following websites are a few among many selling antique reproductions of varying types. Read about what they sell and how to distinguish old from new pieces below.

1. Victorian Trading Company

If you like Victorian style, you’ll enjoy browsing through these antique reproductions. Some of the items offered through this retailer look remarkably authentic at first glance and some of the prices are bargains compared to the older pieces. However, there are some instances you’ll notice where you can find the authentic antiques at flea markets and estate sales for the same price or less. Many of these items are also available through Victorian Trading Company print-based catalogs. Distinguishing these types of pieces when they filter into the secondary marketplace can be difficult, but the general rule is that if it doesn’t show any signs of age or wear, it’s probably a new piece.

2. Laurel Crown Fine Furniture

From Chippendale replica tilt-top tea tables to Victorian-style sofas, this site has quite an array of antique reproduction furniture. Of course, there are many sites selling reproductions similar to these and you may even have a store in your home town that carries similar styles. Many of these styles have been reproduced over and over again through the decades since they’re classics, especially for formal living and dining areas. A good reproduction will have wood staining and upholstery, where applicable, to match the period it mimics. Brand new furniture, by and large, won’t be quite as solid and sturdy as an old, well-made piece. It often takes examining the inside, underside, back and drawers of a piece to look for components and manufacturing techniques that help to distinguish age.

3. Decobiz

This site presents wares exported by a company in New Delhi, India. It is filled with the types of items that readily filter into flea market booths, and are sometimes sold as true antiques. From candlestick telephone replicas to old diving helmets, they offer to sell in bulk. All these types of items usually have tell-tale clues to give away their age. For instance, the repro telephones usually have components that would not be found in antique model and the a new diving helmet will be welded together differently than an older one.

4. The Country House

This site has been around quite a while and offers an array of antique reproductions geared toward country and primitive looks. From “aged” spice tins to wooden bowls and other farmhouse tools, some of these do a better job as imposters than others. For instance, the spice tins probably won’t fool an experienced antiquer, but the wooden bowls might present a bit more difficulty. Knowing the item you’re contemplating has been reproduced at all is half the battle, so if country antiques are your thing keep an eye on this site. Also do yourself a favor and handle as many authentic items as possible to learn clues about the real deal. Antique shows featuring country antiques are usually a good place to start.

5. Traditions

The wide variety of holiday decorations here includes both Halloween and Christmas reproductions. Some of these are made very much like the originals from the early 1900s and made to look old and authentic. The prices on originals are very high at this point for both Halloween collectibles andChristmas décor, so it’s wise to study sites like this carefully and look for signs of age, wear and old components before investing high sums in antique holiday items. This is especially true when you’re buying from a dealer who does not specialize in this type of ware and may not be adept at spotting repros when picking their inventory.

Many companies have made reproductions of antique jewelry over the years, including Sweet Romance. These pieces are usually marked so when you run across a piece with a Sweet Romance tag, you’ll know it is a newer piece. The trick comes with authenticating pieces that aren’t marked, or those where an unscrupulous seller has removed the mark in an effort to pass the jewelry off as old. Really knowing antique jewelry requires studying the characteristics of old items and handling authentic pieces as often as possible. Look at minute details such as clasps, chain styles, cuts and styles of simulated stones, and the quality of the components and overall construction for signs that a piece is newly manufactured.
Until Next Time – Dan @ Wood Menders
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