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Posted By Inktiques / Michelle Greysen
The pros and cons in whether to restore your antique treasure or to preserve it in its current condition is a decision to not make in haste keeping in mind that often in the antique world less is more. Many times the original condition, no matter how ragged it might seem may bring the greatest value. Other times a repair or restoration may increase the value.
The decision to restore, refinish or preserve your antique is often a personal one and directly relates to the piece itself. It could be a historic family piece which will remain in the family and worth preserving the item. It may also simply be an investment piece and the owner may be looking to get the best value from their antique investment in a future resell scenario.
This decision can only be made by you but the knowledge and advice should come from professionals such as a trusted dealer, a museum conservation curator, a major auction house or a respected specialist in the area of your item in question. Typically restoration will involve some repair and cleaning but a refinishing is much more drastic as it would strip away original stains and resins and most times greatly reduce original condition value.
A solid survey of the piece in question and a good cleaning will help determine the extent of any work you may want to consider. Cosmetically some blemishes can be easily repaired with great success at a low cost such as stains, burns or water marks. Although these can be removed the idea of an antique is not necessarily to be in original mint pristine condition. After all, the item is 100 years old and patinas and worn away paint will speak to the age actually becoming part of the true valuing process.
Missing handles or hardware should be replaced with original materials of the era and not modern reproductions as that will also negatively affect the value. In the case of a restoration which should ultimately bring it greater value, the work will need to be done by a qualified professional and not by unskilled hands at home.
The idea is to restore the item to as original condition as possible using as many original products as possible to carry out the work. Ask what materials will be used for the work and do not be afraid to get a second professional opinion as to the glues or resins in question to determine that the proposed plan of action will actually increase the value and not decrease the quality.

The cost of the restoration must also come under close scrutiny determining if indeed the dollars spent will proportionately increase the value of the antique. In determining the full cost of any work, consider also the delivery charges as well as storage and insurance during the work. Do get  it all in writing with a proper claim check slip before turning over your treasure to ensure a smooth process and a safe return of your restored and hopefully increased in value antique.

Another point of restoration is the ability for the work to be reversed. A qualified restoration service should offer this possibility and confirm a cost to reverse the restoration if indeed it proves down the road the original condition would garner the highest values.




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