Here is a photo of my father’s Eames Chair, purchased in 1974! Many copies of this iconic chair have been made, but there is still only one Original Eames!
Many clients ask me what makes some vintage furniture so expensive and why is some vintage furniture so affordable? There is definitely more than one factor. As the desire for quality and sustainable design has grown, so have the prices of vintage furniture and home decor!
In theory and basic definition, any furniture older than 20 years is considered vintage. Does that mean your IKEA plastic chair, if it lasts that long is valuable – NO! Although, regardless of price, if anything is important to you, it is valuable! Here is a list of the high quality, meaning value, of your vintage furniture and vintage finds:
1: Who is the maker? Was the piece made by a high end company that produced limited quantities? Is the craftsmanship indicative of a certain time period and we do not see that type of work today? For example, most pieces by Baker, Henredon, Baughman, Eames and Century will retain their vintage value.
2.Why does the cost of vintage furniture vary so much? Now if you are down at Salvation Army, and you find a Baker Dresser for $250, you, my friend, have just hit the vintage jackpot! Most likely, someone did not realize the value of the piece they had and wanted to get rid of it, so they donated it. If you are a vintage dealer, you could probably get 5 times that amount. Although, most thrift stores have caught on to the trend and their vintage furniture prices are rising!
3. What goes into bringing the piece back to life or upcycling it? Often, when I redo a piece of upholstered furniture customers will ask me, why the piece is more than or as much as a piece from a store like Crate and Barrel. By the way, I am a big fan of stores like Ikea and Crate and Barrel (Hence, one of the reasons for ‘Mix’, in my stores name)! First of all, high quality vintage, see #1, is made in such a sustainable, high quality way, that we do not see in most brands today. Sometimes, very high end furniture companies replicate this high quality process, but then you pay the price for that work! As a practice, I only purchase very high quality pieces to work with. Then factors like what goes into bringing each piece to life, cost of finishes and fabric, do all of the cushions need replacing, etc. I can guarantee that if you look at your large pieces of furniture as investments in the world’s sustainability and your chance of it retaining it’s value, a vintage chair purchased for $1,800 will hold its value over a big box, mass produced chair!
4. Why do dealers charge more than thrift stores? As a dealer, I put a tremendous amount of time and effort in finding pieces to bring back to life and sell. If you are not educated in vintage furniture, you might pick up a 10 year old junker dresser at a thrift store, that the owner has labeled vintage. The pieces dealers sell are usually guaranteed to be of a high quality and value. We have weeded through the pieces for you!
In conclusion, love what you have, but remember that as you grow your nest, quality vintage is more earth friendly and a better investment than furniture purchased at a store that has mass produced items. If you have questions, need advice or need appraisals feel free to contact me: email@example.com