How much is antique furniture worth?

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Mearto Specialist:


Delia has nearly 30 years of experience at regional and international auction houses in the United States, and is also currently the editor of an art and antiques trade publication that tracks market trends, auctions and antiques shows. Delia is a generalist in glass, ceramics, silver and other metals, fine art, textiles, antiquities, wines and spirits, stamps and currency, collectibles and dolls and toys. Additionally, she is a specialist in 15th to 21st Century furniture from around the world. Her extensive professional network of appraisers, curators, dealers and collectors has proven to be an invaluable resource in her work for Mearto.

How is the value of antique furniture determined?

Aside from its age and authenticity, one of the most important factors to consider is the furniture's condition. Because furniture serves both an ornamental and a functional purpose, most pieces needed to be repaired or re-upholstered over centuries of use. Preservation with respect for original materials usually indicates a higher value. Another very important consideration is the quality of the piece. How fine is the work and how rare would it have been for the time period in which it was created? As a final step, we can often identify the workshop or master who created a piece of furniture. Some are more in demand than others.

We often help our customers to find the value of their antique furniture. Here are a few antique furniture appraisals we have done:

An antique Southwestern Mission style carved tiger oak and leather armchair
American, early 20th Century $400 to 600

Stickley furniture -those by Gustave and the joint Stickley Bros - are perennial favorites with collectors. $500 to $800

What do experts look for in antique furniture?

The first thing we look at when we appraise antique furniture is the style and material used. This is to assign a date to the piece. We also look for defects. For example, we often see that a piece of period furniture has a nice front, but that there are a lot of mistakes on the reverse side, which faces the wall. We ask ourselves questions like: are the drawers properly constructed, or is there hardware, like screws, present which is not period-appropriate? Then, of course, we have a look at the overall condition to see if the piece was used. In certain instances, this can point to a forgery or marriage (later combination of original and newer parts). For example, no polished areas under the drawer would be a clue that the furniture, or at least parts of the furniture, are not original.

Is antique furniture valuable?

The world's most expensive piece of antique furniture was sold in 2004 for the massive sum of $36.7 million. The ornate piece is known as the Badminton Cabinet and is inlaid with precious stones. It was sold by the 3rd Duke of Beaufort's descendants and now resides in the Liechtenstein Museum. The second-highest price was paid in 2009 when Christie's auctioned a leather and wood "Dragon's Chair" for approximately $26.6 million. The chair was designed by Eileen Gray and once owned by Yves St. Laurent, underlining the impact provenance can have on the value of antique furniture. Though not every piece is going to fetch an eight-figure price - and, in fact, most don't - there is certainly a demand for high-quality pieces with interesting history.

What antique furniture is currently selling?

Antique furniture is one of the segments of the art market which fell in price in the last years. Currently, the market is focused on high-class pieces or pieces which are directly connected to a known person or provenance. Reproductions from the second half of the 19th century have flooded the market and are of such high quality that they can easily be confused for an original. However, their value is usually significantly lower, so it's important to know whether you have an original or a reproduction if you want to know the value of your antique furniture.

How easy is it to appraise antique furniture online?

Antique furniture is one of the more straightforward items that we appraise. By providing a thorough description and some detailed images of your piece, our experts can provide a reliable online appraisal within 48 hours. Because antique furniture can be extremely heavy and difficult to transport, an online appraisal from Mearto makes it easier to know the value of your antique furniture without having to move it or pay for an appraiser to visit your home.

What our customers say:

150,000+ satisfied customers

4.6/5 ★★★★★ rating

I received a response and information regarding my items in less than 48 hours, which I appreciated. The appraiser was very knowledgable.

Kristal Hicks Torpey

I highly recommend Mearto if you're curious of the value or background of any item in your home.
The appraisal I received from Mearto was detailed and thorough.

Austin Phillips

I received a quality appraisal in less than 48 hours. I also acquired a second opinion of an industry expert who concurred with Mearto's appraised value.  

Todd Roper

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