Antique Picture Frames identification and Value Guide

Are you looking for a way to decorate your home or office style? Or you’re a collector of antique picture frames? You may be interested in vintage picture frames! Learn how to spot them and what they’re worth.

Frames carry memories, memories, and future memories. They frame our lives. Frames not only create a backdrop for your favorite moments when you look back but also create a sense of space and order in your home.

Finding the perfect frames for your home can be difficult- we have created this antique picture frames identification and value guide!

What Are Antique Picture Frames?

 An antique picture frame is a container that holds a piece of art. It may be made out of wood, metal or plastic. The purpose of a picture frame is to hold the work of art and protect it from harm.

Antique picture frames are very popular with collectors, especially those with a history or provenance.

The best examples are usually metal or wood and feature ornate designs and floral patterns. The frames can also be painted, gilded, and decorated with jewels or other precious materials.

Antique Picture Frame History

Vintage 1800s Photo Frame from France
Vintage 1800s Photo Frame from France (Image Source: Sold $84)

Picture frames were first used by the ancient Egyptians and Greeks, who would use them to display their artwork on walls or columns. Their picture frames were usually made of wood or metal and were quite plain.

Antique picture frames were used to display photographs, which professional photographers usually took in the early 20th century. These photographs were displayed in homes as the first form of “art” for many people.

The history of vintage picture frames dates back to the 18th century. The first picture frames were made from wood and were rectangular.

As time went on, the art of making antique picture frames became more advanced and developed into different designs and styles.

During the Victorian era, antique picture frames were made of gold, silver and brass. These frames were often embellished with intricate designs to make them look very ornate.

They also used a lot of glass, making it possible for people to see through the picture from both sides.

How Are Antique Picture Frames Classified?

Antique picture frames are available in a variety of different styles. The earliest antique picture frames were made with wood, but they evolved into more intricate designs over time.

When looking for an antique frame to hang your favourite piece of art, it’s essential to know what style of frame will compliment your artwork best.

Early American Wood Frames

Early American Wood Frames
French Antique Triptych Photo Frame with Lady and Girl Portraits by Walery Source: Etsy

Early American wood frames date back to the late 18th century and early 19th century.

These frames are simple yet elegant, with a basic design that doesn’t compete with the art itself. They’re made primarily from pine or poplar wood and feature a wooden mitre joint at the corners for strength and stability.

Gilded Victorian Frames

Antique English Georgian to Victorian 12.5" Shadow Box
Antique English Georgian to Victorian 12.5″ Shadow Box (Sold $671.25)

Gilded Victorian frames were popular from 1850 to 1910. The victorian frame is a type of picture frame that was popular in the Victorian era.

They were usually wood with decorative elements like gilding, carving and stenciling.

Baroque Frame

Oil Painting Fruit Still Life Golden Baroque Frame Signed
Oil Painting Fruit Still Life Golden Baroque Frame Signed (Sold $55.00)

The Baroque frame was popular from the 16th through 18th centuries. Baroque frames were characterized by curves and ornate embellishments, which often included leaves and flowers.

The Baroque style was popular among royalty and the upper class, who could afford to have their portraits painted by renowned artists.

Arts and Crafts Photo Frames

Antique ARTS & CRAFTS Mission oak frame
Antique ARTS & CRAFTS Mission oak frame (Sold $12.5)

The Arts & Crafts movement was a reaction against the machine-made goods flooding the market in the late 19th century.

Their goal was to return to the handmade quality of earlier times when artisans could use their skills, imagination and creativity to produce unique works of art.

Arts & Crafts picture frames are made from solid wood or metal and often feature hand-carved decorations such as flowers or leaves.

The gilded some of these frames had ornate embellishments such as flowers, leaves and vines.

Rococo Frame

Antique Medium Ornate Rococo Frame gilt effect plaster
Antique Medium Ornate Rococo Frame gilt effect plaster (Sold $24.33)

The Rococo style emerged in the late 17th century as a reaction against the strict forms of the Baroque period. Rococo frames were more elaborate than their predecessors, with intricate details such as shells and flowers.

Art Deco Frames

Art Deco Frames

The Art Deco movement occurred in the early 20th century and was characterised by clean lines, flat surfaces, geometric shapes and bold colours. This frame design style often used polished metal or glass with geometric designs.

The style featured geometric shapes with bold colours that gave an impression of movement combined with organic shapes like flowers or leaves that added depth and texture to each piece.

Neoclassical frames

Neoclassical frames

Neoclassical frames were popular during the 19th century and were typically used for portraits and landscapes. These frames featured squared corners, flat surfaces and simple ornamentation around their edges.

How To Identify The Vintage Picture Frames

Vintage picture frames are a great way to add character and unique style to your home. If you’re looking for an easy way to make your photos pop, check out some tips for identifying authentic vintage picture frames.

Antique picture frames come in many styles and sizes, but some main characteristics help identify what type of antique picture frame you have:

Check the Frame Background

Look at the painting behind the glass in your picture frame. If it has a light background, then it’s probably an older piece of art.

