Thailand is a popular destination for shoppers of genuine Thai antiques. The craftsmanship, the quality and the uniqueness of Thai antiques attract collectors from all over the world. It is not hard to find shops and boutiques selling antiques in Bangkok, but the challenge lies in spotting the genuine Thai antiques from amongst all those reproductions. Here are some tips to help you distinguish which ones are real and which ones are not.
Spotting fake antiques or reproductions
Check the price. Antiques are generally expensive because they are objects of high value. If the price is cheaper than you think it should be, ask the dealer. No dealer will make the mistake of pricing an antique too cheaply, and so if he insists that price is correct then it’s almost certainly not genuine. If unsure, inspect the artifact and do some research before buying.
Look at the whole collection. If the item you are eyeing has various examples then you should start being skeptical. Check to see if the item can be found in other antique shops or boutiques. Most likely, the ones you are seeing are reproductions.
It would be helpful to do as much research as you can on genuine Thai antiques, reproductions, etc. There are many resources online to get information from. The best way to prepare is by doing your homework first.
Inspect the antique. Be wary of details. For example, inspect the whole furniture. Is the design consistent with the whole ensemble? Is the piece a part of a larger set? Are the wear and tear marks located at the expected places? The wear and tear marks should be consistent with how particular furniture should have been used.
Look at the back and the underside of the furniture. If there are signs of varnish, paint or stains then be suspicious. The areas that are not supposed to be seen have no reason to be varnished or painted.
Where to find genuine Thai antiques
For a variety of antique shops to choose from, go to the River City Shopping Complex. The 3rd and 4th floors are filled with antique dealers, boutiques and shops. Some specialize in rare maps, textile, ceramics, furniture etc. For a larger collection that includes genuine Thai antiques and antiques from other Asian countries as well, visit the Old Siam Trading Company. Its collection dates back to the 1800s!