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Collectibles-General (Antiques)/Michigan Chair Co. - Chair Inquiry


Hall Chair
Hall Chair  
Hi Fred,
I appreciate that you have significant expertise in American antique furniture, and would like your expert opinion of the vintage and value of a Michigan Chair Company hall chair (photo attached).  This interesting piece of furniture has been in my family for several generations.  The stain finish is somewhat weathered, and I am considering removing the stain to expose the natural oak.  I look forward to your comments.  


David - Your hall chair is a "face" chair from the very early part of the 20th century. You did not mention the description of the Michigan Chair Co label but from that period it should be a circle with the name of the company on the perimeter and the words "Chairs and Tables" in the center. Around 1911 the words in the center were changed to "Chairs and Hall Furniture" and by the 1920s the label was Old English script underlined by a ribbon.

The photo does not look like oak but its hard to tell in a photo. The front lower curved panel is most likely molded plywood and probably is made of birch. I probably would not disturb that old finish unless there is family pressure to do so. Once it is gone it can never be recovered.

The entire concept of "hall furniture" is a very serious Victorian subject with lots of boundaries and rules. A good discussion of the subject can be found in the book "Death in the Dining Room and Other Tales of Victorian Culture" by Kenneth L. Ames. It is available on Amazon at

Your chair would sell at auction in original condition in the $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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