Determining What Should Be Restored
It’s likely that someone has told you a tale about a person that attempted to restore an antique and wound up reducing the value of the piece in the process. With that said, if a piece is badly damaged or unpleasant to look at, restoration can greatly increase its value. It’s important to be able to accurately determine whether a specific piece should be restored before you get to work.
Look at the Value of the Piece
In an article published by Professional Refinishing Magazine, one of the producers for Antiques Roadshow, Peter Cook, stated that the decision to restore is more about the value of the object than the type of object. If a piece was crafted by a famous artisan, or if it is museum quality, it’s likely that it already has plenty of value. That value could go down if you choose to restore. When it comes to pieces like these, the inherent value of the piece had more to do with the artist than the way the piece looks. It’s likely that it’s better to leave the piece as-is unless it is severely damaged.
Look at How Much Damage the Piece Has Sustained
Restoring an antique piece with some sun damage is very different from repairing a piece that has broken legs or has been badly damaged by water. The restoration process is designed to make a piece look like new again. However, in some cases, minor damage can actually add to the appeal of the piece.
If a piece has a little fading or is showing some minor signs of wear, you should leave it untouched. With that said, if a piece is damaged badly enough that it is no longer functional, or if the piece looks terrible, professional restoration is an excellent option. Restoration is also a great option if someone has tried and failed to restore a piece in the past.
Be Aware of the Risks
If you’re trying to decide whether you should restore a piece, you should keep in mind that restoration is always risky. Whether the piece is currently valuable or it simply has sentimental value to you, you need to think about the impact restoration will have on the piece. Crane Jewellers, a company that restores antique jewellery, warns that reconditioning and repairing a piece could damage or destroy it. This is more likely to happen when it comes to items that are more delicate, like a necklace or a bracelet, but this can be an issue with antiques of any types.
Be Aware of the Benefits of Patina
Age is one of the reasons many antiques are so valuable. Over time, the surface of a piece wears down or oxidizes, which is a process known as patina. This is a sign that a piece has history, and it’s something many collectors specifically seek out. If the patina is destroyed when an antique is being restored, the item’s value could fall significantly.
Who Can You Trust with Restoration?
Whether restoration increases the value of a piece has a lot to do with who handles the process. Restoration services from an experienced professional can cause the value of a piece to skyrocket, but entrusting restoration to someone that doesn’t know what they are doing could cause the piece to be destroyed. If you’re trying to determine whether a professional is necessary, you should keep these guidelines in mind.
Consult with a Professional
Restoring antique pieces return them to the condition they were in when they were new. As stated above, this won’t always boost the value of an object. If you’re trying to decide whether a piece should be restored and who you should trust to handle the work, the specifics of your situation will need to be evaluated. If you’re not sure what you should do, the smartest thing you can do is consult with a professional that appraises antiques. They should be able to point you in the right direction. You could also consider the benefits of buying bespoke antique furniture.