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!
- 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.
- 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.
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.
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.