What to Look for When Buying a Vintage Small Chest

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Whether buying vintage items to decorate a living space, to add to a collection, or for appraisal and resale, many consumers enjoy shopping for vintage and antique items. Though a good price on a vintage item can be tempting, buyers should evaluate the piece carefully before purchasing. For consumers looking to purchase a vintage small chest, keeping a few simple guidelines in mind can ensure they get the most for their money.


Determine the Purpose

Before purchasing a vintage small chest, consumers should determine how they desire to fit it into their living space. A small chest or trunk with serious signs of wear and tear may be charming to a buyer looking for a unique display piece, while a consumer looking for a chest as a unique end table may find it unstable and inadequate for holding the weight of a lamp or other fixtures. In addition, some may appreciate finding an unaltered vintage chest with a high resale value, while others may find that a newly painted or altered chest is perfect for their design desires.


Research the Value

While this may not always be possible, consumers can confirm the value of a piece by looking for the maker's stamp. Even if the brand of the chest is unfamiliar, a quick search can inform them of the potential worth of the piece. While this may not be of immediate significance to consumers just looking for unique decor items, researching the potential value can prevent consumers from drastically altering a prized vintage piece. Research can also show consumers if the cost of their potential purchase matches the industry value of that particular piece, preventing the consumer from paying more than the item is worth.


Evaluate Damage

While normal wear and tear of vintage items is expected, consumers should inspect the piece carefully before purchase. Vintage furniture pieces retaining their original hardware often have a higher value that those with replacement parts. If the chest is wooden, buyers should carefully look for brittle wood, as it can indicate dry rot, compromising the structural integrity of the piece. If the chest has any stains on the side and or bottom, this can indicate water damage, preventing the chest from bearing much weight. For chests with locks, consumers should be sure to check the structure of the lock, ensure the seller has a key, and test the key in the lock before purchase. Without testing the lock, consumers may end up purchasing an antique chest with a faulty lock that either does not open or lock properly.

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