First, do your homework in advance by reading and studying buying guides and auction sale lists for the type, manufacturer, and style of the furniture you are considering. When you find out the recent selling price of furniture you are interested in, you will gain a good understanding of the value of similar pieces that are currently for sale. Then, you can determine whether the price is something that makes sense.
Next, realize that there are two primary characteristics of an antique furniture piece that determine its value: Age and condition. Generally speaking, an older table or chair that is in pristine condition will fetch a higher price than a similar piece that is not as old or has scratches, dents, or stains. The good news though is that when you are looking to buy antique furniture that is not in mint condition, you have more negotiating room when talking price with the seller. So examine the piece carefully for flaws since this will help you come up with what you think is a fair value and price.
Finally, the type of sales outlet in which you are shopping can greatly influence not only the asking price but the actual price you will pay for your antique furniture. A traditional store will often price items to reflect the condition of the piece, its history, and rarity. This is where your own knowledge based on your homework (see first tip above) will come into play so you know whether the price is in line when compared to the information you have gathered in advance. Alternatively, in a consignment shop, the owner may have priced the piece based solely on his own opinion of its value rather than market factors. In either case, always be open to making an offer based on your own determination of value. You will be surprised at how many times your offer will be accepted.
Armed with these tips, you fill find your antique furniture shopping excursions more adventuresome, more rewarding, and more fun. Keep in mind that prices are not set in stone and that haggling on price is part of the game. Start with a reasonable offer and many times you will find you are able to purchase your antique furniture for less than the sticker price. You will feel satisfied knowing you got a good deal at a fair price. As such, you will enjoy your antique furniture even more!