Before sliced bread became commercially available, bread boards played a very vital role in the kitchen. After the initial cut, pieces of bread were placed flat side on the bread board and wrapped with muslin or a towel—this preserved the bread’s freshness in an era where refrigeration did not exist.
Today, while an antique bread board may be just another old piece of wood with several cuts to the regular person, collectors are always looking to add one more to their collection. But, how do you identify antique bread boards? Also, how do you determine their right value?
On average, the price of the most valuable antique bread boards sits between $120 and $500. However, it is still possible to find a decent antique bread board for about $20. This price is largely influenced by several factors, including age, condition, type, carvings, and decorations.
In this detailed guide, we will show you how to identify antique bread boards. We will go a step further and show you the cost of some of the best bread boards that have been around for over 100 years.
Table of Contents
How to Identify Antique Bread Boards
When identifying antique bread boards, you will need to consider several factors, including:
1. Bread Board Size and Shape
Antique bread boards come in varying sizes and shapes—these make them perfect for different uses:
Large Antique Bread Boards
These bread boards were very handy for the transportation of multiple loaves of bread in and out of ovens. They are generally round with a diameter that sits between 23 and 28 inches.
The bread boards were usually produced using maple, oak, and pine. While some people tend to confuse them with pizza boards, the main difference is that pizza boards usually resemble shovels while the large antique bread boards are round in shape.
These types of boards come with a rectangular shape and feature a smaller handle. On average, their length sits between 26 and 30 inches, have a 0.5-inch thickness, and tend to have a width of 16 inches.
These boards played very vital roles in boulangeries—these were bakeries that specialized in the baking and production of bread. The boards are made from hardwood trees like walnut, pine, and maple.
Baguette Antique Bread Boards
These boards boast a length of 24 inches. They feature a scooped identification running down the center that ensures the baguette stays in place during cutting.
Family Antique Bread Boards
The antique boards generally feature a uniform plate size. They are rounded and may have decorations that carry a homey phrase on their edges—a common phrase is “Donnez nous notre pain quotidien”. When translated, the French phrase means “Give us our daily bread.”
2. Type of Material
The earliest bread boards were manufactured using butternut, walnut, maple, pine, and, in some cases, oak. These boards were produced using materials obtained from hardwood trees.
3. Antique Bread Board Makers
Antique bread boards, in most cases, were made by bakery workers or a member of a specific household. However, few pieces were manufactured.
Berard of France, for example, has been producing wooden kitchen items—including bread boards—since the company was established in 1892. The company’s products are manufactured using cherry wood, boxwood, and beech wood—these are sourced from certified forests.
Unfortunately for antique bread board collectors, antique boards do not feature the maker’s mark. This is primarily because the boards were not considered works of art—this means that relying on the maker’s mark to determine the manufacturer may not work for you.
The earliest bread boards, however, were hand-made—this means that they were roughly carved. In most cases, you might be able to see the tool used in the creation if you look at the handle.
Originally, some of the antique bread boards were part of a different object and were not meant to be used for bread cutting. Some bread boards, for example, were made using the top of wooden barrels whose size and shape made them ideal for turning into bread boards.
4. Check the Condition
As noted earlier, the antique bread boards lack a maker’s mark. Therefore, if you see an antique board with a signature or one that is well-oiled and glossy, you should be suspicious of its authenticity as an antique.
Antique bread boards feature various signs of use, including:
- Worn spot—or softening area—in the middle
- Darkening on the most-used side
- Knife marks
- Small chips out of the board’s edge
Antique bread boards from the Victorian era feature some form of carvings. They often carry flowers, fruits, or words related to food—these usually appear along the edges. Some boards will have a monogram on them.
It is worth noting that over time, board designs became more common and less complex. This was a result of the industrial revolution which brought about mass production.
The industrial revolution boards will feature simple patterns that include an ear of corn, a simple flower, or an unobtrusive and heraldic design.
10 Best Antique Bread Boards
Now that you know how to identify an antique bread board, we will show you some standout pieces currently in the market. This should further help you estimate the price to expect for these pieces.
French Wooden Bread & Cheese Board
Antique Round Bread Board
Antique English Bread Cutting Board
Victorian Sycamore Bread Board
Victorian Round Bread Board
Primitive French Bread & Cheese Board
Between 1850 and 1899
Antique Shovel Bread Board
12-inch Round Bread Board
Fish Shape Bread Board
Antique wooden Bread Board
1. French Wooden Bread & Cheese Board
Manufactured using wood—as you would expect with any antique bread board—this piece from France dates back to the 1900s. The seller notes that it is in good shape and does not feature any major signs of wear and tear.
The piece seems to have been forged out of a single block of wood, using traditional cutters to produce the entire piece. Currently listed on eBay, you will need to spend $248 to add this piece to your collection. With 12 people already expressing interest in the board, it looks like the piece has a high demand for its high price.
2. Antique Round Bread Board
If you would like to add one more round antique bread board, this piece will be perfect. The seller notes that they had a full collection—however, this listing is for the medium-sized round piece that has a diameter of approximately 30 inches.
The piece boasts a French Country Modern Farmhouse style and a wood featuring a light brown tone. As you would expect with genuine antiques, this piece is unsigned.
The seller notes that although it has been around for more than 100 years, the piece does not feature any major signs of wear and tear. Currently listed on eBay, this piece is selling at $189.99 and already has 12 interested buyers.
