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A lacquer or varnish finish is a sure sign of later manufacture.
Primarily because so many of us naturally do what’s most important when collecting antique furniture. Most antique furniture tends to be purchased by ordinary everyday people, rather than dedicated antique furniture collectors.
In other words, more vintage furniture is acquired for its beauty and function rather than the profit potential of a piece.
But whether you are looking for a piece of antique furniture for your home or looking for something to sell on; to become knowledgeable about identifying antique furniture takes research.
The finish on furniture, made before 1860, is usually shellac; if the piece is very old, it may be oil, wax, or milk paint.
Fine old works are often French-polished, a variation of the shellac finish.