Tips for Buying (and Living with) Antiques from Keil's Antiques, a Third-Generation Antiques Dealer
Buying antiques can be an intimidating and challenging task. “The City That Care Forgot,” as New Orleans is often called, is one of the best hunting grounds for antiques in the world. Not surprisingly, shoppers there can expect a healthy portion of Southern hospitality along with first-rate expertise to make the antiques shopping experience delightful and educational.
Keil’s Antiques on famed Royal Street in the heart of the historic French Quarter is one of the prime antiques establishments in the city. Andrée Moss, who with her three children runs the shop founded by her grandmother over 110 years ago (1899), offers the following tips for buying antiques:
· First rule of thumb: If you’re looking to invest money, you don’t listen to the first stockbroker who calls… you learn, seek information and then use your own judgment. Do the same with antiques.
· While flea markets and street fairs can be intriguing, be sure to buy from an established dealer who will stand behind his merchandise if you are dissatisfied or the items you purchased don’t turn out to be as described.
· Don’t settle. Be patient. Shop around as much as possible for that perfect Chippendale sideboard.
· It’s best not to fall prey to the seductive argument that a piece can be traded in later – that rarely works satisfactorily for either party.
· Buy the best quality and the best condition you can. The more expensive piece is not necessarily the best.
· Know if you are buying a reproduction. Classic 18th century French and English designs have never been improved upon. A piece made one hundred years ago in the 18th century style is often desirable, valuable and usable. A two hundred-year old original is extremely rare. It’s simply best to know what you are buying and what you are paying for.
· Be familiar with your basic terms. If you are interested in French furniture, for instance, know the difference between the light curves of a Louis XV chair and the rectangular shapes and heraldic decorations of an Empire period piece.
“Once you’ve done your shopping, it’s important to enjoy your purchases,” says Moss, the granddaughter of the founder. “Antiques can add a lot of character and distinction to an interior – either as an accent or the centerpiece.” Moss also points out that antiques don’t have to match perfectly, but can blend together to create a delightfully rich and eclectic interior. Adds Sherry Hayslip of Hayslip Design Associates in Dallas, a longtime customer of Keils: “Antiques set rooms apart. They keep them from looking as if they came from straight out of a department store.”
In terms of living with antiques, Moss recommends the following:
· Keep antiques out of harsh sunlight, which can damage fabrics and changing the color of woods.
· Dust and polish lightly with a soft cloth on an ongoing basis. Use lemon oil or natural waxes; stay away from acrylic sprays. A natural shellac or varnish breathes with old woods.
· The integrity of a piece should be preserved as best possible when making repairs. Be careful not to replace wood or hardware unnecessarily.
“Happy hunting!” says Moss as her last words of encouragement.
For more information on Keil’s Antiques, visit their website at www.keilsantiques.com.
Contact: Jeffrey Pipes Guice
Keil's Antiques, Inc.
325 Royal Street
New Orleans, Louisiana 70130
Jeffrey Pipes Guice