Mirror, Mirror on the Wall (Antique is the Fairest of Them All!)

The other day, we were visiting a distant cousin who had several very nice antique pieces. Let me clarify; some formerly very nice antique pieces. “This buffet belonged to my great grandfather. We refinished it and replaced the mirror.” (Whereupon Charity’s blood pressure goes up and she bites tongue to keep from shrieking “YOU DID WHAT??”)

But I can’t say too much, as I’m also a bit at fault here.

Back in high school, I bought a lot of three mirrors at an estate auction for $4. There was the big mirror that’s now in my dining room (which is why I bought the lot in the first place) and two round mirrors, about 16″ in diameter.  I have no idea how old they are, but my best guess would be no later than 1940’s.  After cleaning, I determined that one of the mirrors was too far gone to be of much use, so I sent it to the local thrift store (how I wish I hadn’t!).

This is my remaining round mirror from that auction. It lived above the dining room table in our teeny-tiny first apartment.

Here’s the mirror now, hung in the guest bathroom in our current apartment (and there am I. Yay for taking pictures of mirrors).

And a closeup of the cool finish on this mirror!

Here’s what you need to know:  Aged silvering on mirrors is desirable.

So don’t resilver or replace an old mirror if it’s got an interesting visual texture. Put it up somewhere for light reflection or decoration, instead of makeup application, if necessary, but don’t mess it up! Don’t throw it away! And don’t resilver it! (And hope that some smart person bought my other round mirror from the thrift store and gave it a good home!)

Now you know why Julia and I burst out laughing at a customer a little while back when he tried to bargain down the price of a fabulous antique mantel with, “But I’ll have to replace the mirror.”  As Julia observed, “That mirror’s the best part of it!”

About Charity

I have an inexcusable number of cookbooks (and like to experiment with them), have worked in architectural antiques, and have been sewing most of my life. I recently graduated with a Ph.D. in Apparel, Merchandising, & Design from Iowa State University. Doing household things (except for cleaning!) and hunting for antiques are my favorite pastimes.
This entry was posted in Antiquing Adventures, Decorating, Mrs. Armstead's Household Guide. Bookmark the permalink.

1 Response to Mirror, Mirror on the Wall (Antique is the Fairest of Them All!)

  1. Great advice and so true. Aging is something that many shoppers pay for even in new furniture… how much cooler is it to get the real thing!!

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