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Antique Furniture: Real or Fake?

Antique Buffet Cabinet

How can you tell if a piece of furniture is an authentic antique?

A weekend spent antiquing or visiting flea markets for a furniture bargain can be a lot of fun, but before you go, know what to look for to determine if you are paying for an antique or a really good knockoff. Lara Spencer,  host of Flea Market Flip, went to Mark DeVito, furniture guru extraordinaire, for tips on how to spot the real thing.

Watch: Is It Real or Fake? »

“Magic Mark,” as Lara calls him, advises antique hunters to determine whether the item was made by hand or machine. “Prior to 1870, everything was made by hand and that’s the real definition of an antique,” DeVito said, “things made before electricity.”

Look for clues in the furniture’s joints, such as on a desk or dresser drawer. If it was made by machine, there will be small saw marks visible near the joints, which will also be perfectly spaced. If it was made by hand, joints will be uneven. Antiques never have sharp 90-degree angles or tight corners, and are usually worn and smooth.

Lara’s Repurposing Tricks »

If visiting flea markets and flipping your finds from “junk” to treasure is one of your favorite weekend activities, tune in to Lara Spencer’s Flea Market Flip for tips and inspiration. Each episode challenges two teams to find, fix and flip flea market leftovers into gems. Both teams are allotted $500 to spend on “flip list” projects and pieces that they must then restore to make a profit. The teams earning the most profit from their upcycled items wins $5,000.

The new season of Flea Market Flip premieres February 8 at 8/7c. (Full Schedule)

Insider Tips: How to Get the Best Flea Market Deals »

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