How to Know if My Settee Is an Antique?

By Prev Info - January 24, 2023

An antiques dealer can tell you whether your settee is antique.

Finding valuable pieces of art or furniture at an auction, secondhand market or garage sale is rare, but it does happen. Antiques are valued according to how rare they are, the condition they are in and their age. True antique furniture is generally considered to be something that is more than 100 to 150 years old. It can be difficult to tell whether the piece you have purchased is an antique, vintage or just secondhand. Older settees or couches may have been reupholstered, had their cushions replaced or been restained. This can make it difficult to determine the exact age. Try these tips to know if your settee is an antique.


  1. Lift the cushions of the settee if possible. Look for a manufacturer's stamp on the wood below the cushions or underneath the settee. The maker's stamp and date may also be on the back of the settee. 

  2. Inspect the craftsmanship of the settee. Look at any hardware such as nails and screws. If your settee has screws, it may not be an antique or it may have been restored at a later time, as screws were not used until the 20th century.    

  3. Feel the back of the settee's wood and upholstered areas. If the furniture has very sharp edges and corners, it is likely more recently manufactured. Antiques generally have softer and more rounded edges.   

  4. Check whether the carpentry of the settee was handcut and carved where pieces of wood have been joined together. Furniture pieces made by hand will show slight variations while machine cut pieces will more likely be the same. Dovetailing, a type of interlocking mechanism to join furniture together, was also often used to make antique furniture. This type of joint is often found in antique desks and drawers; it may also be found in your settee where the back and front wooden pieces are joined to the sides. A carpenter or antiques dealer can likely tell you if your settee has this type of construction. 

  5. Make an appointment with an antiques appraiser who can determine whether your settee is antique. Inform him of any history that you know about the piece, such as it belonged to your grandmother and where it came from. An appraiser is trained to look for certain signs that can determine the age and type of a piece of furniture.

Tips & Warnings

  1. Anitique furniture requires special care; talk to the antiques dealer and appraiser about how to best preserve your piece.

  2. Do not purchase expensive antique furniture without certification or having it appraised; many fake pieces exist. A reputable dealer should be able to guarantee that a piece is an antique.

  3. Do not attempt to restore antique furniture on your own or by someone who is not trained in restoring antiques. This can damage the piece and cause a loss in value.





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