How to Identify Authentic Mid Century Furniture

Rare Danish Mid Century Bureau / Secretary by Arne Wahl Iversen for Vinde Møbelfabrik

Identifying authentic mid century furniture can be a challenging task for buyers and collectors, especially with the popularity of vintage and retro styles. Here are some tips to help you distinguish genuine mid century pieces from reproductions or imitations:

Familiarise Yourself with Designers and Manufacturers:

 - Research renowned mid century furniture designers such as Ercol, Ausinsuite, Alfred Cox, Charles and Ray Eames, Florence Knoll and others.
- Learn about prominent mid century furniture manufacturers like Herman Miller, Knoll International, Danish Furniture Makers and others.

Examine Materials and Construction:

- Mid century furniture often uses high-quality materials such as teak, rosewood, walnut, and other hardwoods. Look for solid wood construction rather than veneers.
- Pay attention to craftsmanship and joinery techniques. mid century pieces typically feature clean lines, organic shapes, and minimal ornamentation.
- Check for signs of hand craftsmanship such as dovetail joints, hand-carved details, and smooth finishes.

Study Design Characteristics:

- Mid century furniture is known for its iconic designs, which often incorporate sleek, geometric forms, tapered legs, and innovative use of materials.
- Look for signature design elements such as the Eames Lounge Chair's molded plywood shell or the Saarinen Tulip Chair's sculptural base.
- Avoid pieces with overly ornate or elaborate detailing, as these are more likely to be reproductions or later interpretations of mid century style.

Inspect Labels and Markings:

- Authentic mid century furniture may feature manufacturer labels, marks, or stamps indicating the designer, manufacturer, and production date.
- Look for labels from reputable companies like Ercol, Alfred Cox, Herman Miller, Knoll, or Danish furniture makers. Be wary of missing or illegible labels, as these could be signs of reproduction.

Assess Condition and Patina:

- Genuine mid century furniture often shows signs of wear consistent with its age, such as minor scratches, dents, or fading.
- Evaluate the condition of the piece carefully, but also consider that some wear and patina can enhance its authenticity and character.
- Beware of overly pristine or "perfect" looking pieces, as these may have been artificially aged or restored to mimic genuine vintage furniture.

Seek Expert Opinion:

 If you're uncertain about the authenticity of a piece, consider seeking the advice of an experienced antique dealer, appraiser, or furniture specialist.
- Online forums and communities dedicated to mid century design can also be valuable resources for obtaining expert opinions and guidance.

By combining knowledge of mid century design principles with careful observation and scrutiny, you can improve your ability to identify authentic mid century furniture and make informed purchasing decisions.

Mid Century & Vintage Furniture – & VNTG