The paint on newer pieces has a more vibrant colour scheme that doesn’t fade with age.

Look at the Materials

Look at the Materials
Sterling Silver Photograph Frame – Art Nouveau Style – Antique Edwardian (1904) Source: AC Silver

 The easiest way to identify vintage picture frames is by the material they are made of.

Old picture frames were typically made of wood, but some were made from metal or other materials.

If you have a frame with no glass, and there is no way to look through it, it was probably made before 1950.

Look At the Frame Edge

If you can see where the frame was cut from another piece of wood or metal, then it’s probably an older piece of art because modern frames don’t usually have this feature due to cost efficiency.

Identify the Artist and Date

Even if you don’t know much about art history, some ways to identify paintings are by looking at their style, subject matter and colours.

The artist may also have signed their work somewhere on the canvas or paper so that you can look for signatures on other works by them or even ask an expert for help if needed!

How to Value Antique Picture Frames

Picture frames are an excellent way to show off your favourite memories. But if you’re looking for a unique frame or want to upgrade an existing one, you may have questions about how to value antique picture frames.

Factors Affecting Value

Several factors determine the value of an antique picture frame. The most common ones include condition, size and material.

Condition

The most crucial factor in determining antique picture frame value is condition. An antique picture frame in poor condition will be worth less than one in excellent condition.

The same is true for frames painted over or damaged by water, mould or insect infestation.

If a frame has been repaired with modern materials, it will also be worth less than one that is entirely original and undamaged.

Material

An antique picture frame made of expensive materials like silver or gold will be worth more than one of common materials like wood or plastic.

Materials like ivory and tortoiseshell were once trendy for framing pictures because they were beautiful but durable enough to withstand regular use over time.

Many today prefer to frame their photographs using these materials because they are elegant and stylish without being too precious or expensive.

Size

Size
Source: Poshmark

Another factor that affects the value of antique picture frames is size.

The most valuable frames are large ones since they can hold larger and more valuable paintings.

Framing a small picture with a large frame will make it look less valuable.

For example, a large gilded picture frame from the 1700s would likely be worth more than a small Victorian frame from the 1900s because they are rarer and harder to find.

If you’re unsure what size your antique picture frame is or whether it’s valuable, check out our article on measuring and sizing antique frames for tips on measuring your frame accurately so you can find exactly what size it is.

Style & Shape

There are many different shapes and styles of frames. They can be oval, round, square or rectangular.

Each of these shapes has its unique place in history and culture.

For example, oval frames were popular during the Victorian era, while everyone wore rectangular frames during the roaring twenties.

Age

Age
Antique RARE Daguerreotype Railway man Source: $63.78 

Age is perhaps the most critical factor in determining a picture frame’s value. The older the frame, the more valuable it will be.

However, age alone does not tell you how much your vintage picture frame is worth.

For example, a late 19th century Victorian-era picture frame may be worth more than a mid-20th century frame because of its rarity and beauty.

To determine the age of a vintage frame, look at the corners and edges. If they are rounded instead of sharp, this frame was probably manufactured before 1930.

If you see any carved design on the corners or edges of a frame, it was most likely created before 1960.

● Designer

A well-known and respected designer’s work can significantly impact the price of a frame. For example, if you have a Tiffany or Lalique frame, it will be worth more than if an unknown designer made it.

What to look for When Buying One

When purchasing an antique picture frame, you must know what to look for to ensure you get a high-quality product. An antique picture frame is any decorative frame made in the 19th century or earlier.

 These frames were often made out of wood or metal, but they sometimes had glass panels on them as well.

If you’re looking at purchasing a vintage picture frame, there are several things that you should keep in mind:

  • If there is no signature on the frame itself, it may not be authentic. However, if there is a signature on the frame, it was made by an artist who was well known during their period.
  • Antique picture framescome in many styles, including traditional and modern-looking ones. When shopping for one, think about what style would look best with the image you plan on displaying in it so that it doesn’t clash with the rest of your home decor.
  • Ensure the glass in your antique picture frame is not cracked or broken.
  • You should also check out how many nails hold up the back of the picture frame and how they’re spaced apart.

Tips for selling Antique Frames

Antique picture frames are a great decorating tool for any home. They can enhance the look of any room and add a touch of class. However, there are some essential tips to know before selling antique picture frames.

Know your value

Antique picture frames hold their value well, so you should be able to get a reasonable price for them.

Many factors affect their value, but one of the most important. If you have an antique frame made over 100 years ago, it may be worth more than one from the 1950s or 60s.

The frame’s condition is also essential; if it’s in poor condition or broken, it will bring less money than one in good condition.

Know your market

You won’t get much money from antique picture frames if you sell them at garage sales or Craigslist.

These venues often attract bargain hunters who drive down prices significantly compared to what they would bring at auction or gallery sales. People are looking for high-quality antiques they can use in their homes or businesses.

