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Cathy McArthur – Tips from the Antiques Roadshow

Cathy McArthur
Tips from the Antiques Roadshow

Consider the form, evidences of wear.
Sometimes the unusual piece,
the one that doesn’t look expensive is.
Furniture tops and fronts, exposed to sun
are often a different color from hidden areas

like backs and drawer bottoms.
Legs are expected to be slightly worn down.
Veneers sometimes shrink or crack.
If a finish is fresh and gleaming, suspect
a modern reproduction of an antique style.

What you don’t want to see is repainted paint.
That first surface once gone is lost forever.
Perhaps the upper and lower sections of your chest
don’t generally match, making them a marriage—
two parts that were not “born” together.

You can learn to judge quality for yourself;
A well crafted piece may have clumsy looking inlay.
Utterly dissimilar pieces can be equally fine.
We seldom focus on hands themselves
but they are delicate works of art.

If crucial mechanical parts are no longer original
value will be significantly diminished.
A piece can be quite rare
and be of no interest to anyone.
One of a kind?  Absolutely!  But is it desirable?

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