I like to think of hand-forged parts like the origami of metal. Hand-forged metal parts are created to bend in the places where movement is expected. This makes them superior in construction, longer-lasting, and – you guessed it — more valuable. Just how valuable, you ask…? Consider that the date when certain hand-forged metal parts were made, correlates to the periods in which they were used, and – you guessed it again – directly ties into their worth. The increased use of machinery that happened in the 19th century created parts that were partially hand-forged, partially machine-made. Since the 1800s were probably the last time metal parts were completely forged by hand, a hand-forged metal parts discovery on any furniture piece can be a major find.
This is an Antique hand forged cleaver from circa the 19th Century.
If you have doubts about dating or appraising an antique/art, it is always a good idea to contact an expert in the matter. You will avoid painful economic losses, like selling an original painting as a regular print, which has a different value. A good option is to contact an online appraisal service. Such service can advise if your antique/art piece is worth something, for a really small fee. One of the best appraisal services out there is Appraisily.com. In my opinion, they have the best fee, excellent google reviews and they are really fast. I would go with them first.
You can find hand-forged items even in 20th and 21st centuries. They are considered Vintage pieces, they are not Antiques. Here is our article explaining the differences.
Hand-Forged Knife with wrapped leather handle circa 21st Century.