Tuesday 25 August 2020

How to buy retro furniture


How to buy retro furniture

How to choose retro furniture

Retro furniture is furniture from the 50s, 60s or 70s. Unlike the previous Art Deco and Art Nouveau periods which concentrated on exclusive designers, retro furniture covers the whole market. Mass-market furniture makers quickly interpreted the latest styles so that within a matter of a few years what was exclusive and expensive was available to everyone.

This means buying retro furniture is easier than for any previous period and it need not cost a fortune.

Where to buy


By far the best source of retro furniture is eBay. All levels of retro design sell on eBay: Robin Day, Gordon Russell, G-Plan and Schreiber. Nowhere else is such a wide range available.

Buying on eBay needs caution. Most eBay sellers are not experts. They get descriptions wrong; they say a piece is from the fifties when it is from the seventies; they describe almost anything as G-Plan, when it is not.

To buy successfully on eBay you need to be very sure of your facts.

The other aspect of buying on eBay is how to bid. eBay is not a regular auction; there are different rules. In a normal auction room, the price depends on who is in the room; with eBay, the whole world is in the room.

eBay does gives the buyer one advantage, the time limit on the auction. If you time your bid in the last seconds of the auction, you can be lucky, but do bear in mind several other bidders may also be doing the same. eBay's advance bidding system can lead to the price being higher than expected. If two buyers both want the item and both put in what they think is a silly price, then it sells for a silly price.

Many eBay sellers will describe a piece of furniture as rare or unusual. With retro furniture, this is often not the case. If the price goes too high, wait for another day. There is only so much furniture one person can own.

Shop on eBay for:

Charity shops

It is increasingly difficult to find furniture from the fifties or sixties in a charity shop; you might, however, find some pieces from the seventies. If you see a piece you like in a charity shop, buy it straight away. The interest in retro style is such that it will not be there tomorrow.

Remember charity shops do not always sell bargains. They quite rightly want to make as much money as possible for their charity. Please do not haggle on the price in a charity shop - it doesn't show a very generous spirit!

Car boot sales

Car boot sales are still a source of retro furniture. There are still people who do not want to bother to sell on eBay, although it will give them the best price for their item. You need to get there early if you want to buy retro furniture. Again, do not think about it too much; make a quick decision and agree a price if you want to buy, otherwise someone else may snap up the item from under your nose.

Junk shops

Junk shops were, for many years, a great source of old furniture. There are still some bargains in junk shops, but prices are often unrealistic. A look on eBay's completed listings will give you a good idea of how much something is worth. Do not be fooled by the line "I could get X for it on eBay". If the seller could, he would.

Retro dealers

Retro dealers

A few specialist retro dealers sell everything from ceramics to lampshades as well as furniture. They are often enthusiastic people who are very keen on the period and have a lot of knowledge. Unfortunately, for reasons of space, many do not sell furniture.

The retro shops are exciting places full of colour and the glamour of the era. They are also the safest places to buy. You will get genuine pieces, which are properly dated. You will not find the cheapest prices here though; the dealer has to make a living.


Whatever style you chose and wherever you choose to buy it from, the most important first step is to arm yourself with as much knowledge as possible.

When choosing furniture or any piece for interior decoration it is best to have an overall vision for the completed room, rather than choosing pieces you like and then trying to fit them together later. Combine retro furniture with modern pieces and new retro style wallpaper, lampshades and other items to create a unique and personal style.

By Steven Braggs

Wednesday 19 August 2020




Militaria collectibles—like uniforms, military orders, medals, firearms, and swords prized artifacts for history buffs and those who have an affinity for one or more branches of the military. Medals, uniforms, weapons, and insignia are links to a soldier’s service, sacrifice, and bravery, and they remind us of the ideals many have died fighting for. As the number of militaria collectibles steadily diminishes, these items gain more than sentimental and historical value. They also increase in monetary value. For those interested in collecting militaria, this guide from EBTH provides tips to get you started and offers some basics about commonly collected pieces.

