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Cabinet making is an art with a long history. There is no better proof of this than the antique cabinets that are coveted today by antique collectors.

Despite the advent of modern designs, antique-style cabinets provide that vintage and classic element to any home décor. This makes them highly coveted not only for the value as an antique but also for the aesthetic value they add to your home.
Want to know the value of your an antique cabinet? Or do you have an antique cabinet that you are looking to sell?

Determining the value of your antique cabinet is not easy. You need to understand the variables that go into its valuation process. You can learn more about that process below or submit your item for a cabinet appraisal

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Antique Cabinets 101

Antique cabinets are available in a wide range of styles and types (more about this below). The design of each cabinet is intended for its purpose and function. Hence, it would be easy to identify what the antique cabinets are used for based on their design. Over the years, there have been numerous styles introduced by cabinet manufacturers and makers. Some are designed specifically for the aesthetic value they bring into a living space, such as within your home. If you want to bring that vintage vibe to your interior home design, these pieces can get the trick done.
The earliest cabinets that were manufactured were designed to store papers and other valuable items. In addition, some cabinets have desks on them too, to provide a writing surface. The addition of drawers on newer styles was a practical solution introduced to combat the challenges of accessing storage from the top. Over the years, the raised chest height was developed in order to eliminate the need to bend down to access the content of the drawers.
Even though cabinets were intended for a specific purpose, they showcase excellent craftsmanship of the maker. In fact, cabinets are highly regarded in the woodwork industry. There are plenty of skills involved in making cabinets such as carving, marquetry, inlaying, and veneering. The industrial period is when the cabinets flourished and production grew.

How to Identify Antique Cabinets

Antique cabinets have a history that date back to the 17th century. Since then, there have been different manufacturers and styles that are introduced into the market over the years. If you own an old cabinet that had been handed down from several generations, you could have an antique in your hands. But how do you identify if it is indeed antique and rare? The age of the cabinet is not enough proof of its value.
The first thing you need to do in order to identify your antique cabinet is to physically inspect it. Check if there is patina on the drawer pulls. If there are, then your cabinet is an antique. The presence of the patina means that the cabinet has been used for decades – you won’t find this same characteristic in newer cabinets. The feet of the cabinet could also show some signs of scuffing. The paint might also look dull at this point.
You should also inspect the back side of the cabinet. Look for a paper label or any signature. A signature is an essential factor in identifying antique cabinets (and also determines its market value). The signature would indicate the name of the craftsman. In some cases, you will get the name of the manufacturer. Using this piece of information, you will be able to determine where and when the cabinet was made.
It is important that you take clear photographs of the cabinet. If there are any signatures, you should include a photograph of that as well. This will help appraisers and antique dealers to be able to determine the value of the item when you take it for an appraisal.
Physical inspection and the signs of age could be a significant indicator that the cabinet is antique. Make sure you have them checked by a professional appraiser to ensure that the cabinet is not a modern reproduction.

Types of Antique Cabinets

Over the years, there have been many types of antique cabinets developed in the industry. Here are some of the most notable types:

  • Apothecary Cabinets: This type of antique cabinet is all about the style and functionality. Depending on which period it was manufactured, you can select from multiple styles to suit your preference. The name is derived from the fact that the earliest types of this cabinet were used to hold herbs and other forms of remedies.
  • Bedside Cabinets: A bedside cabinet is basically that – one that is used on the side of your bed. This type of table typically comes in a pair that will be placed on each side of the bed. 
  • Bow Front Cabinets: A bow front cabinet is one of the oldest styles available. It is a practical piece of furniture as it helps to utilize any excess space on corners. It is placed against a wall and comes with plenty of storage space due to the bow fronted design. 
  • Cocktail Cabinets: This is one type of antique cabinet that is considered a rarity these days. It got its name from the fact that it is used for keeping glasses and bottles. 
  • Corner Cabinets: This antique cabinet is a bit similar to bow front cabinets in that they are used for placing on corners. They are typically used for storage purposes although certain styles can also give an aesthetic addition to a room. The main difference with bow fronted cabinets is that corner cabinets do not have that bow front style. 
  • Display Cabinets: Display cabinets are one of the most common types of antique cabinets available. It is used for displaying various items from your collection. Most display cabinets come with a glass case.
  • Filing Cabinets: Filing cabinets were manufactured for a functional purpose of storing items and other valuables. It is characterized by the presence of shelves and drawers on the front. These drawers are added to provide adequate space for storing items inside.

How Much Are Antique Cabinets Worth?

When valuing antique cabinets, expert appraisers will consider the age of the item, initially. Therefore, it is important to have proof or documentation as to the origin of the cabinet so you can prove when it was made. The older the item is, the higher the potential value is.
The style is also an important consideration. When appraising antique cabinets, expert appraisers will look for styles that are not produced in large volume. The rarity of the antique cabinet style will make it more valuable to the eyes of potential antique buyers and collectors.
On the other hand, the originality of the antique cabinet’s condition is also important. Antique cabinets that are kept in their original state are typically more expensive than the ones that had been reproduced, or their parts or features had been altered.
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