Tips on buying reproductions

Washington Post
Friday, April 14, 2017

What do look for in buying reproductions:

Original furniture should come from licensed dealers, and there is usually only one or two licensed dealers per country.

Original dealers pay for licensing and are proud of their status, meaning they will make it clear that they are licensed to sell originals. If there is any doubt, it’s unlikely that you’re dealing with the right company.

Originals should have a label or logo from the licensed dealer. Although there are lots of reproductions out there, few proactively try to trick consumers into thinking that they are buying from the licensed dealer.

The price is the biggest indication. Reproductions tend to cost far less than originals – half to one-tenth of the price. If the cost is too good to be true, then that means it’s too good to be true.

Reproductions cut costs by using cheaper materials (plastic vs. fiberglass, engineered wood vs. solid). Always ask about materials and compare the feel to originals.

If you are buying reproductions where it is legal to do so (such as in the United States), visit a licensed dealer to carefully examine originals so you have a point of comparison.

Quality furniture is made of as few pieces as possible. Bad reproductions are less comfortable, and the feel is more rigid.

Hardware such as bolts and screws should be metal, not plastic.

Never buy a reproduction without seeing it in person. A common trick is to use photographs of the original to sell a reproduction on a website. But when you order it, what you receive only vaguely matches the photo of what you thought you were getting.