Most people go in search of antique hardware for two reasons: to replace an existing element on a piece of antique furniture, or to change the look of a contemporary piece of furnishing by replacing existing hardware with antique hardware. Many people in fact prefer antique hardware because of the materials used in its construction, its often intricate design and unique fabrication that has a durability and beauty that surpasses contemporary hardware fixtures.
The category of antique hardware runs the gamut from art deco drawer pulls in brass and cast iron and clear glass doorknobs to unique door knockers and cabinet hinges that look like works of art in themselves. Among the more unique and hard-to-find antique hardware pieces include towel racks, coat hooks and old keyhole plates. Where can you go to find a good variety of antique hardware within your price range?
The best place to start is flea markets and private estate sales in your area, where you can purchase individual odds and ends of hardware if you are looking for just one or two pieces. Flea markets and estate sales are also good for finding pieces of furniture that may be in poor condition, but worth the price for salvaging the existing hardware.
Another good resource for those who are seeking antique hardware are architectural salvage shops in your area. These are companies which specialize in tearing down old properties for renovation or new construction, but which keep a warehouse of salvaged parts and pieces from the tear-down that might include just the pieces of hardware you are looking for.
Don't forget to check your local hardware store to see if they might have any vintage hardware pieces gathering dust somewhere in storage. You can also put up a notice on a community bulletin board if you are searching for antique hardware from a particular era, such as the late 19th century or mid-century modern.
Second hand furniture stores often offer good prices on cabinets and other furnishings that contain antique hardware worth salvaging from these pieces. Check internet auction sites as well if you are searching for specific pieces or are just looking for some design ideas on what sort of antique hardware is available to change the look of your current furnishings.
Recognize that finding a complete set of drawer pulls or hinges that match exactly might make your antique hardware find a bit pricier but valuable. Many people who start to find antique hardware discover that the treasure hunt of searching for these beautifully designed pieces is a fun and worthwhile pastime.