Linda Rosen Antiques

When you’re up late, can’t sleep and find yourself cruising the internet aimlessly at 2 am you find the best stuff. Linda Rosen Antiques in Sheffield, Massachusetts has a great shop full of antiques from the very high-end to more moderate priced pieces. I’ve been on the hunt for tables and a few of their candlesticks caught my eye. All of New England origin each piece representing a different style period: Federal, Queen Anne, and a Hepplewhite. The bottom right photo is a Queen Anne corner chair—cool, right?

I really want to learn more about different early American furniture styles. I have a few books but I couldn’t identify a piece without a little help. I thought about going to the upcoming Antiques & Art show in New York. The pieces represented will be super fancy and nothing I could possibly afford. But if I learned to identify different style cues then maybe I would feel more comfortable at auctions? If you’re an expert; how did you learn more or which books would you suggest?

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  1. Thanks for the nice plug. Linda and I really appreciate it.

    If I could only recommend one book to help you learn more about antique furniture, it would be “Furniture Treasury” by Wallace Nutting. Although somewhat outdated, (it was first published in 1928), the book does an excellent job of explaining the evolution of furniture, (mostly American), from the 1600’s through the early 1800’s, using thousands of photos and descriptive text.

    If you want to see furniture and other antiques from the various periods first-hand, I would suggest the American wing at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Winterthur Museum in Delaware, and Old Sturbridge Village and Historic Deerfield, both in Massachusetts.

    In my opinion, auctions are not the best way to learn about antiques, and I would caution you about buying at auction unless you are fairly knowledgeable. For the uninitiated, there are many pitfalls to auction buying. Is the piece of the period? Centennial? A reproduction? A fake? Are there any repairs? If the piece is painted, is the paint original, second paint, or new paint? For items such as tables and two-piece cupboards, did both the top and bottom sections start out life together or is the piece a marriage? I could go on and on. Factors such as these can greatly affect the value of an item and it is easy for the uninitiated to end up getting burned. Personally, I would advise leaving auction buying to the experts.

    The safest way to buy antiques is to buy from reputable dealers who are willing to guarantee what they sell, IN WRITING. Most antique dealers will also be happy to take the time to share their knowledge with customers, and can be another valuable resource in the learning process.

    I couldn’t resist putting my two cents into this discussion. I hope it helps.


  2. Also check out Judith & Martin Miller’s”The Antiques Directory: Furniture”. Tons of mostly b&w photos to peruse. For American I too recommend Israel Sack but also look into education classes at Historic New England. Years ago they offered great evening series of classes on various aspects of American architecture and furnishings. The best way of all to learn is to just keep looking!


  3. isreal sack-fine points of furniture, pretentious but good book about early american furniture another one called “fake fraud or genuine” helps you learn how to spot original pieces and identify restoration, fakery etc


  4. another source of great (free) information is to go to one of the auction houses during their exhibitions prior to sale (the NY Christie’s & Sotheby’s sales are timed to coincide with the Armory exhibition you mentioned). esp. if you go during the week when the sales floor is slow, the specialists will be more than happy to walk you around the exhibition floor and give you a little education, answer questions etc. even just pick up/order one of the catalogues – the lots/pieces are all identified and you can start to visually process the different styles/periods/makers. Great window shopping!


  5. Beautiful finds! I would love to learn more about antiques too. I feel like I could so easily be duped because I wouldn’t know any better. Times like this, I miss being so far from my parents – they know their stuff, though only European.


  6. Oh my! This is a great store, and it is so attuned to your style.

    I stumbled into the actual store in Sheffield one day about a year ago and was so impressed by the kind sales person, wonderful quality of the goods, and their very reasonable prices (for antiques).

    Now if only I could find something just like this, but with more of that tacky, late-19th century Aesthetic Movement machine-made junk we need at our little shack :)