The ‘Wonderful World of Antique Furniture’

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My wife, Sue, and I have been antique furniture enthusiasts for many years. We operate Bath House Row Antiques, 202 Spring St., here in Hot Springs. We will celebrate our store’s 22nd anniversary this August. Antique furniture is truly our specialty, but we have many categories.

The antique furniture trade is a very mature business. A vast amount of history is compiled and available in books and on the internet. The chronology of furniture is very scientific. There is much to learn.

Here are some FAQs (and answers) that might help put our “Wonderful World of Antique Furniture” in perspective:

What qualifies furniture as “antique?”

In 1966, U.S. Customs declared furniture 100 years old and older as antique and duty-free.

What is meant by the term “period furniture?”

The term refers to furniture that was made at the time a specific style was first produced. A period might last from five to 10 years and more. The same style made later on would be a reproduction or replica.

How can the age of furniture be determined?

It takes a lot of study and hands-on experience, including comparisons to known examples. We first determine the style and country of origin, then carefully observe construction (type of joinery, wood varieties external and internal, tool marks), condition, finish, etc. With patience, it can be done with reasonable certainty.

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