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Furniture

Furniture

Antique furniture, a form of decorative art, is considered valuable from both a practical and artistic standpoint. Buyers often collect and care for period pieces as long-term investments and prized, beautiful, or historically important possessions.

The Types of Antique Furniture For Sale at Auction

The antique furniture market includes an array of types (e.g. tables, chairs, dressers, etc.), designs, historical eras, and styles. Broadly speaking, the most popularly collected items are American, European (especially English), and Asian. Within each of these categories are historic periods marked by stylistic movements, each with their own modern-day admirers looking to expand their coveted collections.

A period piece is made during the original historic era, whereas a style piece is one with the aesthetic of an earlier time, but made later on.

Asian Furniture

Antique Asian furniture comes in a variety of styles, from elaborately decorated Chinese pieces to Japanese minimalist designs. Some of the most widely known types originate from China, Japan, Pakistan, and Indonesia, but Korea, Mongolia, and South East Asian countries also have their own furniture traditions.

Antique Asian pieces are often made from rare and exotic woods; rosewood and bamboo, for example, are highly sought after in Chinese furniture, and nearly-extinct Huanghuali, a type of rosewood used during the Ching and Ming dynasties, is always in high demand because of its scarcity. Japanese pieces date back to the Tokugawa and Meiji eras, and iron-decorated chests called Tansu are some of the most coveted Japanese antiques.

“The most sought after pieces in the world right now are Chinese Huanghuali and Zitan examples,” says Deric Torres, Vice President and Director of Furniture and Decorative Arts at Clars Auction Gallery.

European Furniture

From the Middle Ages to the 19th century, European furniture went through several eras of style driven by a series of cultural and artistic movements. Most notably, European furniture is crafted with the wood from mahogany, oak, and walnut trees that went extinct over 100 years ago, making antique European furniture almost impossible to reproduce.

A number of styles, including Rococo and Neoclassicism, were seen throughout Western Europe while other styles were distinct to a particular country such as France (Rococo being a notable type), the Netherlands, Italy, Spain, and Russia. Pieces originating from England are arguably the most sought-after furniture style from Europe.

American Furniture

European styles migrated to the American colonies in the 17th and 18th centuries when crafters reworked them into aesthetic movements of their own. Wood and materials used were based on what was available within the settled areas, making American furniture relatively easy to date and trace back to its origins.

Makers located in urban centers like Boston, Philadelphia, and New York took established design elements and made them unique, further differentiating American furniture from some of their European forerunners, where styles are diverse across not only time periods, but specific locations also.

The Antique Furniture Market

Ever since the 2008 economic crisis, the antique furniture auction market has been on an upswing. Interest in museum-quality antique furniture lags behind that of the lively fine art market due to a number of commercial, personal, and cultural influences, so prices are generally on the lower end of the scale, but exceptional collector pieces can still sell for top dollar.

As is the case in any other investment market, that of antique furniture fluctuates based on taste and consumer demand, sometimes regardless of the maker’s renown. While the desire for mid-century modern pieces is quelling, 1980s American craft furniture, for example, is gaining interest. This kind of ebb and flow is common every 30 or so years, often correlating with changing generations of new buyers.

Learn more from the Invaluable Guide to Buying Furniture.

