This is part 1 of a 2 part series I wrote about the sometimes “hidden” value in older furniture and family heirlooms. I hope you enjoy it and please share your thoughts!
I remember a time not so long ago when people looked forward to inheriting family heirloom furniture pieces, but it seems that today our younger generations aren’t interested in it. I think that this is a shame for several reasons. One is that they lose a connection to the family’s past and the memories that are attached to them. Memories from items like the rocking chair that grandma rocked your father or mother or even you to sleep on as a baby; great-grandfather’s old desk full of papers and memories of a family growing up; or even your parent’s dining set where you grew up eating holiday meals and listening to all the old family stories around.
These items are “touch stones” to our past and full of times good and not so good ones, but they are part of us in more ways than you would imagine. You could even say that they have a “soul” which you can feel and revisit times past just by sitting and touching these pieces. I hope to remind those who care and even those who don’t give it much thought that there is a value to this furniture that you can’t always recognize until you let those memories come alive.
Antique Roll-top Desk
Other good reasons for acquiring “inherited” items are the higher level of quality you will find in most older furniture (pre 1970) and the economic windfall you will receive. It’s great to have your mom, grandmother or even an aunt or uncle give you a nice mahogany or walnut dining set. If it’s from the 1940’s or 50’s, I’m sure that you’ll find it is made of higher quality woods, better and stronger construction methods and usually has a nicer design style, especially in the smaller details. The hardware is generally better quality and many times it is solid brass as opposed to cheaper plated or even painted metals. You’ll also find that there is real wood veneer inlay used on the design instead of imitation wood or painted wood inlay. You’ll find structural joints that were made well and usually still holding the piece together after many years, instead of quickly stapled joints with plastic braces which probably won’t last 5 years! I’ll bet that the majority of the furniture purchased new today won’t be around in 25 years and if it is it will be in disrepair.
For all these reasons, and more to come in my next article, I recommend looking for vintage furniture rather than today’s disposable furniture. Let’s keep these pieces “alive” and learn to appreciate quality once again.