Choosing the best antique Chinese cabinets starts with researching as much as you can about the pieces you are interested in buying. You will want to find out from what era the piece originates, what the cabinets are made from, how they are made and what common building techniques were common at the time, and the current common cost of such a piece. Antique Chinese cabinets will come in a variety of styles, colors, sizes, and prices, so it is important to consider ahead of time what style of cabinets you are looking for. Once you have determined what you are looking for, begin searching for several pieces and note the overall condition of each piece.
If possible, deal with a reputable antiques dealer when purchasing antique Chinese cabinets. Some antiques dealers have specific knowledge of antique Chinese cabinets, and it is best to deal with these dealers if possible to avoid buying a forgery or replica. Research different antiques dealers by asking around for recommendations and by asking any local antiques clubs or organizations for recommendations. It is a good idea to check the Better Business Bureau (BBB) website to note any complaints against a particular antiques dealer. While a complaint will not necessarily indicate a bad dealer, it is best to be as informed as possible.
Antique Chinese cabinets often have a very distinct look, which means replicas can be easy to produce. Be sure to take careful note of the specific woods used to make true antiques, and if possible, find out the names of notable cabinet makers throughout the centuries. Be sure to know what features will indicate an authentic piece from a specific time period, and remember that just about all antiques will undergo some sort of degradation from natural aging. Try to take note of such degradation both for the sake of identifying an authentic piece and for the sake of knowing how much it might cost to refurbish the piece if necessary.
Knowing how much antique Chinese cabinets generally cost can help you avoid getting ripped off by a dealer, and it can help you budget for the purchase and for any refurbishing that may need to be done. Remember that antique Chinese cabinets that are not in pristine shape are not necessarily bad purchases; they will need some refurbishing, but it is likely that you will be able to purchase the piece at a lower cost because of its condition.