Furniture Consignment Gallery Blog

The "Reasonable" Offer

Posted by Jay Frucci on Fri, April 13, 2012 @ 10: 25 AM

TempleMarket22Oct20115"I would accept a reasonable offer on the altar table." The gentleman - and potential consignor - indicated with a sweep of his hand on the long, rectangular table in his living room. The piece was clearly old, but it was rough-hewn and lacking any ornamentation.

     Curious, I asked him what he would consider reasonable. "A good offer would be twelve thousand," the man said firmly, "and a reasonable offer would be six thousand." 

     I gulped. Would that be in dollars or peanuts? I thought. I quickly squelched the comment, because I knew he wasn't joking.

     Asian furniture occupies a special niche in the consignment business. China is an ancient country, and treasured possessions such as porcelain and furniture typically have been passed down from generation to generation. In this case, the eight-foot altar table was more than two hundred years old. Its construction and workmanship suggested it had been built during the mid-Qing Dynasty, China's last dynasty, which ruled from 1644 to 1912.

     How did the table get to Boston? The gentleman's mother had been a pioneer of Asian-influenced interior design who had visited China frequently to scour that country for antiques after it opened to the West in the early 1970s. Some of her most important pieces had been consigned to the Boston Design Center, where showrooms had built vignettes around items she had collected in Japan, Korea and China.

      Her son had inherited some of her favorite pieces, including the altar table. While it wasn't as rare or exquisite as something you might see in the Shanghai Museum, it was beautiful for its history and provenance. Yet the price he was seeking was still astounding - at least for our customers.

     Sentimentality sometimes creates a fog ofgr 001 528x421 confusion for consignors when it comes to the value of their furniture. In this consignor's mind, the altar table may have represented his mother's adventurous spirit in venturing into a place as economically chaotic and primitive as China in the 1970s. Or the table may have been a reminder of her celebrated career as the doyenne of Chinese-inspired décor in Boston.

     But our buyers wouldn't see those things in this rough table and we couldn't command the price he was asking. We agreed that Furniture Consignment Gallery wasn't the right place to sell the table, and we parted as friends. In leaving, I offered him some advice. Antique stores that specialize in Asian furniture attract knowledgeable connoisseurs. After visiting with some specialty stores his pricing expectations could be validated or he may find that he would need to reset them. They would at least appreciate his altar table - and the story of the woman who launched it on its long journey to the U.S. Secretly I was hoping he would decide otherwise and give us a chance.

Topics: Price My Furniture, Chinese Antiques, Ancient, alter, Furniture Consignment Boston, Furniture Consignment Hanover, Furniture Consignment Newton, Antique furniture, Furniture quality, Furniture Consignment Gallery in Hanover, Solid Wood, Furniture Consignment, Furniture Style, Furniture Consignment Gallery Newton, Furniture Care, Furniture History, China

Furniture Effects on Air Quality: Guest Post by Phyllis Traver

Posted by Jay Frucci on Sat, November 13, 2010 @ 08: 25 AM

Did you know that natural wood furniture is better for your indoor air quality?350px Air .pollution 1 resized 600


Laminates, plastics, and other synthetic materials may negatively affect the natural ion balance.  Symptoms of unbalanced ions include dizziness, fatigue, headaches and anxiety.  Unbalanced ions can also generate static electricity that cause particles to suspend in the air, aggravating respiratory disorders.                  

Wooden Four Post Bed

         Solid Mahogany Dining Table

In contrast, natural wood does not negatively affect the ion balance and has the added benefit of balancing humidity.


Mahogany Server

Unsealed wood is hygroscopic, i.e. it can absorb excess moisture during periods of high humidity or, conversely, release moisture in dry conditions. Humidity control is important in minimizing viruses, bacteria, mites, and mold, all of which can affect the state of your health.

Pre-owned furniture is more likely made at a time when solid woods were used. 

Today there are many cheap imitations that use composite board or laminated surfaces that incorporate unhealthy components, Laminate bookcase resized 600such as adhesives that emit toxic gases at room temperature.  These gases can adhere to suspended particles, as well as float freely in the air, and are linked to asthma, allergies, and respiratory ailments.

 Phyllis Traver, Building Biology Environmental Consultant, owner of Safe & Sound Home, LLC,  scientifically helps homeowners to create healthy indoor environments.  Phyllis has bought and Sold Furniture at Furniture Consignment Gallery.  You can reach her at 

Topics: Natural Wood, Solid Wood

Nothing beats the Beds of the 1920s

Posted by Jay Frucci on Fri, October 29, 2010 @ 05: 08 PM

Bed sizes have evolved quite a bit over the last few centuries. As homes have become larger, rooms have expanded and naturally bed sizes have followed suit.  It wouldn't be America if bigger wasn't better.  I upgraded to a King Bed myself.  Though we all desire more sleeping space and mattress surface area, nothing beats the beds that were made in the 1920s - 1940s. 

Mahogany Full Bed

These beds are solid as a rock and super sturdy. Most of them take a standard size full bed and you can even get an inexpensive converter kit that will extend the length and width of your bed so that it can accpet a Queen Mattress.  

Solid Mahogany Full BedSome great qualities of the beds built in this era are:

  • They were built of solid woods such as Solid mahogany or Rock Maple.
  • The decorative detail was often created by hand.
  • They are made to last and have almost outlived one generation and will likely outlive another.
  • They are very affordable as they sell for between $300 - $1,200 depending on condition and style.
Tiger Maple Full Bed
Beds from this era may not be the bed of choice for your master bedroom, but, I bet one of these beds would fit great in most any other room in your home. Perfect for a guest room or a growing child.  These beds add elegance, beauty and long lasting quality to any home.

Topics: Value of Your Furniture, Furniture quality, Solid Mahogany, Solid Wood

Inlaid Wood Veneer: Imposters vs. The Real Thing

Posted by Jay Frucci on Fri, September 03, 2010 @ 01: 55 PM

Once a trademark of a fine piece of furniture, the inlay that furniture enthusiasts seek and love has been insulted by modern manufacturing techniques and manufacturers.  The contrasting wood grains with various inlays are being done with photo finishes and weak veneers.  Low-end manufacturers have been luring uneducated consumers with fancy looks that quickly transform into a mess in the home.

    Fake inlay        Fake Inlay 2

The side effect from the cheap inlay is that the consumer has grown used to seeing contrasting wood colors and grains and, as a result, prefers that look. 

The problem is the basic, but solid Queen Anne cherry and double pedastal mahogany tables are suffering a bit on the resale market and it's not right.  Consumers want the fancy look, but don't realize that the cheap inlays lift, smudge, crack and do not wear well.  For the last 10 years, the big box furniture stores have found a product that connects with the uneducated furniture buyer.  However, after a few years and the signs of a poor quality surface, consumers are licking their wounds and finding their way.  A solid, but basic, traditional table will give you a classic look and a table that will withstand the test of time.

        uimg 8929           uIMG 3070 resized 600

It may be frustrating that your dining room suddenly resembles that of your mother's or your grandmother's, but it will last. And the best part of all, is that it will hold value and help you to buy a real table with wonderful veneers and inlays that boast genuine satin, walnut and ebony woods. 

            uIMG 3833     uIMG 3831 

Save for the real thing and buy a high-end table with the banded inlay you have always wanted, but buy it on consignment when your budget is ready.  It will be well worth the wait!

Topics: Value of Your Furniture, Solid Wood, Inlay, Wood inlay