Trying to determine the worth of your vintage mirror? We’ll discuss the several factors that determine a vintage mirror’s worth in this article.
A vintage mirror has the power to completely change a space. With their intricately carved frames and gorgeous glass, vintage mirrors, whether they are wall or over mantel models, have a certain allure.
Before contemporary times, only the wealthiest could afford huge mirrors, making them emblems of pride and luxury.
How can you determine the worth of a vintage mirror? Starting by matching the mirror to its time period is a smart idea.
A Brief History of Vintage Mirrors
As early as 8,000 years ago, mirrors as we know them were constructed of naturally occurring volcanic glass.
In the following few hundred years, a vast range of styles developed as a result of advancements in glassmaking technique during the Middle Ages.
Among the Characteristics of Many Vintage Mirrors by Era Are These:
- Gothic: Oak frames, ornate carvings, and an arch form were frequent features of Gothic mirrors.
- Baroque: Gold or silver gilding was frequently used on frames.
- Rococo: The frames were frequently gilded, ornate, and quite hefty and were made of walnut or mahogany wood.
- Neoclassical: While frames still featured gilding, they typically had simpler motifs.
- Georgian: A broader variety of colors and forms were used for the frames; swing mirrors, for instance, were quite popular.
- Regency: Architectural columned frames, carved eagles on the top, and leaf designs were all common features of gold-gilded objects.
- Victorian: Over mantel mirrors were popular, and their elaborate frames were frequently constructed of metal as well as darker woods like rosewood.
A mirror will be simpler to value if you assign it to a specific time period. To learn more about the history of mirrors, be sure to read more about it.
The Value of Vintage Mirrors as Influenced by Scarcity
As one might anticipate, the value of a mirror increases with age.
However, older mirrors are frequently more likely to exhibit wear and tear.
However, the older the mirror, the rarer it is likely to be, and as a result, the more desirable it should be to collectors.
Older antique mirrors typically fetch higher prices as a result.
The Mirror’s Back.
- Verify if the mirror’s backing is made of wood. If so, that’s a good thing because most old-fashioned mirrors had wooden backings.
- A paper-based mirror backing, on the other hand, is not a good indication and is likely unlikely to be vintage at all.
- If you’re lucky, you might be able to detect some markings that reveal the mirror’s manufacturing date on the rear.
- There can be a maker’s or producer’s name, a date, a logo, or an etched label.
State of the Glass and Price of a Vintage Mirror
- Contrary to popular belief, color flaws in the glass should increase the value of the vintage mirror.
- Over time, the mercury oxidizes, resulting in foggy spots or blotches on the surface or close to the edges.
- The glass may have ‘bubbles’ on the surface and should have a somewhat gray or yellow hue.
- The mirror’s flaws serve as evidence that it is ancient, which increases value. In contrast, flawless glass indicates that the mirror is most likely contemporary.
- But glass damage caused by humans, such as cracks, could make a vintage mirror less valuable.
- The mirror frame itself should also provide some hints about its age, as the style may be indicative .
- Due to the fact that antique mirrors were handmade, the frame may have flaws.
- A more contemporary, less valuable mirror will not have a flawless, mass-produced frame.
- The frame should exhibit some signs of wear and tear, much like the glass, but again, cracks may lower the value.
How Old Must a Mirror Be to Qualify as a Vintage?
Like other antiques for sale today, 100 years is the cutoff point between an object like vintage and being a true vintage.
This group includes mirrors that have been mass-produce since the early 20th century. In spite of the fact that they don’t technically qualify as antiques, mirrors that are seven or eight decades old are still antique.
The age of vintage mirrors ranges from 20 to 100 years.
How Can I Determine a Mirror’s Age?
The more inconsistent a mirror’s reflection is, the older it is. While there are often obvious indications of aging, such as spots, older mirrors also have a tendency to become less rigid.
Older vintage mirrors are often significantly thicker than those created in the second half of the nineteenth century. To determine the depth of the mirror and, thus, a hint as to its age, look at the edge.
In some situations, the frame of the mirror will also reveal hints regarding age. Look for the maker’s name and aging indicators like scuffs, which you would anticipate seeing on older mirrors.
Remember that no technique is perfect, so use your best judgment rather than trying to establish the age of a certain mirror.
What Qualities Should You Check for in a Vintage Mirror?
You should, first and foremost, search for the kinds of antique mirrors that most appeal to you.
The rarity of antique mirrors tends to increase their value. Simply put, older mirrors are more desirable simply because there are fewer of them.
Look for beveled edges around the glass if you want to find indicators of durability and quality. These were more time and labor intensive to construct, demonstrating the superior quality of the mirror. They also give mirrors more strength, which is advantageous if you want one that will endure or end up as a family treasure.
Vintage mirrors are susceptible to fractures, scratches, oxidation, and chips. Unless they are severe or compromise the mirror’s structural integrity, these characteristics tend to lend it an ancient flavor and shouldn’t deter you.
How long do mirrors last?
The earliest instances of vintage mirrors date back to the late 1600s, and they can be hundreds of years old.
Older glass-based mirrors are usually spherical and convex, so when you gaze into them, you don’t get a true likeness.
If a mirror dates back even further, it was probably made of polished metal and isn’t a genuine mirror in the sense we use today.
Our final piece of advice is to keep an eye out for replicas while attempting to determine the value of an antique mirror.
Looking to purchase a vintage mirror? Always shop from reliable antique dealers; that have to have positive evaluations and belong to reputable associations.