Collectibles-General (Antiques)/Old chairs



This chair is my latest find. I can't figure the style or if it a reproduction. Any help on the manufacturer, style and age and value would be greatly appreciated. There are no visitable marking to be found. Pretty sure wood is Mahogany.

Gene - Your chair falls in a couple of categories. The overall design is that of a Savonarola chair. Savonarola was an Italian heretic priest who was burned at the stake in the late 15th century. Here's more.

Apparently he favored a chair of this design and the form is named after him.
Even though your chair is not a folding chair it still falls in the category.

The chair also falls in the category of a "face chair" because of the image on the crest. Figures in the back of a chair were very popular in the late 19th and early 20th century. There were many German woodworkers in America at the time and some of the figures came from Black Forest mythology. Others came from Greek and Roman mythology. Some of the gargoyles and grotesques were from Gothic legends of the Middle Ages.

Your chair was made around the turn of the 20th century. It is made of birch with a mahogany finish. That is called  “simulated mahogany” and was correctly explained in the 1902 Sears catalog as being both stronger and less expensive than genuine mahogany.

Here is a similar chair that sold at auction earlier this year for $200.
The auction description says the chair is mahogany but it is also made of birch like yours - a common error.  

Without a manufacturer's label there is no way to tell who made the chair. It would sell at auction in today's market in the $100-$200 range.

Thanks for writing.

Fred Taylor  

Collectibles-General (Antiques)

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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

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