Oct 032012

You’re clearing out all the old furniture and items in your storeroom, and you decide to get rid of them quickly by selling them for cheap, but a few of these items might just be valuable antiques, and you could stand to lose money if you’re not careful in identifying them properly.

What qualifies as an antique?

According to the U.S. Customs Service, for an item to be considered an antique, it has to be at least 100 years old, or more (source). The Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry states that,manufactured wooden items over 100 years old are consider antiques (source). However, there aren’t any exact rules saying what really constitutes as an antique and what does not.

The definition of antique can also be relative to the person who’s looking to sell or purchase the item. To a young individual born into the age of smartphones and tablets, a casette tape player might be an antique, whereas grandpa might see it as a normal old piece of junk.


There are however, several broad guidelines that you’d be able to assess a piece of furniture or item with -

1) Is the furniture or item made before or during a particular time or period in history? For example, a furniture or item that can be traced back to the pre WWII colonial times of Singapore, from 1867 to 1942.

Dining chair made in 1920′s (image credits: Secondcharm.net)

2) Is the furniture or item rare? For example, the furniture or item was created in limited quantity before production was discontinued.

3) Is there a story behind the furniture or item? Can it be associated to any significant event or period in history?

4) Does your furniture or item bear designs and/or features distinctive to an earlier period in time? For example, a foot pedal sewing machine table.

Image credits: Secondcharm.net

Old furnitures with a rich history or a notable story behind it would be able to fetch a higher price. There isn’t a checklist where you can reference the value of your furniture, also, the value of the item you’re selling varies among different individuals. If you feel that your preowned furniture might be an old collectible, bring it to several antique furniture shops to have it evaluated.

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