Antique Victorian Style Furniture

Charlotte Gerber
White Victorian style loveseat.

Antique victorian style furniture is considered highly collectible, especially if the items are authentic. If you are considering collecting these stylish furniture pieces, let us help you to find out where to find them, how to care for them and how to identify authentic antique furniture.

Antique Victorian Style Furniture

Love the Victorian era? Many people collect everything Victorian, primarily because they believe that it was a romantic time period. Elegance and opulence are embodied in everything from this era; from the highly decorated clothing down to the last intricately designed Sterling Silver sugar tong. While it may be difficult to find clothing that has withstood a century of storage, furniture items are abundant if you shop in the right places.

Where to Find Victorian Furniture

It is a rare occasion that you can walk into any antique store and happen upon a great piece of Victorian style furniture in mint condition. However, finding a beautiful Victorian settee, side-by-side or secretary isn't impossible. Great places to find your first, or perhaps your tenth, piece of Victorian furniture include:

The Internet also makes it easy for furniture collectors to find the exact piece they are looking for. While it may be a little pricey shopping this way (the cost of shipping may be on the high end), it is an easy way to find a wide variety of Victorian furniture. Some popular places to find antique furniture on the Internet include:

Caring for New Antiques

Resist the urge to immediately refinish your new antique piece of furniture. While making it look new may seem like a good idea, it usually devalues Victorian furniture pieces. Unless you are a professional refinisher and are well acquainted with antique appraising, don't touch that antique! Obviously, repairs may need to be made, especially if it has been stored in less than perfect conditions. Who should you turn to for delicate repairs, refinishing or reupholstering jobs? One of the best places to find people who work with antique furniture is your local antique store. Antique buyers become well acquainted with individuals who do reupholstering and repairs either because they themselves need assistance in their business or because they have purchased items that have been worked on. Antique dealers can steer you in the right direction and tell you whom to avoid when you're looking for a special craftsman.

If all you need is a few tips on how to preserve your antiques, there are many books on the subject. Here are a few to get new antique collectors started on the road to preserving antiques:

  • Identifying & Restoring Antique Furniture by Richard A. Lyons
  • Refinishing Old Furniture by George Wagoner
  • The Art of Restoring and Refinishing Antique Furniture by Edward W. Minns
  • Scrub, Rub and Wax by Ralph E. Parkhurst
  • Common Sense Guide to Refinishing Antiques by Alfred Higgins

Identifying Antiques

It is always helpful to have a guide, either a book or a person, along when you're shopping for antiques. While it is rare, some people will try to sell items as antiques by using crackle or color washes on furniture to make them look older than they really are. Luckily, many pieces of antique furniture have identifying marks and styles that make them easy to spot, even for new collectors. Consider using the following books to help you learn to identify Victorian style furniture on your next shopping spree:

  • Field Guide to American Antique Furniture by Joseph T. Butler
  • The Bulfinch Anatomy of Antique Furniture by Paul Atterbury
  • Fake, Fraud or Genuine? by Myrna Kaye
  • Antiques: Furniture by Carlton Books
  • Identifying American Furniture by Milo M. Naeve

Conclusion

Collecting antique Victorian furniture is a fun hobby as well as an investment. Nothing beats the thrill of finding a beautiful piece and showing it off in your home. While collecting fine furniture is fun, it is also important to learn as much about this hobby as possible from books and other collectors. Preservation is an important part as furniture from this time period often survives the collectors themselves. Finally, collect pieces that you really enjoy and avoid buying antique furniture that requires a lot of work. After all, you want to enjoy the antiques that you collect in your home, not store them in your garage or basement.

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Antique Victorian Style Furniture