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Antique Benches & Stools

Antique benches and stools are prized by collectors as historical pieces, as these were the first forms of seating in human history until the 17th century. At that time, chairs were reserved for nobility, while commoners sat and dined on benches or stools. After the chair came into popular use, stools were still useful for resting the feet, industrial seating, or sitting at counters at the local drugstore or public meeting house. Antique stools valued by collectors include variations on the Victorian piano stool, antique step stools, and bar stools. Some industrial stools made of steel and other materials make fine artistic decor items. Many industrial stools have been rescued from factories and warehouses, giving them the urban air of mystery that is common to Art Deco and modern furniture.

When benches developed into settees and modern sofas, they became less common in domestic decor. Benches remained in gardens, public buildings, railroad stations, and houses of worship. Collectors of antique furniture might have an antique bench in the entryway, hall, or bedroom. Benches are featured in outdoor furniture design. Mid-century Modern benches by Eames or Scandinavian designers appear in modern decor as sleek, updated descendants of the antique bench.

Those hunting for antique benches for sale will likely discover a wide array of vintage benches to choose from. The use of fine ironwork for English garden benches began in Queen Mary’s gardens in the 17th century when wrought-iron craftsman Jean Tijua introduced the use of rosettes and stylish embossing. These benches are quite common in antique outdoor decor. Reclaimed stone and wood public benches are also plentiful.

Quick Facts

  • A 19th century Moorish revival bench sold for $8,750 at a Wright Chicago auction in 2015
  • A large brown-buttoned leather mahogany stool with 19th century and later elements sold for $11,370 at A Christie’s London auction in 2015
  • A pair of Chinese huanghuali stools dated to the Ming Dynasty pair sold for over $2,000,000 at Christie’s in 2015

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