Whether your motivation is sentimental or just a matter of curiosity, determining whether a vase is a real antique is necessary to set up value, understand proper care and to get the piece insured. Five measures, ranging from inspecting the outside for distinguishing markings to consulting with a specialist, can help you pinpoint the approximate age of the vase.
Check the Bottom
Gently flip the vase above so you are looking straight at its bottom, and scan for distinguishing logos or signatures. Such marks frequently incorporate the name of the company that manufactured the vase, as well as the name of its designer or artist. This producer’s mark may be painted to the vase’s bottom or appear in the kind of an engraving. Because manufacturers diverse the signatures to symbolize unique decades, it is possible to research the corresponding year as soon as you discover a discernible producer’s mark.
Identify the Mark
Once you find it, you can usually recognize the producer’s mark working with an online search engine. A reverse picture search — where you upload a picture of this mark and the outcomes yield related images from all over the web — is beneficial in case you have trouble explaining the mark. Kovels and Antique Marks contain comprehensive listings of famous manufacturer’s marks.You can also inquire at the local bookstore or order an antique marks glossary, such as Miller’s Antique Marks.
Inspect the Informative
The proliferation of reproductions — also, unfortunately, counterfeits — can produce confusion when attempting to approximate the age of a vase. But you can search for many indicators to determine whether your vase is a unique. Since most genuinely old vases were created using wood-based kilns that lacked temperature controls, little alterations were inevitable. Alternately, modern gas-based kilns rely on mass production using moulds. As a result, variations and imperfections are unusual. Coarseness along the mould markers, crackling or bubbles in glass, asymmetry of shape along with a strong luster or iridescence are a couple of telltale signs that your vase is the real deal in lieu of a reproduction or forgery.
Try to find an Overmark
An overmark is just what it sounds like: a mark placed over the company’s original mark.To see whether your vase bears you, you will once more need to carefully flip it over and analyze the bottom. Smudging of the first producer’s mark is a common byproduct of the glazing process used to seal overmarks and, as such, hints at authenticity. Since this technique was used on vases made of 1880 to 1930, it is possible to date your vase to this range if you discover an overmark.
Receive an Appraisal
Because forgeries can be hard for the untrained eye to distinguish, the very foolproof way to discover if your vase is a real antique is to take it to a skilled expert from the antiques field. To find an appraiser in your area, visit the Appraisers Association of America site and click on the “Find an Appraiser” tab to search by name, location or specialization. You can even take your vase to a reputable antiques dealer, though seeking a licensed appraiser’s valuation ensures no conflict of interest exists — an appraiser cannot offer to purchase an item he or she appraised, unlike an antiques dealer.