How to Determine the Value of an Antique Mirror

How to Determine the Value of an Antique Mirror

When you have an antique mirror in your house and you want to sell it, the first thing that you often do is to look for a professional to appraise its value. You don’t want to make a mistake because you might end up selling a high-value antique without knowing it. Whether it’s a gold leaf mirror, a standard mirror, or a dresser mirror, knowing the value of your antique is very important.

If you don’t want to spend money to determine the value of your antique mirror, there are a few simple tips that you can do. Let’s find out how you can determine if a mirror is antique or not and how to determine its market value.


Is Your Gold Leaf Mirror Antique?

19th Century Large Antique French Louis Philippe Gold Leaf Mirror at 1stDibs

There are tons of gold leaf framed mirrors on the market and it’s hard to figure out which one is antique or fake. If you have one in your storage room and you plan to sell it, do you have any idea if it’s really an antique?

Before you start selling your gold leaf wall mirror, let’s find out if it’s really worth something. Here are some of the things that you can check.

1. Check the Glass

It is one of the most important clues in finding out the antiquity of your mirror. Most modern mirrors are made with almost no imperfections or bubbles. Through advanced manufacturing techniques, they can eliminate even the slightest flaw in the glass.

This is different when it comes to mirrors made in the past. You will always see imperfections on the glass and they become part of the design. They are clearly or slightly visible, so if you want to know if your mirror is antique, this is the first thing that you can check. Look for surface waves or bubbles.

However, a lot of sellers have been deceiving buyers who don’t know anything about antiques. They often generate imperfections or defects in the glass to confuse buyers. This is the reason why you can’t simply decide based on the imperfections of the glass. There are other special features that you have to pay attention to.

2. Limited Frame Dimension

Antique frames have smaller dimensions, especially in their length. This is because of the limited manufacturing capability in the past. They had a hard time creating large mirrors, so most of them were less than 2 to 3 inches in length.

In the 1800s, large mirrors started appearing because of industrial improvements in creating them. If you have a mirror that is only 2 to 3 inches in length, there is a chance that this antique mirror was created before the 1800s.

Combined with imperfections in the glass, there is a high chance that your mirror is antique based on these facts. However, there are still other things that you need to check to guarantee its antiquity.

3. Additional Specs on the Mirror

Seeing imperfections in the mirror will not be enough to say that your mirror is antique. Although it is part of the deciding factors, it’s still too early to say that your mirror is worth something.

Most modern glass is colorless or they are very transparent because of the production method. This is because the modern manufacturing process makes sure that the glass doesn’t have any imperfections. Antiques have a greyish or yellowish appeal when you look at them closely. This is something that you won’t see in modern glass.

Remember that this color would indicate that the glass is very old. As time passes, the inside of the glass will also distort and change its color.

The thickness can also help you differentiate an old mirror from a modern glass. Get a key and lay the tip on the surface of the class. If you noticed that the distance between the tip and the reflected tip is very close, it means that the mirror is probably antique.

4. Holding Frame

The holding frame is a visual factor that you can consider if you want to know if your mirror is antique or not. This is the reason why you need to look at the frame composition and determine the materials used to manufacture it.

When it comes to antiques, you cannot expect steady wood, plastic, or even a well-finished metal to hold vintage mirrors. You will have to check the attachment screws as well as the holding staples. The sticky glues will have to be checked as well. All the materials need to have something distorted so you can easily differentiate them from the modern mirrors.

5. Backside of the Glass

A glass can only be a mirror because of the reflective coating at the back. It allows the light to get reflected so you can see your appearance in the mirror. This particular area can determine whether a mirror is already antique or if it’s just a normal, modern mirror.

Modern mirrors in the market use a standard silver coating on the glass. It changes from time to time to improve the reflection quality of the mirror. In the 16th century, they used poisonous mercury as the material to reflect your image. From this, you can tell if the mirror is modern or not.

6. Manufacturing Method

The imperfections in the glass come from the production process used in the past. This is because most of them make handmade works to showcase their skills. Antique mirrors should appear handcrafted so you need to check if the mirror is made by machines.

You can check if it has perfectly rounded edges or sharp edges that are a bit defective. This will indicate that the designs are handcrafted.


Checking the Value of Your Gold Leaf Mirror

OLIMPIA B | Rectangular mirror Olimpia B Collection By Marzorati

Once you’ve verified that your vintage gold leaf mirror is really antique, the next step is to know its value. We’ve got a few tips to help you check the value of your antique mirror.

1. Rareness

Collectors will always emphasize rareness more than anything else. Only a few people will buy antique mirrors, especially if they don’t know their value. Remember that most antique mirrors are very limited so the rareness can dictate the value of your mirror. If there are only a few mirrors with the same model as yours, you can expect that the value will be very high.

2. Narration

This is one of the things that can really boost the value of an antique mirror. However, it is also something that is very hard to determine since only historians and antique collectors can figure out the story behind the mirror.

Take note that a normal mirror will cost a lot already. The same mirror with a brief history can easily boost its value by more than double or triple. This is definitely a big boost on the value despite the fact that the mirrors are the same. This is very hard to provide, but once the truth comes out, your antique mirror will surely be a priceless treasure.

3. Condition

The condition of the mirror can also improve its value. If it’s really old and still looks new, you can expect that the price would be very high. Take note that older mirrors are more expensive so if you see something from the 16th century, you cannot expect the price to be the same as the one made in the 19th century.

Of course, most people will always choose a mirror with better condition. It means that it can still last for a dozen years with proper maintenance. Even if the mirror is very old, make sure that you take good care of it and don’t let the frame get damaged. It will surely cost a lot if you maintain its good condition.

4. Appraisal

The simplest and most direct way to figure out the value of your antique mirror is through an appraisal. You don’t have to go and do your research about your gold leaf mirror. All you need to do is to bring it to an appraiser and they will tell you exactly how much it would cost.

If the mirror is very expensive, they will often ask you if you want to auction it. This will allow the value of the mirror to skyrocket, especially if there are a lot of collectors who want to get it.

5. Research

If you don’t want to bring it to an appraiser, you can just do your own research about the mirror that you have. You can look for antique mirrors that are the same as the ones in your house. This will give you an idea of its current market value.

If you can’t find your mirror in the market, there is a chance that it is very unique. The best thing to do is to dig deeper and find some information on the mirror that you have. You can also post it online and ask for help from other people to verify its authenticity. They can also help you check if the mirror has any historical significance which can boost its value.



Knowing the value of your antique gold leaf mirror will prevent other people from taking advantage of you. Remember that many people will try to lower its value and buy it from you for a very low price. If you followed the tips above and ascertain that it is indeed an antique piece, it is better to do your research and find out its real value.

If you are looking for top-quality antique mirrors, we’ve got a wide range of models that you can choose from.