eBay Guides - Antique Furniture Buying Guide
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Antique Furniture Buying Guide

Nothing adds style and value to your home like a fine antique, especially a carefully selected piece of antique furniture that's both functional and beautiful. Choosing the perfect antique cabinet, antique table, or antique dresser to accent your home is easy and rewarding when you take advantage of eBay Canada's impressive selection of vintage antique furniture.

Discover Antique Furniture

Discover Antique Furniture

Before purchasing antique furniture, consider first how the pieces will match your home. If your décor is contemporary, adding an ornate Victorian object might not create the effect you want. Also, think a bit about what your style is and what design periods can help you create the look you like. Then have some fun, mixing and matching your favourite styles.

Choose items that are not only vintage or antique, but also attractive and functional, such as chairs, cabinets, desks, and dressers. Additionally, incorporate antiques throughout your home. Almost every living space can be enhanced by a piece of artisan furniture, from a hand-planed bench in the kitchen to a sturdy Mission coffee table in the den to an elaborately gilded mirror in the foyer. You can also give your home an antique look with reproduction furniture. True antique furniture collectors, however, prefer real period pieces from specific popular eras.

Explore your antique furniture options

Antique furniture of every style and aesthetic is available on eBay, from stately Gothic headboards to modernist Eames chairs. Narrowing down what you like and what will work best in your home is the real fun.

Peruse eBay Canada’s entire antique furniture category, organized by object and style, to begin to develop your own tastes and sense of style. You’ll probably discover items you hadn’t ever considered. A few ideas to start with:

Some other types of items to consider in your new favourite old style include antique benches, antique bookcases, antique chaises, antique cabinets, antique sideboards, antique stands, and antique vanities.

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Identify Antique Furniture & Reproductions

Identify Antique Furniture & Reproductions

True antique hunters search for beautifully preserved objects d’art, armed with pins, magnifying glasses, and levels. Many other home decorators aren’t as concerned about a piece’s history or authenticity, opting for quality reproductions that are more affordable. Both approaches are fine. Your challenge: making an educated decision based on what’s important to you.

There are many ways to determine if a piece of antique furniture is a true piece of history or a clever reproduction.

  • Signs of age: Since wood shrinks over time, look for signs of cracking, warping, and fading, as well as slightly ragged edges (a sign of the old-fashioned, pre-motorized handsaw). Mirror glass should be very thin and slightly warped. Look for notes of this in seller descriptions.

  • Imperfections: From your review of the listing’s images, try to determine if the piece’s boards are of varying widths. Uniform board widths are a fairly modern invention.

As always, it’s important to get all the facts. If you have questions about a specific piece, ask the seller. Most antique furniture sellers are happy to provide you with additional details or photos of the piece to help you make an informed decision.

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Research Antique Furniture

Research Antique Furniture

Becoming knowledgeable about antique furniture takes research, even if you’re focusing on only one aspect of this wide-ranging subject.

  • Establish value: Many collectors prefer specific eras, styles, and makers, while others have more eclectic tastes. In either case, an authentic piece’s value is most influenced by its condition, rarity, and history.

  • Get an expert opinion: A trained eye is more likely to find an undervalued treasure (or a clever masquerade) than a novice. Stay informed about trends in the antiques market by consulting important trade publications.

  • Consider practical matters: Carefully review the size and weight of each antique furniture piece you consider purchasing. Shipping furniture can be a pricey proposition. To reduce these costs, search for eBay sellers in your region. Also, look for sellers who use blanket-wrap shipping services.

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Find Antique Furniture on eBay

Find Antique Furniture on eBay

Once you know what type of antique furniture you want, go to the Antiques portal, click Furniture, and start searching for item listings on eBay.

  • Categories: The Categories list on the left side of each page will help you narrow down your listings by item type. You'll find links for Armoires, Desks, Dining Sets, and more. As you dig deeper into the site, you'll also be able to narrow down your choice by brand.

  • Finder: Use the drop-down menus on the Antique Furniture Finder to quickly narrow down item listings by Product, Style, Region of Origin, Age, or Original/Reproduction.

  • Keyword search: Search eBay listing titles for specific words. For example, if you want to find a Victorian-era settee, type "Victorian settee" (without quotation marks) into the Search box. Click "Search title and description" to expand your results. Visit eBay's Search Tips page for more tips on searching with keywords.

If you can't find exactly what you want, try shopping eBay Stores, tell the eBay Community what you want by creating a post on Want It Now, or on My eBay and eBay will email you when a match becomes available.

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Buy Antique Furniture With Confidence

Buy Antique Furniture With Confidence

Before making your purchase, make sure you know exactly what you're buying, research your seller, and understand how eBay and PayPal protect you.

Know your purchase

Carefully read the details in item listings.

  • Figure delivery costs into your final price. If you spend a lot of money, make sure the seller will insure the item when it ships.

  • If you want more information, ask by clicking the "Ask seller a question" link under the seller's profile.

  • Always make sure to complete your transaction on eBay (with a bid, Buy It Now, or Best Offer). Transactions conducted outside of eBay are not covered by eBay protection programs.

  • Never pay for your eBay item using instant cash wire transfer services through Western Union or MoneyGram. These payment methods are unsafe when paying someone you do not know.

Know your seller

Research your seller so you feel positive and secure about every transaction.

  • What is the seller's Feedback rating? How many transactions have they completed? What percentage of positive responses do they have?

  • What do buyers say in their Feedback? Did the seller receive praise?

  • Most top eBay sellers operate like retail stores and have return policies. Do they offer a money-back guarantee? What are the terms and conditions?

Buyer protection

In the unlikely event that a problem arises during your transaction, eBay and PayPal are there for you.

  • Pay safely with PayPal: PayPal enables you to pay without the seller ever seeing your bank account or credit card numbers. In fact, PayPal protects buyers 100% against unauthorized payments from their accounts. Plus, with PayPal Buyer Protection, your purchase can be covered up to C$1,250.

  • eBay Security & Resolution Centre: Visit the Security & Resolution Centre to learn how to protect your account and use eBay's quick and efficient resolution tools.

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