Start by Specializing

Whether you’re interested in a specific time period or artifact, such as medals, identifying a specialty will help you quickly gain knowledge about the collectibles you’re seeking. It’s best to do your homework before investing in militaria. Researching reference materials related to your coveted collection, joining militaria clubs, and talking with experienced collectors helps you to effectively evaluate potential collectibles.

Focus on the Person Behind the Piece

The most sought-after pieces of militaria are those that can be traced back to the individual serviceperson. Collectors of militaria love to know the story of the soldier who owned the piece. When the person who possessed the item is known, dealers and collectors refer to this as “identified.” Identified artifacts with verifiable histories often command premium prices.

While other collections, such as stamp collections, may increase in value as the set grows, militaria can become more desirable and more valuable when combined with other items that belonged to the same serviceperson. This type of collection helps us visualize the person’s experience, sacrifice, and heroic efforts.

Military missions are often well documented in service records. Searching through national archives and history books allows you to view the experience from the point of view of those who participated in the battles. Finding as much information as you can about the person’s service adds to the item’s significance. Alternatively, if you don’t know who owned the piece, educating yourself about how the item was used or the type of soldier that used it adds to its meaning.

Collecting Military Medals

Medals are some of the most popular militaria—many medal collectors would never think of collecting anything else. These honorable awards represent sacrifice, bravery, and commitment. The medals that typically go for higher prices are those that can conclusively be linked to the name of the soldiers who received them. Medals that are inscribed with a soldier’s name or ID number enable collectors to learn more about the circumstances surrounding the award. Accompanying certificates add further value to medals because they provide conclusive evidence that the medal was awarded to a particular soldier.

Like all militaria, it’s important to authenticate medals. Reproduction medals often show small flaws that real medals don’t have. Reading about the medals you’re interested in and consulting with other experienced collectors can help you to validate authenticity.

Collecting Historical Weapons

Daggers, swords, and guns are all popular collectibles, too, and some become quite valuable. In fact, swords can increase as much as 20 percent per year in value depending on what collectors in the market are willing to pay. Take your time researching these pieces. Swords that show signs of filling or filler should be considered with caution. Scabbards should fit snugly around swords and shouldn’t be too tight or loose. Tight leather scabbards may be due to leather shrinkage, so this could also be a natural part of the weapon’s aging process. Weapons should show natural signs of wear and handling, even when you’re examining them in photos.

Collecting Military Uniforms

Because soldiers usually wore their dress uniforms home, there are still plenty available for sale. Soldiers often carefully stored their uniforms after returning home as remembrances of their service, so many are also still in excellent condition. When evaluating uniforms, the insignia and the accessories can help you determine what you’re willing to pay. However, the insignia’s nuances require study to know which patches and medals add the most value. Taking the time to research the insignias will ensure you know the uniform’s fair price.

The value of combat uniforms or fatigues is determined by their function. A soldier’s WWII camouflage jacket evokes strong images of a GI in the field, whereas a sailor’s rain jacket does not. Even though the rain jacket might be more rare, the camouflage jacket represents a common GI soldier in combat. As a general rule, items worn by soldiers in combat tend to have greater value than items not worn in battle.

When it comes to combat uniforms and jackets, details matter. Most uniforms from World War II and Vietnam were produced by the hundreds of thousands. This can keep the actual value of the uniform rather low. What make the uniform increase in value among collectors are the insignias attached. A paratrooper’s jacket with patches, wings, citation ribbons, special unit awards, and chevrons may sell for much more than an unadorned jacket. Experts recommend you first determine the base value of the uniform and then evaluate the insignias. The more battle the clothing saw, the higher you may be willing to pay for it.

Collecting Militaria for Sentimental Reasons

Of course, not everyone collects artifacts for profit. If an authenticated antique has personal meaning to you, monetary value may not matter one bit. If you came across the same type of bomber jacket your grandfather wore while serving in World War II or a piece of memorabilia that evokes a sense of gratitude each time you look at it, that feeling of connectedness may be all that’s important.

If you’re ready to https://www.ebth.com/categories/3148-militaria-collectibles-auctions":null, EBTH can help. Our innovative auction website features hundreds of online estate sales from around the country every month, providing a wealth of militaria collectibles right at your fingertips.

