Collectors and decorators covet Oriental carved wood furniture for its exotic beauty. Cabinets are especially valued because they offer an unusual and attractive way to hide household clutter. Oriental furniture is often made of unique materials, such as ironwood and teak, and features elaborate carvings done by skilled craftsmen. Such pieces are valuable additions to a home's decor Assessing the worth of an Oriental carved cabinet requires research and sometimes calls for the help of an expert.
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Check the condition. Much of the value of a piece of vintage furniture rests in its condition. You don't expect an older piece to be perfect, but too much damage can adversely influence its value. Because the carving is such an important part of the piece, examine it carefully for damage. Extensive cracks may be a sign that the cabinet was kept in an unstable location where the wood repeatedly expanded and contracted, damaging it. Look for pieces of carving that have been broken off. Check whether any restoration has been done to the carving. These also can lower the value of the cabinet.
Look for information about your piece. The more information you have about your cabinet, the easier it will be to appraise it. Search for a manufacturer's label or mark. Hunt for any paperwork that came with the furniture. If you inherited the piece, ask a relative what he or she can tell you about the cabinet, including where it might have been purchased. Use this information to helo you research your furniture in collectors' guides.
Consult price guides. Visit a bookstore or your local library for Oriental furnishings information and price guides. Even if you can't find an exact match to your cabinet, looking at how similar pieces are valued will help you get an idea of the worth of your furniture. Some examples of Oriental furniture collectors' guides are the "Antique Trader Oriental Antiques & Art: An Identification and Price Guide" by Mark Moran and "Miller's Buyer's Guide: Chinese & Japanese Antiques" by Mitchell Beazley.
Study the marketplace. Look at how resellers are pricing Oriental carved furniture. Search at online and brick-and-mortar stores for pieces that are comparable to yours in that they are from the same manufacturer, have the same style, or were crafted during the same time period. Seeing how these pieces are priced will aid you in determining an appraisal value for your cabinet.
Hire a professional appraiser. For a large collection of Oriental cabinets, or for a single piece that you suspect has a high value, it is a good idea to get a professional appraisal. An accredited appraiser can give you a written assessment of your furniture that can be used for insurance purposes. Consult associations such as the American Society of Appraisers or the International Society of Appraisers to find an appraiser who is an expert in Oriental furnishings.
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