Collectibles-General (Antiques)/4 antique chairs


chair 1
chair 1  

chair 2
chair 2  
I have 4 antique chairs that have been in the family for at least 50 years, probably much more.  The caned seat of the smaller rocker is in good shape; the caned back obviously not.  The larger rocker is in overall good shape.  The lighter-colored side chair with the vertical elements in the back is mostly intact, but there are a couple of pieces of cane that have snapped.  The caned seat of the other side chair is completely broken.  

While I respect the craftsmanship, these chairs are not my style.  My great uncle used to routinely recane our chairs, but this is not a skill I have.  I would prefer to sell the chairs if they have any value given their condition.  If not, I will likely throw them away.  I am interested in your perspective regarding the value of these chair given their condition.

Thanks for your help.

Jim – Interesting set of chairs. They are all from just before or just after the turn of the 20th century. They were all factory made, probably in the Midwest – Grand Rapids, Chicago, Sheboygan.

The small rocker is Eastlake style, circa 1890. It is made of walnut with walnut burl veneer on the crest rail. In its current condition it would sell at auction in the $25-$50 range.

The larger rocker is made of birch, circa 1910. It is far and away the best of the bunch and would sell for $100+ at auction.

The lighter colored side chair is an institutional chair from a school or office. It is from the same period as the others but has the least value. It would sell for less than $25.

The small side chair with the broken seat is probably the oldest of the group, circa 1880-1890. The vertical spindles in the back are called “honeydippers” and were a signature element in Eastlake styling. With the busted seat it is a $25 chair.

You could make a gift of the chairs you plan to dispose of to a local charity. They may be able to repair them and sell them at a small profit.

Thanks for writing.

Fred Taylor

Collectibles-General (Antiques)

All Answers

Answers by Expert:

Ask Experts


Fred Taylor


I will attempt to answer questions about American antique furniture, including construction details, style, period, manufacturers, care, repair and storage. I do not have any background in appliances, musical instruments, sewing machines, trunks, lighting, clocks or children's and baby furniture and will not respond to questions about those items.


I ran an antique furniture restoration business for twenty years. I am a nationally syndicated columnist on the subject of antique furniture for such publications as Antique Week and New England Antiques Journal. I have produced one video on the subject of furniture identification and my book "HOW TO BE A FURNITURE DETECTIVE" is now available.I have also published articles in Antique Trader, Chicago Art Deco Society, Northeast Magazine, Victorian Decorating and Lifestyles, Professional Refinishing, Antiques and Art Around Florida and Antique Shoppe. You can visit my website at

BSBA Finance, University of Florida, MBA Finance, University of Florida

©2017 All rights reserved.