How much are benches and stools 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.

What are the most popular designs for antique benches and stools?

There are many designs and styles of antique benches and stools. Here is a glimpse of some notable antique bench and stool styles:

  • Victorian: Resembling Gothic and Rococo Revival styles, with curved lines and intricate carving, often made of wrought iron and dark oak materials.
  • Mid-Century: Distinguished by the use of solid-colored fabric and straight angled designs, manufactured from approximately 1933 to 1965.
  • Arts and Crafts: This style emerged in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, with earthy details and motifs from the natural world.
  • Louis XVI: Furniture from the time of King Louis XVI in France, featuring visible carved wooden legs and richly upholstered seats.
  • Chippendale: Incorporating ornate Gothic-style tracery and mahogany accents, widespread in England in the 1700s.

What are the categories of antique benches and stools?

  • Bar stools: Traditionally made of wood or metal (like chrome) with padded seats, often without backrests, sometimes equipped with a swivel design and footrest.
  • Kitchen stools: Varied styles to complement kitchen design, with different designs from various periods.

Types of benches include:

  • Monk bench: Made of wood, usually not cushioned, with a high back, suitable for entrances and hallways.
  • Storage bench: Similar to trunks, with or without a backrest, often upholstered or hard-seated, with a storage space beneath the seat.
  • Triple bench: Benches with three separated seats.
  • Vanity bench: Used for vanities in bedrooms or bathrooms, usually without backrests and upholstered.
  • Choir bench: Wooden, unupholstered, with undivided seats.
  • Gossip Bench: Shaped so that two seats are joined together but facing in opposite directions.

What materials are most commonly used for benches and stools?

  • Wood: Hardwoods like mahogany, oak, walnut, etc., and softwoods like pine, spruce, fir, etc., with hardwood generally being more highly valued.
  • Wrought iron: Commonly used for outdoor benches and stools, heavy and durable.
  • Metals: Steel and aluminum used in furniture manufacturing.
  • Upholstery: Fabrics like velvet, brocade, silk, cotton, or wool, and synthetic materials like suede or vinyl for upholstery.

What were some of the most expensive stools and benches sold at auction?

  • Set of four Ming Dynasty stools made of huanghuali wood sold for $861,551 at Sotheby's in 2015.
  • A huanghuali bench from the same era went for $483,655 in 2020 at Sotheby's.
  • A 1992 bronze bench shaped like a jaguar by Judy Kensley McKie sold for $200,000 at Christie's in 2020.

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