Tuesday, 03 September 2013 01:00
by Amanda Bedgood
Thrill of the Hunt
Getting the piece is more than half the fun in antiquing. By Amanda Bedgood
Tuesday, Sept. 2, 2013
Proper antiquing is less shopping and more sport. It requires a healthy dose of knowledge, an ample eye and knack for keen observation. There are certain elements that a piece gives away — little somethings that go unknown by a novice but are just the clues that let experts like Merrick Valentino know exactly what they’ve discovered. And more important, what that piece is worth.
“I love the thrill of the hunt,” Valentino says.
The antique seller began years ago researching and purchasing antiques and 15 years ago became a seller. And now she’s sharing her inside tips for snagging a great deal in the world of antiques.
“If you have the money you can always go and find an expensive, nice, quality piece. But for me it’s finding things that are a great buy,” she says.
She breaks down the basics for us to determine whether a piece is truly antique or a reproduction.
“A piece is considered an antique if it’s 100 years or older, and some reproduction period pieces are still considered antiques,” she says. “You want to look for signs of early workmanship in the proportions, the finish and the materials used such as wood, hardware and design details.”
She says to research specifics before you begin the hunt. Note that certain styles have particular qualities and elements within that style.
“For example: a Queen Anne chair has a dutch foot, and there are variations on the balls of the feet. Those are different elements that identify the style of the antique,” Valentino says.
There are certain qualities that can help you determine the age of a piece, and certain little litmus tests even a novice can perform. Valentino points to wood worm holes.
“Some of the reproductions actually make those (wood worm holes) to make it look old. Take a little straight pin and if you can put it directly in the hole, it’s probably reproduced. Worms never eat in a straight line,” she says.
She warns to look at married pieces that have used two original pieces to create a new one.
“Look at the style and the finish and where it’s worn where the pieces are sitting on top of each other. Is it the same wood? Those are all clues as to whether it’s original or a married piece. The value of married pieces are affected only if not irreversible.”
Nails are another good indicator of age.
“Old pieces have wrought iron nails ... reproductions will use the old nails and make the furniture with them. The clue to look for — a blackened area in the adjoining wood. The iron creates a blackened area around the nail,” she says.
She also says to become familiar with different types of wood. Know that certain woods are used more likely in certain pieces.
“Look for soft wood on the backs of furniture. They didn’t use expensive wood except for on the front ... if you see a piece and it’s completely finished on the bottom of drawers and the back it’s probably not quite as old.”
As Valentino explains the intricacies of shopping — hunting — for antiques, it’s clear there’s a world of knowledge to be had. Enough information to overwhelm some. But it’s something she embraces with zeal — like any good hunter.
To post a comment, please log into your IND account. If you do not have an account, click the "register" button to create one. Facebook comments can be used as an alternative to creating an account at theIND.com.
AUG 29 Everyone who cares about Louisiana should take time to peruse this story about coastal loss from Bob Marshall of The Lens. It's not enough to call it a story; it's an interactive experience packed with data and amazing graphics, timelines, history, photos and excellent writing. Set aside some time, because you can't go through this one in a few minutes.
JUN 29 This bizarre story from the Advocate on the shooting of a Baton Rouge television personality reads like the script of a soap opera - but not a good one. The allegations against him include sexual abuse of children, including the alleged shooter, and a sham immigration marriage involving his own daughter. The other side? He was a chaplin for the Sheriff's Office in Baton Rouge and preached in a local church.
AUG 29 Here's a story from CBS News about a killer amoeba found in the water system of St. John the Baptist Parish. The story made all three networks (CBS, ABC, NBC) as well as Fox "News," although they have not yet found out how it is Obama's fault. Seriously, the good news is that so far officials know of no one sickened by the water.
AUG 29 Huffington Post has a blog called Love Letters, which is grandly described as "an anthology of reflections on places the world over." This entry is from LSU Football Coach Les Miles, who, it appears, loves Baton Rouge. (Of course he does; he's a rich straight white man.) And certainly Baton Rouge loves him - unless he loses (ask Curley "Golden Flake" Hallman about that) or leaves (ask Nick Saban).
AUG 29 Blogger Bob Mann comments here upon Governor Bobby Jindal's federal lawsuit about Common Core. Mann calls it a "thinly veiled campaign document" and that might be the nicest thing he says in this post. Most troubling for Jindal and his aspirations, Mann has unearthed what Bobby said just a few years ago when he first decided to shove Common Core down our throats.
AUG 29 Blogger Tom Aswell has several developments here related to the so-called Edmonson amendment. The most entertaining one is possibly Tom's acknowledgement that a State Police official is (allegedly) calling the bloggers covering the story some colorful names. Listen up, cowboy: You really think two veterans like Tom Aswell and CB Forgotston care if you call them idiots?
AUG 29 Gotta love those journalists who write something with the enthusiasm that implies they're the first one to figure something out. Mostly, they're not. This is one of those times; the post on Slate Magazine says that Bobby Jindal's Common Core lawsuit is a political stunt. Well - Duh.
AUG 29 This story by WVLA tells us about a guy who got busted for speeding in Baton Rouge. Who cares? This guy took that infraction to new heights by going 129 miles per hour on Nicholson Drive. Poor fella - he probably has spent so much time sitting in Baton Rouge traffic he just had to cut lose.
AUG 28 As the controversy surrounding the Office of Group Benefits intensifies, blogger Tom Aswell gives us some background on the current problems. The OGB, which handles health insurance for current and retired state employees, is deep in the red since it was privatized by Jindal, and Aswell gives us the skinny: this great plan was designed by ALEC. The company handling it? Blue Cross Blue Shield of Louisiana - a longtime member of ALEC.
AUG 28 Blogger CB Forgotston has a concept for a new reality show: the wives of the "Dork Dynasty." That's the name that some troopers have given to State Police Commander Mike Edmonson and his inner circle. The ladies CB has picked for his cast are not just housewives, however, and the connections here are pretty interesting.
AUG 28 Blogger Ian McGibboney is writing about the strife in Ferguson in this post, and articulating what many people down south are saying. There's a fairy tale about how there's tons of racism in the South, but it's all hunky dory up North. (Really? Look again.)
Read the Flipping Paper!
Click Here for the Entire Print Version of IND Monthly