Shopping Guide

Are You Buying an Authentic Antique?

Ellie Aguilar of Elle Siglo shows us how to spot genuine goods from reproductions

Original Article: Tara Domingo Photography: (Main Photo)

Whether you won it from an auction or it has been passed down in your family for generations, it's safe to say that antiques are priceless possessions. Aside from adding value to your assets, they can add classic old world charm to homes, too. If you're thinking about copping a few pieces but you're a newbie in the vintage furniture game, here's a handful of reminders to keep in mind: 

1. Check how the wood is joined. Truly old pieces don’t use nails but tarugo or wooden dowels.

2. Weigh in. Old wood is usually lighter because moisture decreases (or evaporates) with age.

3. Look at the underside. Some pieces may look old but their bottoms could tell you otherwise. If it’s blackish and unclean, it’s the real thing. Turning wooden reproductions upside down should reveal unstained bottoms.

4. Pay attention to details. Nothing beats the craftsmanship of old. “Mas pino” is the term for old carving. It’s cruder nowadays. Antique carvings also tend to be imperfect due to wear. If carving edges are clean, it’s probably new.

5. Know the owner and agent. The previous owner or agent should be able to tell you how the piece was acquired and how old it is. Play on the safe side and ask your friends who collect to recommend their suki.

6. Canvas. There’s no better way to get the best price except to canvas. Look around to compare prices of pieces that have the same size, age and material. 

This snippet originally appeared in the August 2004 issue of Real Living Magazine. Download your digital copy of Real Living on the Real Living App. Log on to for more details.

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