Baskets: How to Identify Antique & Quality Handmade Baskets

Basket Basics

There are three main types of baskets – Coils, Twined or Woven. Baskets are typically woven in one of two styles:

-A Splint style – made by weaving wider, flatter strips of wood, usually Oak or Ash together

-A Wicker style –  made by weaving organic reed, cane, grass, branches, roots or man-made products

      Ex: Splint Weave Basket      Antique English Wicker Basket  Ex: Antique English Wicker Basket

Identifying Markers of Age 

  • Does the basket have a solid or carved wood handle?
  • Does the basket have some weight to it? Older baskets tend to be a little heavier.
  • What materials used? Oak splint and ash splint tend to be older baskets.
  • Does the basket have any reinforced areas? This is usually a sign of quality.
  • Does the basket have a patina?

  • Is the basket signed and dated on the bottom?
  • Does the basket have old, chippy paint?
  • If there are nails, are the nails shinny and new or do they have some rust?
  • Areas around the nail heads will also have a darkened ring around the nail head, this patina process takes many years to develop.
  • Older baskets will often have a notch carved into the handle that allows the weave to hold the handle snuggly in place. If the wooden handle slides up and down too easily – that could be a sign that the basket is not the best quality.