What are some things to remember to help pick out a vintage item instead of a reproduction?

We have all been there before at some point—you find an item that you are looking for, and it has a price that you can afford.  The only problem is is that it’s a reproduction.  What are some tips that you can use to help you identify a real item instead a reproduction?

The first thing to remember is that age and wear can be faked.  One example is that linens can be soaked in coffee or tea to age them.  Another is that furniture can have wear added to it by hitting it with a heavy item over and over (like a chain) or using a sander to help add wear.

There are also times when reproduction Depression glass will have a different color than the real deal—I have seen reproduction pink have a kind of orange hue to it and a reproduction green that is too light.  I have also seen a pattern made in a color that it was ever issued originally (like the pattern ADAM by Jeanette Glass in Forest Green).

The Second thing to remember is to look at your surroundings and ask yourself a couple of questions.  Is there a large amount of the same item in one booth?  Is there plenty of the same item throughout the place you are shopping?  Is the item that you are looking for that is rare suddenly become plentiful?  All of these questions will help aid you in determining if the item you are interested in is the real deal.

The third thing to remember is to arm yourself with as much knowledge as possible.  One thing to do is to read as many reference guides as possible.  Another is to look at auction catalogs if possible—I have seen some tell a brief description on what makes the item for sale the real deal.  I also have seen vintage ads for items that I am interested in (this helps me determine a real item from a reproduction because the company used a photo of the item in the ad so I could compare the ad to the item).

This is just a couple of things to remember when I am trying to pick out the reproduction.  What tricks or tips have you heard of?

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Two simple steps to help spot a real piece of Depression glass from a fake

So you are out at an antique mall, estate sale or even an auction.  While there, you happen to run across a piece of Depression glass.  The piece that you’re looking at doesn’t have any damage on it, but how do you know that it’s the real deal?

When I’m in this situation, I usually use two simple steps to help me determine if the piece is real or fake.  The first thing that I do is to look at the color on it.  There are slight color variations on a real piece, these variations are just going to be a little darker or lighter on the piece.

On a piece of pink Depression glass, a reproduction will more likely have an orange pink hue to it (it’s really obvious).  With a piece that’s green, the reproductions that I have seen tend to go real dark.  I have seen forest green on a piece of ADAM Depression glass.  So if it’s off (especially for the pattern that’s on the piece), it’s a good idea to question it.

The second step that I use is to look at the pattern.  Even though Depression glass was given away quite a bit when it was first made, the glassware still had high quality to it.  What this means is that the pattern is easily recognizable, and there are no missing details to it.  A reproduction may be missing the veins in the leaves of a flower, or the beak on a bird is not as pointed.

A reproduction will sometimes be rushed through, and the pattern will show the crudeness.

So be aware—the fine details will help you determine if the piece of Depression glass will be real or fake.

What kinds of tricks do you use to help determine if you have a real piece of glassware?