I have several small pieces of antiques...from jewelry to house wares which were handed to me by mom and handed to her from 3 generations before her. I also have vintage furnitures, almost 80 years old bought by my parents in law when they were newly married. I never varnished them with lacquer to maintain the patina...just apply beeswax, then polish to provide gloss.
I am lover of antiques and I have treasured few from my childhood. All I can say about antiques is that, they remind us about the medeival times. If someone have antiques from their ancestors they reminds their presence though they have passed long long years back. Antiques are an ancient treasures and their worth keeps on going high by the passing days.
Antique stores are getting so expensive these days. I have found that there are other alternatives that are much cheaper. You can try auction sales. Lots of good finds. There are flea markets. Watch yard-garage sales. People are always getting rid of things and the last alternative to stores are estate sales. Great deals. Hope I have helped.