Chicago Antiques Guide

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A Pair of Gothic Revival Polychrome Chairs

Posted Friday, January 06 by Brian

Gothic Chairs.jpg Can you give me any info on these chairs? They are walnut with hinged seat. 84 inches high, 30 inches wide and 24 inches deep. caraved monk figures on back, carving in scroll on sides, front of seat. Polychrome gold and red painting; european.
Any idea of current value, appraisal from 1987 puts them at 3,000.00 each. The 1987 appraisal said Turn of The Century. If I wanted to sell them, where would I go?
Your web site is very interesting. Thanks for any help you can give.

Answering your last question first, I would recommend that the method most likely to maximize the sale price of the chairs, would be to sell them at a good auction house. While I consider all of the auction houses listed on our Resources page to be good. Some would be more appropriate than others based on their specialties and their market. For your chairs, I would recommend Leslie Hindman's. With that in mind, I forwarded your photos and description to Nadine Bailey in their Furniture department, to get a preliminary auction estimate. I say preliminary because eventually they would need to see the chairs in person to give a written estimate as part of a Consignment Agreement. Based on the photos the specialists in the Furniture Department, at Leslie Hindman's, estimated your chairs at $2,000 to $4,000 for the pair.

There are several reasons why your appraised value may be different than the auction estimate. First, auction estimates are usually conservative values, based on past auction prices for items as close as possible to yours. The auction house would rather meet or beat their estimate, rather than have to explain why it didn't make the estimate. Secondly, your appraisal was very likely an insurance appraisal. Insurance appraisals are the highest of all (compared to Fair Market and Probate appraisals), because the insurance company may have to replace the item in a short period of time and would not have the luxury of "shopping around". Thirdly, the market may have changed for the worse in the last 20 years. People assume that antiques always appreciate in value. That is not true. Antiques go in and out of fashion like other furniture styles. It is indeed possible that the market was better in 1987 than it is today, or may be again in the next 20 years.

While there are no guarantees at auction, I can tell you that if they were mine, and I wanted to sell them, I would send them to auction at Leslie Hindman's.

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