What do the numbers mean on antique furniture?

What do the numbers mean on antique furniture?


When examining antique furniture, you may have noticed numbers or markings inscribed on various parts of the piece. These numbers can hold valuable information about the furniture’s origin, manufacturer, and even its historical significance. In this article, we will delve into what these numbers mean on antique furniture, providing you with a deeper understanding of these intriguing markings.

Manufacturer Identification

One of the most common reasons for numbers on antique furniture is manufacturer identification. Furniture makers often marked their pieces with numbers to identify their work. These numbers could be a way for the manufacturer to keep track of their inventory or to distinguish their products from others in the market. By researching these numbers, you can often trace the piece back to its original maker, providing valuable insight into its history and craftsmanship.

Production Codes

In addition to manufacturer identification, numbers on antique furniture can also represent production codes. These codes were used by furniture companies to track the production process and ensure quality control. Each number or combination of numbers may represent a specific batch, date, or location of production. By deciphering these codes, you can gain a better understanding of when and where the piece was manufactured, which can be helpful in determining its authenticity and value.

Inventory or Catalog Numbers

Some antique furniture may bear numbers that serve as inventory or catalog numbers. These numbers were often used by retailers or wholesalers to keep track of their stock. By referencing these numbers, they could easily identify and locate specific pieces in their inventory. While these numbers may not provide as much information about the furniture’s origin or production, they can still be useful in identifying the piece and its historical context.

Historical Significance

Numbers on antique furniture can also hold historical significance. For example, certain numbers may indicate that the piece was part of a limited edition or a special collection. These numbers can add value to the furniture and make it more desirable to collectors. Additionally, numbers may be associated with specific historical events or periods, further enhancing the piece’s historical significance.

Other Markings

Apart from numbers, antique furniture may feature other markings such as letters, symbols, or signatures. These additional markings can provide further clues about the piece’s origin and history. For instance, a signature from a renowned furniture maker can significantly increase the value and desirability of the piece. It is essential to carefully examine all markings on antique furniture to gather as much information as possible.


Numbers on antique furniture can hold valuable information about the piece’s origin, manufacturer, production process, and historical significance. By researching and deciphering these numbers, you can gain a deeper understanding of the furniture’s history and craftsmanship. Whether it’s manufacturer identification, production codes, inventory numbers, or historical significance, these numbers provide fascinating insights into the world of antique furniture.


– Furniture Detective: “Furniture Marks: Understanding the Meaning Behind Numbers, Letters, and Symbols” – furnituredetective.com
– The Spruce Crafts: “Understanding Furniture Markings” – thesprucecrafts.com
– Antiques Roadshow: “Furniture Detective: Unlocking the Secrets of Furniture Markings” – pbs.org/antiques