Like wine, furniture develops character with age. And American and English antiques are not only getting better, they're also becoming more affordable. Designs inspired by the two Toms (Chippendale and Sheraton) and crafted for the gentry more than 200 years ago are now available at general-public prices. "There's never been a better time to buy antiques," says Antiques Roadshow expert Leigh Keno.
When age-old mahogany sideboards, slant-front desks, and game tables hit the auction block, bidders don't lift a finger. "Flat screen TVs killed the market for armoires," notes a New York auction-house expert. "Some forms have fallen out of favor," concurs Leigh, pointing out that slant-front desks can't accommodate computers. "There's also a shift in taste," he adds. (The twin pillars of the antiques world, the brothers also collect mid-century modern furniture and limited-edition designs.)
Antiques addicts rejoice-it's a buyers market. "Buyers on a budget can afford originals," says Leslie Keno, a senior vice president at Sotheby's.
Some striking recent examples follow.
By Doris Athineos
Produced by Leigh Keno and Leslie Keno