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The mid-century modern furniture craze is real and while homebuyers are looking for ways to bring the touch of the 50s into their homes, there are people taking advantage of the resurgence of this type of furniture to make quick money by selling knock-off and poor quality reproduction. So, it might be a good idea to make sure you have some information prior to making the purchase to help you make the right decisions.
Whether you decide to opt for authentic or reproduction mid-century modern furniture, it is all about your preference and your budget. Good reproductions look just as good and are able to last just as long as the authentic pieces for just a fraction of the price. You might also want to consider the use of the piece before you decide whether you want to buy authentic or reproduction.
If you want another piece of furniture for your house or office, a high-quality reproduction should be more than enough. For collectors, you definitely want to go for vintage mid-century modern furniture.
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If you feel you are better off buying an authentic piece, you have to brace yourself to know the tell-tale signs of a good, authentic mid-century piece of furniture and more importantly, identifying its original state.
The first thing you want to look at is if the piece has undergone any restoration. You want the piece as close as possible to its original state and if there are any signs of restoration, you want to be sure they were done properly and what was being repaired or restored.
If the piece is made out of wood, brass or leather, that is where you want to start checking by looking at the patina. You can easily see where the furniture was repaired. In most cases, it is not possible to restore the furniture to its originality but if it has been restored too many times, the value reduces.
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Mid-century modern pieces are very synonymous with those who designed them. There are also the production companies to whom the rights to make and sell such furniture were sold. Every piece will have a label of its creator and that is usually your first stop in checking the authenticity. The piece should have a label which states its creator through a manufacturer’s label, an insignia of the designer or a signature. Be aware of what this should be and how it looks to help you identify its authenticity.
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Photo by Northwestern Trunk and Traveling Bag Manufactory, via Wikimedia Commons (Public domain)
When it comes to mid-century modern furniture, a lot of attention is paid to the aesthetic appeal of the furniture in both authentic and good quality reproduction pieces. You can easily identify a knock off when the visuals are rough around the edges and there are exposed parts like nuts and bolts.
Your best and safest bet when buying reproduction mid-century modern furniture is opting for reliable and reputable online sites that have specialized in this kind of furniture for a long time. It also saves you time and you can save some money if you get discounts and sales.
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