I Paid A Fortune For A Fake Antique Thanks To My Ignorance

Love antiques? That’s great. But beware, all that glitters is not gold. Learned that the hard way, and it wasn’t even my first purchase. Since, I do my homework or I do not buy. And I only trust few antique stores Melbourne; you know what they say, “A burnt child dreads the fire”.

I really don’t know how this happened; I can’t remember when was the last time I bought something from an antique store in Melbourne so recklessly without doing my research and planning on the item first. I was like ‘Oh, here’s a nice coffee table, let me ask about it‘ and once the woman in the store carefully analyzed me and realized I was so much interested in it, she got me with her story “not just that this table is so good looking, it’s a rare antique. It has a long history and it comes from the Russian Royal family of Romanov. It was brought to Australia by some of their long-distance relatives, which is why it has such high price. It really is a valuable piece‘.

I have no idea how I fell for all this, but I did buy the table, and was deeply convinced it was an antique. I carefully placed it at the back of my car and hurried back home to find a suitable place for my new object of design worship. While driving back home, I was thinking about what my mum would say about my new treasure: “Why are you buying antiques, the world moves forward and you’re going backwards!” I started giggling, because she doesn’t understand antiques like I do: antique pieces are built from high-quality materials that will not be used for mass produced pieces; they are built to last and that is what makes them such a worthy investment. Plus, they have history, a spirit attached to them, which is even more attractive from my perspective.

I placed my new antique coffee table in front of the huge glass walls facing the backyard and added two sofa chairs made with wooden elements to create a place where me and my hubby would take our morning coffee before he goes to work. I decorated my new morning coffee area with some nice pillows and cozy blankets and like I always do, stepped a few meters back to see the whole picture. Something instantly alarmed my designer sense. The table did not have that oldish, kind of damaged, cracked look that antiques have; something I completely forgot to take into account while I was at the store, blinded by the overall beauty of the table. Unfortunately, I’m not an expert in forgery. I immediately took my laptop and started searching for the table. The seller was quite clear: “ An antique coffee table from the Romanov Dynasty period that was worth the cost “ and it was quite a cost!

So, my research started by searching for the piece in all antique stores Melbourne listed as such. Imagine my rage when I could not find anything with the words Romanov and coffee table. I was furious! That much money for a coffee table I could have made on my own?! Oh, the disappointment.

However, I could not go back since they had ‘no-return policy’ regardless whether you have been cheated or not. Plus, it was not their mistake; it was all mine and they simply took advantage of it. So, before doing such a mistake as I did, beware. For that reason, here are a few guidelines to keep in mind when buying antiques.

First of all, follow your heart, but take your brain with you! If you like a piece, make a plan where are you going to place it, what are you going to decorate it with and how are you going to use it, and then:

  • Check it! A quality antique piece would normally be taken good care of: no broken parts, no intentional cracks and definitely no stains!
  • Provenance. I guess I was so into my sudden idea of how I’m going to create my morning coffee-love-area with this table that I completely forgot to ask for the documentation of the table: a receipt containing info such as where it was bought from, to whom it belonged and similar. The story of Romanov sounded so great I did not bother to check the facts. After all, Russia is so far away I supposed it was all true.

So ladies, as an interior designer and from this personal,very expensive experience, I kindly and very friendly advise you to be very prepared when you go antique shopping. Don’t get confused, it’s something you should do with a plan and a solid research up front so you don’t get fooled like I did.