It is not without difficulty to be a lover of old objects and furniture! It will not be enough for you to hunt around in flea markets to find the rare pearl of which you dream, because many copies and bad restorations hide there at prices that they are not worth! First of all, you will need to have a few notions about styles and their eras and put into practice some little tips to successfully detect the "fakes"!
Recognize period objects
Here are some "recognition" tips depending on the object you want. To find out if it is actually made of copper, take the magnet test. If the object adheres, it is probably steel covered with copper ... Regarding the tin pieces, they must be punched. Between ivory and celluloid, it's all about weight! Celluloid pieces are really very light compared to ivory items. Also watch out for small bubbles on the surface or a few traces of molding which would indicate that it is a copy! More generally, always pay close attention to imperfections in sculptures or paintings which are often a guarantee of authenticity!
Recognize period furniture
Work by hand You must keep a very pragmatic idea in mind: all the furniture is handmade until the end of the 19th century. Consequently, the woodwork is necessarily irregular, this is clearly seen in the sculptures and in the grooves on the legs of the furniture and the legs of the seats (Louis XVI for example). Ultra symmetrical grooves and regular sculptures are evidence of machine work dating from the end of the 19th century at the earliest. You will also differentiate a manual plating (on the edge of a drawer for example) from the 18th and earlier, thick and irregular (between 1.5 and 3 mm) because sawn by hand, from a mechanical plating from the 19th and 20th century , thin and uniform (less than 1 mm). More generally, the sawing of the pieces by hand will be visible under a table or a seat. Pegs and dovetails If you are told that this chest of drawers dates from the 18th century and that you do not see any dowel for assembling the different pieces, beware! The bonding technique to assemble the pieces of a piece of furniture only dates from the end of the 19th century. The absence of ankle therefore necessarily means that the furniture is later than the 18th century. You can also look at the dovetails of the drawers, these small trapezoidal cutouts which allow the front and sides of the drawer to be joined together. Before the 17th, it is actually not a trapeze since the cutouts are at right angles. Until the middle of the 18th century, there were few trapezoids (2 or 3 max). Over time, they became more and more numerous, up to 6 in the 19th century.
There is no mystery: guaranteeing the authenticity of an old object or piece of furniture is a matter of professional expertise. Know therefore that unlike the second-hand dealer, the antique dealer is required to guarantee the authenticity of what he sells, by means of a certificate of authenticity. If you call on him to assess a part, his civil liability is engaged, you can therefore trust him!