An Antique Bookcase is a Beautiful Addition to Any Library or Office

Whether you are looking for something to store your reference materials in an office with mostly classic furniture or want to store your collection of texts and reading materials in a traditional library at home, an antique bookcase is a beautiful solution.


Though most older items contain quite a bit of carving or detail, not all items are alike and can be made by designers who have used very distinct construction details. Bookshop owners should always consider keeping an antique bookcase in the shop. Not only will it show off your nicer books but they can be sold as well, with a nice markup of course.

walnut antique bookcaseBefore you begin looking for such an item, you should decide what type of wood and finish you are looking for. This will help you save time in searching the most appropriate places for the ideal item. Mahogany is generally a moderately dark wood with a deep red tone. It is a very rich looking finish and a distinct wood grain, with variations that range from the red tones to very dark or deep striations. When finished and cared for properly, items of this wood will provide a rich look to any room.

Though mahogany is a common wood used in an older antique bookcase, walnut is also very commonly found. It lacks the deep red tones, though the wood is also a moderately dark one in the medium browns, with a slightly red tint. This wood lacks the variations in color, with less pronounced variations in the grain, for a more even tone. This finish is also very attractive for spaces that consist of classic decor.

There are many different styles used in older furniture. Shelves in a Queen Anne style usually include legs that gently curve outward called a cabriolet. Other styles include straight legs and fewer design details. There are many items made from the 1920’s to 1940’s that use the barrister style still found in many products available today. Though they do not include much detail, they are all made with the common feature of glass doors that lift and slide backward, into the top of the shelf space.

When you have decided what style you would like, you can begin your searching be browsing through local antiques shops or by looking at estate sales. Many local newspapers provide details such as date, time, address and items for sale. You may even find an occasional older piece at a local auction. Many products are available online from dealers and other stores though these prices may be on the higher side of the range.

If you are considering purchasing one of these lovely items online, make sure the piece can be authenticated by a reputable dealer or professional, who will know exactly how to inspect such items to make sure they are genuine. Such professionals can also provide a fairly accurate date or age of the piece and will provide an estimated value.
This gives you a good idea if the seller is asking a fair price.

In general, prices for an antique bookcase can range from $300 to several thousand, depending on age, wood type and the manufacturer. Those which were produced inoak bookcaselimited numbers may cost much more than others. The age and condition of the piece also determine what it is worth and what you should pay.

Good luck in your hunting.

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  • I prefer the mahogany with its “deeper red tones” as you put it. Just seems more authentically antique and grand. When I got antique… I want to be awed and mahogany does that for me. Great article!

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