Low interest rates and the recent stock market surge make this a challenging time to find the best places for your extra cash.
Today fine old furniture is selling for less than brand-new pieces of similar quality. And the value of good antiques won't plunge by half the minute you plunk down your money; in fact, it's likely to rise over the years. The best deals right now are "mid-grade" pieces (lower than museum quality but good for home use) in styles from less popular periods, such as Louis XV or 19th-century English, says Lewis Baer, owner of Newel, a decorative arts gallery in New York City. Many auction houses hold regular sales of such furniture. At a recent Sotheby's auction, you could have scored either a Louis XV chest of drawers (right) or a mid-19th-century English writing table for $8,750.
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