Collectibles-General (Antiques)/Colby's chairs


Host chair and tag
Host chair and tag  

1 of 6 Colby\'s chairs
1 of 6 Colby's chairs  
Hi! I recently bought a set of 6 chairs at an estate sale. Only one of the 6 chairs had armrests. The host of the sale told me that it's because I'm the early days, these sets always had one "host chair", which is the one with armrests. I was also told that these were high-value antique chairs. I would like to know if there truly were sets made with one host chair, and when did this practice start and end. The chairs are all tagged with "Colby's" and I'm wondering if it's possible to tell how old it is by the serial number on the tag, and how valuable these chairs are actually. Thanks in advance for your response.

Colbys quit manufacturing in the 1920s but continued in business until the 1990s. The label on yours was used in the 1940s which is when the chairs were manufactured by one of the many manufacturers in operation.  They bought from many suppliers so knowing which one made the chairs will remain unknown unless there is a secondary label.

The chairs are done in both the Duncan Phyfe style and the Sheraton style, not an uncommon thing.

As per definition of 'antique' these are not 100 years old so they would not be called antique.  It is a gubermint definition started around 1830 so imported antiques could be taxed. imagine that...

Whether or not 'antique' or collectable or vintage is not relevant.  they can be called antique chairs, or antique and collectable chairs.  either is appropriate.

the host was incorrect about the arm chairs.  sets were manufactured with one two four or all armchairs or no armchairs.  depended on what a person wanted.  these were not turned out one at a time.  even back in the early 1800s there were chair manufacturers turning out thousands of chairs a year.

You bought a nice set of antique chairs manufactured around 1940, post war most likely, in a mahogany finish.  The wood appears to be sweet gum as was customary at the time.

In a shop they would sell at 125-200 each depending on the point of sale, type of shop, and surrounding area.

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robert klein


In regards to American antique, vintage and collectible furniture I can help with wood identification, styles, age, periods, historical coatings, materials, techniques, repair, restoration, refinishing, and value. I do not study mid century and later furniture nor do I deal in lamps, and other smalls. You may ask for values and I will give you current market values, I will not give you 'feel good' values. Understand that there are many factors that contribute to market value. If you want a feel good, unrealistic number, please call a local inexperienced appraiser. It is my desire to help you and in doing so I increase my knowledge as well. For that I thank you.


I have been in the antiques furniture and restoration business and in the sales of antique furniture for 40+ years and have continued my education in the trade attending workshops and seminars by various organizations, institutions, and private collectors.

Professional Refinishers Groop, Int., AIC, Antiques Dealers Association

BA Florida State University BA University of West Florida 1971

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