Friday 7 August 2020

Is Brown Furniture Back? Yes! Here’s How to Style It


Is Brown Furniture Back? Yes! 

Here’s How to Style It

editor@purewow.com (PureWow)

In a world dominated by bright, airy rooms, brown furniture has become synonymous with dated. Heavy. Clunky. Something best painted over, donated or given away to the highest bidder at a yard sale. But it doesn’t have to be that way—and four designers are ready to prove it. They’re big believers in the way a few pieces of dark wood furniture can add depth, richness and soulfulness to a space, making it the sort of place you never want to leave.

RELATED: 12 Bedroom Organization Ideas to Calm the Chaos in Your Life

First, let’s get on the same page: What is “brown furniture?”

It’s a phrase thrown around a lot, and generally, we’re talking pieces made out of solid, dark wood, like walnut, teak, rosewood and mahogany. For years, light tones have dominated the market, but Society Social founder and creative director Roxy Te Owens says that’s all starting to change: People “are beginning to crave layered, ‘homey’ interiors—spaces that mix a variety of textures, patterns and colors, vs. minimalist spaces that feel un-lived in.” (On that note, she recommends trying out burl wood, since its abstract graining can liven up a room.)

These pieces—even if you’re staring down a chocolate brown leather sofa you don’t know what to do with but can’t live without (it’s just so comfy!)—can be key to giving your space character.

Second, how can I make it work with my aesthetic?

There are a few key things to keep in mind as you decorate a room:

1. DO: Work in brown furniture sparingly.

If you’ve avoided your mom’s hand-me-downs because you were convinced the look would weigh down a room, that may be because you’re used to seeing spaces where every piece of furniture was big, dark and dramatic. In this case, a little restraint can go a long way. “Choose one or two pieces and make them a focal point,” recommends designer Alexander Doherty.

2. DON’T: Stick to the same wood finish.

“Mixing wood species and finishes, just like metals, will help the space feel unique, as if you curated everything over time,” explains Kevin Dumais of New York-based interior design studio Dumais. “With grey or taupe walls, golden teak and rich dark walnut wood finishes can add definition to a space.”

3. DO: Seek balance.

“To avoid a dark and dreary look, we like to pair brown furniture with lighter-colored accents, like whites or neutrals, as well as greenery—not only does this create a softer look, it keeps the deeper hues airy and the space bright,” Te Owens says.

It’s a statement echoed by Boston-based designer Liz Caan, who suggests balancing things out with a few lighter and more modern pieces. And, if you’re convinced you can’t have light walls with dark pieces, think again: “Brown furniture can make a light grey and white interior look spectacular and make the space warmer and more inviting,” she says.

4. DON’T: Ignore the shapes in a room.

Contrasting shapes and textures can make a room feel layered, luxe and well, livable. After adding a 1940s Scandinavian desk and dark wood cabinet to an office, Doherty softened up all of those vertical lines with a plush (but not frilly) daybed.

OK, Last Thing: How Do I Know Whether a Piece Is Worth Buying?

Some of the best pieces of brown furniture you can find are vintage or antique, but navigating the good buys from the “oh no, what have I gotten myself into?” moments can be tricky. Thankfully, the pros have some insights there too. Look for something that’s structurally sound, first and foremost, Caan says. “Check to see if the piece is made of solid hardwood and not veneer,” she adds. “Ask yourself how much you want to invest in refinishing and new hardware. I would also inquire about the lineage or story behind the piece (this is often a selling point for me). Finally, take a look at similar items from the same period and see what they’re going for in the marketplace and the differences in price and condition.”

Age matters too, in terms of resale value: “Brown furniture from the 18th and 19th century has lost its value overtime unless it is really high end,” Doherty says. “I recommend concentrating on pieces from the 20th century as they are still highly valuable and collectable today. Try to focus on European pieces from the ‘30s and ‘40s and Scandinavian pieces from the ‘50s, and look for strong architectural lines.” The more you know.

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