New Frame Resembles Trade SignBy

New Frame Resembles Trade Sign

This new frame intended to hold a pair of mirrors is very similar to an antique optician's trade sign. The new frame is about 42 inches left to right. It is finished in a brass tone similar, at least in a photograph, to the appearance of antique metal. If seen online or reading a description alone, the piece might be mistaken for old.

The true age of the piece is obvious with a firsthand examination. It is made of modern cast resin, or plastic, not metal. But the brass finish is so good it requires a very careful inspection. Originals are made of metal and wood, of course, not modern plastics.

When examining a piece offered as a trade sign, keep in mind the purpose and use of the original. Originals had to withstand the daily buffets of weather, winter and summer, from scorching heat to freezing cold. They had to swing with stiff winds as well as support their own weight even if covered with ice. Just ask yourself if the piece you are examining is built strong enough to take that kind of use.

Original trade signs, meant to hang over a sidewalk, are almost always double-sided and look about the same from either side. Many reproductions, meant to hang on a wall, are finished on one side only.