Recommended Items at Auction

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A 19thC gilt bronze tazza of twin handled urn form on a squared base with b
Feb 26, 10:00 AM EST
A 19thC gilt bronze tazza of twin handled urn form on a squared base with b
by Eldred's
Est: $50- $100
$503 Bids
Andy Warhol "Portrait of Maurice, 1976" Custom Framed
Aug 23, 2:15 AM EDT
Andy Warhol "Portrait of Maurice, 1976" Custom Framed
by Stout Auctions Toy and Train Specialists
Est: $650- $850
$1002 Bids
ANTIQUE CLASSIC PERSIAN KASHAN HAND KNOTTED RUG WITH 200+ KPSI – 9.8 x 14.0
Feb 22, 10:00 AM PKT
ANTIQUE CLASSIC PERSIAN KASHAN HAND KNOTTED RUG WITH 200+ KPSI – 9.8 x 14.0
by Asté Maison de ventes
Est: $4,000- $5,000
$2,0001 Bid
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A 19thC gilt bronze tazza of twin handled urn form on a squared base with b
Feb 26, 10:00 AM EST
A 19thC gilt bronze tazza of twin handled urn form on a squared base with b
by Eldred's
Est: $50- $100
$500 Bids
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Early Pennsylvania wooden tape loom, ca. 1800
Feb 28, 10:00 AM EST
Early Pennsylvania wooden tape loom, ca. 1800
by Eldred's
Est: $140- $200
$700 Bids
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Collection of domestic textiles
Feb 28, 10:00 AM EST
Collection of domestic textiles
by Eldred's
Est: $100- $200
$1000 Bids
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Early Pennsylvania wooden tape loom, ca. 1800
Feb 28, 10:00 AM EST
Early Pennsylvania wooden tape loom, ca. 1800
by Eldred's
Est: $140- $200
$700 Bids
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Collection of domestic textiles
Feb 28, 10:00 AM EST
Collection of domestic textiles
by Eldred's
Est: $100- $200
$1000 Bids
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OGGETTISTICA
Mar 05, 10:00 AM EST
OGGETTISTICA
by Eldred's
Est: $200- $250
$2000 Bids
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OGGETTISTICA
Mar 05, 10:00 AM EST
OGGETTISTICA
by Eldred's
Est: $200- $250
$2000 Bids
USA Patent 167721 A Night Lamp by James H Rich
Aug 11, 2:15 PM EDT
USA Patent 167721 A Night Lamp by James H Rich
by Stout Auctions Toy and Train Specialists
Est: $100- $200
$1000 Bids
Vintage 9 Pc Art Deco Vanity Dresser Set (Brush, Powder Jar, Mirror, Nail Buffer,, Etc..)
Aug 15, 2:15 PM EDT
Vintage 9 Pc Art Deco Vanity Dresser Set (Brush, Powder Jar, Mirror, Nail Buffer,, Etc..)
by Stout Auctions Toy and Train Specialists
Est: $0- $0
$1000 Bids
Early Copper Steam Bath having variable sized circular supports resting on a raised metal stand
Aug 19, 2:15 PM EDT
Early Copper Steam Bath having variable sized circular supports resting on a raised metal stand
by Stout Auctions Toy and Train Specialists
Est: $70- $90
$1000 Bids
Pino (1931-2010), "Almost Ready" Limited Edition on Canvas, Numbered and Hand Signed with Certificate of Authenticity.
Aug 23, 2:15 AM EDT
Pino (1931-2010), "Almost Ready" Limited Edition on Canvas, Numbered and Hand Signed with Certificate of Authenticity.
by Stout Auctions Toy and Train Specialists
Est: $1,160- $1,450
$1000 Bids
"Marvin Martian Golf" Limited Edition Giclee from Warner Bros., Numbered with Hologram Seal and Certificate of Authenticity.
Aug 23, 2:15 AM EDT
"Marvin Martian Golf" Limited Edition Giclee from Warner Bros., Numbered with Hologram Seal and Certificate of Authenticity.
by Stout Auctions Toy and Train Specialists
Est: $256- $320
$1000 Bids
ETHAN ALLEN STENCILED MAPLE MIRROR
Aug 24, 1:15 PM EDT
ETHAN ALLEN STENCILED MAPLE MIRROR
by Stout Auctions Toy and Train Specialists
Est: $100- $150
$1000 Bids
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Primitive Firkin bucket
May 06, 10:00 AM EDT
Primitive Firkin bucket
by Eldred's
Est: $0- $0
$900 Bids
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Primitive wagon bucket
May 06, 10:00 AM EDT
Primitive wagon bucket
by Eldred's
Est: $0- $0
$50 Bids
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Primitive Firkin bucket
May 06, 10:00 AM EDT
Primitive Firkin bucket
by Eldred's
Est: $0- $0
$900 Bids
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Primitive wagon bucket
May 06, 10:00 AM EDT
Primitive wagon bucket
by Eldred's
Est: $0- $0
$50 Bids
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Four pewter candlesticks, etc.
May 20, 10:00 AM EDT
Four pewter candlesticks, etc.
by Eldred's
Est: $140- $240
$700 Bids

Sellers Who Sell Furniture


Eldred's

Eldred's

Stout Auctions Toy and Train Specialists

Stout Auctions Toy and Train Specialists

Asté Maison de ventes

Asté Maison de ventes

Carlo Bonte Auctions

Carlo Bonte Auctions