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Are furniture pieces authentic antiques?

Q: Can you let me know if this furniture is considered antique and is it worth anything? I have personally seen it displayed in my family for about 30 years. Things are downsizing and it must go.

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William Green

A: Your question regarding your grouping of furniture and if it is antique (100 years old) can best be answered by first examining your two pieces of Oriental-inspired furniture, your smaller Oriental cabinet or buffet, and your Chinese decorative china cabinet.

The many dynasties in Chinese history have produced many furniture types but it was from the Northern and Southern dynasties that Chinese furniture developed its unique characteristics. Use of lacquer finish, detailed engraving, and painted decoration as well as pragmatic design elements began to flourish, as are so evident on both pieces of your furniture.

You did say that you have seen both pieces of furniture displayed in your family home for the past 30 years. In today’s marketplace, though, reproduction Chinese inspired furniture is very prevalent and often times can appear real until examined by an expert. I recommend that both pieces of your furniture be examined by an expert in your area specializing in Oriental art, if possible. If both pieces prove authentic at being antique, I would value your smaller cabinet/buffet between $650-$800, and your china cabinet at $2,200.

In regards to your other photo showing a more modern table and four pink velvet chairs comprising a dining set perhaps or a small conference table with chairs, I place from the photo alone in the time frame of the 1970s and not considered antique. There appears to be a table mat actually covering the table and so the wood cannot be identified to value it. Therefore, to properly appraise this set as well, I recommend that you consult with an appraiser in your area.

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Susan Mullikin, CA, AIA

Susan Mullikin, owner of Mother and Daughter Vintage Clothing and Antiques is an honors graduate of the Asheford Institute of Antiques. For the last 25 years she has specialized in assisting clients across the U.S. in regards to fine antique garments, textiles, and ladies accessories. She provides conservation, restoration and appraisal services.

Send your questions and photos via e-mail to, or mail to Antique Trader Q&A, 5225 Joerns Drive, Suite 2, Stevens Point, WI 54481. Photos sent by e-mail should be 200 dpi or larger. Appraisals are personal opinions of value and are to be considered for entertainment purposes only. The values are estimated and are not to be used for any other purpose, either legal or personal. Personal replies are not possible.