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Top Tips for Buying Antiques

antique chair next to an ornate table with a small vintage chest on top of it.

Liv Ahwatukee Blog is back with more information about antiques, vintage items, and collectibles. Now that we’ve covered what they each are and where to find them, we want to take a look at things to keep in mind when you are shopping for antiques. Remember the guiding principle about value, essentially that the value of an item is based on what you’re willing to pay for it — but balance that with your time, budget, and space. Here are some tips to help you do that. 

— When you can, shop in person. While pictures can be good representations, there is nothing quite like seeing an item for yourself to judge its condition, color, and patina. 

— When it comes to furniture, some key things to note are whether or not the piece is well-built if it has a sense of character — a patina built up over time and does it suggest a sense of history. 

— If you are shopping online, the more information you have, the better. Ask for additional information before you buy if you aren’t certain about something - exact measurements, maker’s marks, labels, etc. 

Things to Look for in a Great Piece 

Do you like it?  If you don’t, what’s the point of getting it? Many pieces may speak to you. . . . 

Consider the investment a bonus. . .. check to see if the piece is well constructed. Has it been cared for? Note things like cracks, broken parts, stains, loose joints.  Ask the seller about the history of the piece and if the provenance is known.


If you are looking for a gift, keep your intended recipients’ interests in mind as you shop. One of the best things about shopping for vintage items and antiques is that they are generally one-of-a-kind. Be sure to find out the return policy of the shop or vendor and if a gift receipt is available. Regardless of whether a gift receipt is available, always get a receipt, even for a cash purchase. The receipt should include the age of the item, the material it’s made from, any damage or restoration, its value, and the price.

Are you ready to hit the Phoenix antique shops? We bet you’ll find something perfect to add to your Arizona apartment! Let us know how it goes in the comments.


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