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If your family is like many, you've passed family heirlooms down through the years. They've had plenty of sentimental meanings, but have any of the antiques you've acquired increased in monetary value? Here's a list of how to tell if your antique furniture is worth a fortune.

• Antique beds. Old beds generally aren't worth much more than their face values. But one of the ways you can tell if yours is a rarity is if your bed has long legs. Most of the earliest beds were raised fairly high off the floor. Also check to see if the bed is made completely of hard woods like cherry, walnut, or mahogany. In addition, look for any stains or signs that there are two different types of wood used. If either is true, the bed isn't as valuable. If your bed has any carvings on it, consider whether the carvings are of the same era as the one in which the bed was created. If they are you may have quite a find.
• Chairs. One of the main problems when it comes to antique chairs is that the legs have rotted and been fixed. This happens because many early chairs are kept in wet cellars to keep them, but the bottoms of the legs are destroyed by the moisture. Also, you need to check to see if any parts of the chair have been replaced. Check the upholstery to find out if that is the original. Very few older chairs have the original upholstery. Then lift up the upholstery (careful not to damage it) and find out if the insides of the chair are original.
• Mirrors. The biggest sign that you've got one of the first mirrors is that if you look at its face, there will be breaks in the reflectivity. It won't be the perfect reflections that we have in mirrors today. Also, you'll want to look on the backs of the mirror. If it has plane saw marks rather than circular ones, it was made after 1830. If it has circular saw marks, you may have a mirror that's about 200 years old. Mirrors that have had replacement work done aren't as valuable.
• Chest of drawers. The key to determining the value of your antique chest of drawers is usually looking at the backboard. Older chests are made of pine and should be quite dark in color. You want a piece that has not been re-done. It's preferred to have the original wood. Like older chairs, chests of drawers likely have been kept in cellars over the years. You'll want to check the feet of the chest in order to find out if the feet were ever rotted and replaced. Chests with replaced feet aren't worth as much.