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Kovel's Guide to Selling Your Antiques and Collectibles
by Ralph and Terry Kovel

In this handy guide, the Kovels offer advice on selling a variety of antiques and collectibles in 75 categories, all arranged in alphabetical order. They discuss everything from where’s the market to appraisals to the proper procedures for a house sale and dealing with auction houses.                More Books

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Chairs, Chairs and More Chairs 
by Bob Brooke

A simple painted child's chair.Today, people take chairs for granted. There are so many kinds and styles that it’s often hard to choose which ones to use. But before chairs came into their own in the 15th Century, stools, about the height of a chair seat, were even more common. They were made in great numbers and doubled as seats and tables, especially in the homes of common folk.

Chairs of all kinds became more important than stools because the new styles transformed them into movable, decorative furniture instead of simple seats.

Side chairs and armchairs, which were really side chairs with wood arms attached, offered little choice when it came to comfort. In addition to solid backs, there were slat-back chairs, which had three or more wide and usually shaped wooden pieces horizontally across the back. The banister-back chair had fairly wide vertical slats surmounted by a crest or top rail. Some of these top rails, as well as the banisters, were more richly carved than others.

The latter part of the 17th Century, technically known as the Restoration period in England, brought forth lighter and more adaptable chairs. Special turnings, scrolled and more elaborate stretchers, became fashionable. Decorations expanded to include lacquer, marguetry, and some inlay.The wing chair appeared before 1700. It was probably the first comfortable one and certainly the first upholstered one. The wings attached to the frame of the back served the same purpose as hangings on a bed--that is, they cut off drafts. Earlier, settees had been no more than wood benches with arms and backs. Between 1660 and 1690, sofas began to have covered arms and backs.

A Chippendale chair in the Queen Anne style.From this time forward, to identify the period to which side chairs or armchairs belong, the characteristics of certain parts must be noted. The shape of the front legs, also the back legs, and the kind of feet were usually typical. Stretchers and their placement are almost as important. Stretchers disappeared during some periods–-the Queen Anne chairs designed by Thomas Chippendale, for instance. The back of a chair and particularly the vertical or horizontal pieces or splats and the crest rail were subject to many changes, and are perhaps easiest to keep in mind.

A radically different style of chair appeared during the Queen Anne period that was called the corner or roundabout chair. This had a low back that encircled two sides of the seat, the latter placed diagonally so that it formed a right-angled corner. All chairs had a softly curving structure, for they were shaped to fit the body. Side chairs and wooden armchairs often had a high, shaped back with one wide, vase-shaped splat.

To read more articles by Bob Brooke, please visit his Web site.

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CARING FOR YOUR COLLECTIONS
An occasional feature about caring for your antiques and collectibles.

ANTIQUES TO VIEW
A new feature showcasing outstanding museums where you can see unusual antiques.

No antiques or collectibles
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How to Recognize and Refinish Antiques for Pleasure and Profit

Book: How to Recognizing and Refinishing Antiques for Pleasure and Profit
Have you ever bought an antique or collectible that was less than perfect and needed some TLC? Bob's new book offers tips and step-by- step instructions for simple maintenance and restoration of common antiques.

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