3. Antique English Bread Cutting Board
Originating from Great Britain, this piece boasts a Naïve, Primitive style. The piece has a diameter of 11.5 inches. Apart from the knife marks that act as signs of the board being a genuine antique piece, the seller notes that this piece does not feature any other signs of wear and tear.
The antique bread board boasts decorative hand-carved edges that make it appealing to the eye. Currently listed on eBay, this antique piece is selling at $165 and a total of 12 people have already expressed their interest in getting the bread board.
4. Victorian Sycamore Bread Board
If you would like to go back in time and get a piece from 1890, this Victorian Sycamore Bread Board is more than 130 years old. However, the piece still has a unique design featuring hard curved flowers on the rounded edge and a clear circle in the middle.
Just like its name suggests, this piece is made out of sycamore wood and has its place of origin in England. It has a diameter of 11.25 inches. To get the piece, you will need to spend $159. However, you will have to compete with 6 other interested buyers on eBay.
5. Victorian Round Bread Board
Produced in the 1900s, this piece has been around for 120 years. The circular piece is from England and has a diameter of 11 inches. According to the seller, the antique bread board is forged out of sycamore wood.
The family bread board boasts a thickness of 0.5 inches, making it a very solid piece. According to the seller, the piece has acceptable wear that is constant with its age. This piece is currently listed on eBay and interested buyers can pay $155 to get it. The piece already has 21 interested buyers.
6. Primitive French Bread & Cheese Board
One of the oldest pieces we came across online when doing our research, this antique bread board was made earliest 1850 and latest 1899. The piece has significant signs of wear and tear which indicates more than a century of use.
The seller notes that the wooden board has a length of 16 inches and boasts a width of 12 inches. The wooden French board is currently listed on eBay for $135. Interestingly, the board has already attracted 17 buyers.
7. Antique Shovel Bread Board
This primitive wooden bread was made and used for the first time at the beginning of the 20th century. More than 100 years later, the piece is currently listed on eBay for $83.90 and has already attracted the interest of 17 buyers.
According to the seller, the piece is not too bulky, weighing a total of 2.2 pounds and boasting a length of 26.3 inches and a width of 11.4 inches. Featuring a medium wood tone, the seller notes that this piece boasts a Naïve, Primitive style and has its source in Europe.
8. 12-inch Round Bread Board
Boasting a diameter of 12 inches, this hand-carved piece dates back to the 1900s. The piece has its origin in England and boasts some interesting flower designs on its edges.
The seller notes that the piece does not have any significant signs of wear or tear. According to the seller, the only significant signs of wear are those that were put on the cutting surface by the knives used over the years to cut bread. This piece is currently listed on eBay for $49.99 and has 5 interested buyers who intend to pay this price to add the antique bread board to their collection.
9. Fish Shape Bread Board
The most uniquely shaped bread board we came across online, this piece boasts a fish shape. According to the seller, this piece has its origin in Bulgaria and was produced in the 1900s. A simple look at the piece shows that it was hand-crafted—the curves are too rough, indicating hand-making.
Boasting a Naïve, Primitive style, the piece can be used for cutting bread, cheese, and meat. The seller notes that its only signs of wear and tear are from the years of knives being used on its surface. Listed on eBay, this piece will set the buyer back $35—currently, 16 people have expressed interest in purchasing the piece.
10. Antique Wooden Bread Board
The cheapest piece we have on this list, this antique wooden bread brown also happens to be one of the most attractive. Currently listed on eBay, $22.50 will give you a round, hand-crafted piece with nice art around its edge. A closer look at the piece shows that the art depicts wheat.
The seller notes that this piece is in extremely good condition. Its impressive condition and affordable price have already attracted the interest of more than 25 people—this piece has 5 people as bidders and more than 25 people as watchers. This means that it has a total of 30 interested buyers.
Factors Affecting the Value of Antique Bread Boards
After going through the list above, one thing that has probably become clear to you is that different boards have varying prices. This, then, raises the question of the factors that influence the antique bread boards price. We will look at these factors below:
1. Age of the Bread Board
In most cases, the most expensive bread boards are also the oldest. Compared to newer options, the older bread boards boast a more significant history.
Since more people are interested in antiques for their historical significance, this tends to increase the price. Older pieces also tend to be rarer—a combination of high demand and low supply increase the price.
There is no doubt that bread boards are expected to have signs of wear and tear—this is because knives have been used on the boards for at least a century in the case of antique pieces.
However, buyers will not be interested in something that is overly damaged. Older pieces in decent conditions tend to fetch higher prices compared to older pieces in bad conditions.
The oldest pieces will have the highest prices if they are hard to come by. For example, antique baguette bread boards are hard to come by compared to regular round and rectangle boards.
For this reason, if you find a baguette bread board in good condition, you should expect it to have a higher cost than the regular more accessible pieces.
Most antique bread boards were produced by members of the family and bakeries. This means that no significant technology or machines were put to use during the production of these pieces.
This, therefore, makes interesting carvings very valuable. A piece with interesting carvings will have a higher cost compared to one that is just plain.
Some pieces have more people interested in purchasing them. If more people want a piece, its price will go up.
Antique bread boards are available in a wide range of sizes and shapes and come in various materials. Since they were not considered art, antique bread boards are quite affordable—on eBay, their value does not seem to exceed $500.
The fact that antique bread boards do not have the maker’s mark means that identifying them is not that easy. However, looking at the materials and finer details like carvings and signs of wear resulting from years of use can help you separate antique pieces from newer pieces.
We hope that this guide has answered all your questions about antique bread boards, their value, and their identification. If there is a question we missed, do not hesitate to let us know in the comment section.