Out With the New and in with the Old

Why Buy Antique and Vintage Furniture

21/11/2022     Furniture

Antique, vintage, and period style furniture is sought after for its unique character, exceptional craftmanship and high-quality materials. It’s dual function as an item of artistic value and functionality gives it a special place within our homes.

Over the years we have seen the market for vintage and antique furniture fluctuate greatly, enduring years of steep decline mainly due to mass-production. However, with the arrival of covid-19 and an increase in time spent at home, the market for second hand furniture began to grow again. Many homeowners sought to change the place they suddenly found themselves spending every waking moment. They sought to add charm and character to their homes.

So why has there been a resurgence of interest in antique and vintage furniture? There is a changing attitude towards shopping second-hand which has several attributing factors. Firstly, we have inevitably become more environmentally aware of the effects fast fashion, and in this case, fast furniture, has on the planet. Modern mass-produced furniture often contains a toxic colourless gas called formaldehyde. It is found in the paints, lacquers and adhesives used to make modern furniture and causes health issues for humans. It is also a serious environmental polluter when this furniture subsequently ends up in landfills.                                      

A statistic from the Environmental Protection Agency states that over 12 million tons of furniture gets dumped in the US every year. This is proof of the short life span of modern mass-produced furniture, which on average gets thrown away every 15 years compared to antique and second-hand furniture which has an average life span of 30 years before it is passed on to another home. This is mainly due to their high levels of durability because they were made using high quality hard woods.

Another important factor pushing people to go for second-hand furniture is the authenticity attached to each piece. A lot of antique and vintage furniture is hand crafted and are original pieces which stand out against the rather mundane look of something which has been mass-produced.

This November we have a wonderful selection of period furniture ranging from a George III mahogany Irish double drop leaf occasional/ centre table (Lot 543) to a Fine pair of 20th century Louis XIV style serpentine topped bow fronted Commodes, with inlaid kingwood marquetry floral decoration, two fitted long drawers raised over cabriole supports with applied ormolu mounts (Lot 539)


Also featuring as lot 546 is a beautiful Victorian shaped rectangular breakfront credenza cabinet, with inlaid burr walnut and ebonised detailing. The centre door inset with a porcelain Limoges oval figurative panel flanked by curved glass door ends with fitted shelving. Applied ormolu mounts and tapered ebonised columns flank the main centre door, and the entire piece is raised on turned tapered bun feet. It truly is a spectacular piece of craftsmanship.


Throughout our monthly auctions you can find a multitude of different items of furniture. We mostly offer smaller pieces such as hall tables, desks, credenzas, console tables, chairs, occasional furniture and mirrors, amongst other items. With a lovely variety of fine quality furniture, O’Reilly’s is a great place to start if you are considering selling or buying antique, vintage and period furniture.

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