It’s best to find an auction house or gallery where you can sell your antique frames directly and get top dollar without compromising on price.

Cleaning

Sell only those that are in good condition. Look for scratches on the glass or frame and chips or dents in the wood or metal parts.

If you don’t know how to repair these types of damage yourself, hire someone who can do it for you.

Cleaning is another critical step — ensure all dirt has been removed before showing your items to potential buyers.

How To Take Care Of Your Antique Picture Frames

Antique picture frames are valuable pieces of history. They are made from various materials and have different designs, but they all have one thing in common: they must be taken care of.

To ensure that your antique picture frames last a long time, it is essential to take care of them properly. Here are some tips on how to take care of antique picture frames:

  • Clean Dust regularly:Use a soft brush or feather duster to remove dust from the entire frame. Pay special attention to places where dust can accumulate quickly, such as around the edges of the frame and under the mat board.
  • Clean with a damp cloth: If necessary, use a mild liquid soap diluted with water and wipe down the entire frame with a soft cloth or sponge until it is clean. Rinse well with water and allow the frame to dry before returning it to its display location.
  • Drying Photo frames:Periodically apply a thin coat of oil or wax polish to keep the wood from drying out over time. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions for any product you use on your antique picture frames.
  • Keep them out of direct sunlight: Sunlight will fade the colours in your antique picture frames over time. If you want to display your antique picture frames indoors, ensure adequate lighting is on them without having them directly in front of a window or another source of direct sunlight.
  • Do not touch the surface:Your hands contain oils that can damage the surface of an antique picture frame over time if they aren’t cleaned off regularly. When handling these valuable items, always use gloves or wash your hands before touching them so that no oils are left behind on their surfaces when handled by someone else later.

Where To Buy & Sell Vintage Picture Frames

 There are a lot of places to buy and sell vintage picture frames, including antique shops, thrift stores, flea markets and online auctions.

You can also find vintage picture frames in your home. If you have older family photos hanging up on the wall, you might want to consider framing them again with an antique frame.

On Poshmark

Vintage picture frames are a hot commodity on Poshmark. There’s great demand for them, and they often sell within minutes of being posted.

On eBay

eBay is another excellent place to buy and sell antique picture frames. eBay is the largest marketplace in the world, so it’s no surprise that there are plenty of Vintage Picture Frames for sale here.

The best part is that they’re all in one place, so you can easily find what you’re looking for.

If you’re buying a frame, check out our tips on how to find great deals on eBay. And if you’re selling your frames, we’ve got a few tips for getting more money when listing an item on eBay.

An auction house or estate sale

One of the best ways to get antique picture frames is by visiting an auction house or estate sale.

You’ll be able to find some of the unique pieces at these events that you won’t be able to find anywhere else. If you’re looking for something specific, it’s a good idea to call ahead of time and ask if they have what you need in stock.

Local thrift stores and flea markets

Another great place to get antique picture frames is local thrift stores and flea markets. These places usually have various styles and sizes available at very affordable prices!

Considering All of these,

Vintage Picture frames are a great way to add a personal touch to your home décor, and antique picture frames can add an extra level of sophistication.

If you’re interested in collecting antique picture frames, you must know how to identify and value them.

With our guide, you’ll be able to do just that. So get out there and start browsing for some beautiful antique picture frames!

Whether you’re a shop owner, an appraiser, a buyer, or a collector, you’ll likely need to know how to identify and value antique picture frames.

We’d love for you to comment below about your thoughts on this issue.

FAQ’s

Does old picture framing have any value?

The short answer is yes!

Some antique picture frames have value because they are rare items passed down through generations.

However, even if your frame has no historical significance or famous maker attached to it, you should still consider its value based on its condition and uniqueness.

Gilded wood frames – what are they?

A gilded wood frame is made from natural wood that has been painted and then covered with gold leaf.

This type of antique picture frame has been popular since the 12th century. This particular type of frame can be found in some of the most famous museums around the world.

 Today, it is still possible to find gilded wood frames at antique stores or on eBay.

What is the price of a photo frame?

The average price for antique picture frames is around $25-$50, depending on size, type of frame and material used to make the frame.

You can purchase antique picture frames at antique stores and flea markets, but several online retailers also sell them.

Dutch frames: what are they?

A Dutch frame is a picture frame that has inner and outer moulding. The outer moulding is usually made of wood, and the inner moulding is usually made of metal.

The term “Dutch” comes from the fact that this type of frame was first made in the Netherland during the 17th century.

In addition to being one of the most popular frames, they are also one of the most durable.

What is the best way to determine whether a frame is antique?

Antique picture frames can come in many different styles. Many eras have created antique frames for pictures, from Egyptian to Victorian. When looking for antique frames, you will want to look for ones with old-school craftsmanship characteristics. This can include:

  • Wood or metal with a hand-finished appearance or rustic finish
  • Hand-carved designs or embellishments
  • Antique woodworking tools (planes, chisels) used in construction
  • Hand-rubbed lacquer finish instead of spray paint or varnish

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