How To Identify An Antique High-back Chair

If you are redecorating or  "upgrading" your furniture, you may want to know how to identify an antique high-back chair. High-back chairs come in a variety of styles and come form many different places and time periods. Some are rather inexpensive, while a pair of Italian Rococo chairs cost as much as many people's homes. But no matter what the style, there are some good ways to tell if a high-back chair is an antique or a knock off. (For the purposed of this article, we are assuming "antique" to mean at least 100 years old.)

These simple observations will not always guarantee that your purchase is a genuine antique high-backed chair, but they will help steer you away form some obvious fakes. Before you invest any serious money, make sure you are dealing with a reputable dealer or have a a piece appraised . That way you will be certain your antique high-back chair is a true treasure!

  1. Check the Back.  Many antique high-back chairs, especially from the eighteenth century, were not as intricately decorated on the back, where the work wouldn't show.
  2. Check for Tool Marks. Turn the chair over and look for handsaw marks. Not all antique high-back chairs will have them, but they will show that the chair was hand made.
  3. Check the Materials.  Modern materials, certain dyes, and manufactured nails show that a chair is either not antique or has been refurbished at best. Also check carefully for manufacturer's marks. Many antique high-back chairs will have handmade nails, if they have nails at all.
  4. Check for wear. Even the best cared-for antique high-back chair will probably show some signs of wear. There may be as a bit of finish worn off the arms, a bit of wear on the "feet", or a bit of sun fading on any upholstery. Any metal will show a bit of age too. If a chair looks brand new, it probably is.