Antique Furniture Buying Guide – How to Buy and Collect Antiques

American week, which takes place the third week of each January, is in full swing.

For tips on how to tackle this antique marathon, CGV consulted Andrew Holter, specialist and head of department in American Furniture & Decorative Arts at Christie’s. Below, Holter’s tips on what to look for at this week’s flagship event, the Winter antiques fair (vernissage Thursday, with an exhibition on loan from the Abby Aldrich Rockefeller Folk Art Museum at Colonial Williamsburg), and what to consider when in the decorative arts market.

“When collecting antiques the first and most important rule is buy what you like“Says Holter.” The key to buying coins is to acquire items that you want to live with and enjoy looking at every day. However, if you want to hedge your investment, there are a few golden rules that should apply when valuing an item. State, proportion / design, scarcity, area, origin,and quality all contribute to both the success and the monetary value of a coin. “

This Friday, January 20, Christie’s is organizing a to sell exceptional American furniture, folk art and silverware. “Below are five stunning pieces,” says Holter, “and if we take a look at each of them, we’ll highlight a key point that contributes to its excellence.”



Steinway & Sons Model B Grand Piano:Exceptionally beautiful and extremely rare, this incredible survival is sure to capture the interest of many collectors, institutions or dealers. Apart from its aesthetic beauty, this object is particularly interesting because of everything we know about it, ”says Holter. “Recently the centerpiece of an exhibition at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, this object serves as a keystone to the work of George A. Schastey & Co .. Relatively obscure, George Schastey was a highly skilled cabinetmaker who produced some of the finest interiors and furniture for New York’s elite. What is exceptional about this piano is that the recordings exist at Steinway for the initial order placed by William Clark, a textile merchant from Newark, New Jersey. We know when the piano was ordered and its date of delivery to the customer on December 30, 1882. The Steinway records also reveal that the art case was to be provided by George Schastey. Knowing when an item was made, for whom it was made, and by whom it was made is extremely rare. This type of historical information will often generate enormous enthusiasm in academia and business. Often times when this intersection occurs, a part will perform just fine. “

Estimate: $ 300,500,000

Lot 706: The William Clark Exceptional Aesthetic Movement Metal-Inlaid Satinwood and Sculpté Purpleheart Model B Grand Piano, piano movement by Steinway & Sons (est. 1853), The Art Case documented to George A. Schastey & Co. (w. 1873 -1894), New York City, dated and documented in 1882


Wood, Brown, Hardwood, Furniture, Chair, Tan, Plastic, Armrest,


A figurative queen Anne Maple side chair: “This pair of chairs being sold separately, but consecutively, are rare survivals from the middle of the 18e century. Collectors love objects in their original condition and surface because they have unmistakable and undeniable authenticity, ”says Holter. These highly figured maple chairs retain their original rush seats upholstered with rolled seagrass for upholstery and have a rich, brown surface. which is the result of years of wear and tear and loving care. Curvy in design, these chairs are a virtual symphony of curves that exemplify the taste of Queen Anne and embody the style of William Hogarth. Beauty analysis. Elegantly proportioned and delicate to the touch, these chairs are sure to capture the eyes of the most seasoned collectors, even the novice who simply appreciates all that is beautiful. “

Queen anne followed the William and Mary period and is named after the English monarch who reigned from 1702 to 1714. It is characterized by a sophisticated fluidity, achieved through the use of the newly introduced cabriole foot, curved chair ridges and decorative shells and scrolls, or scroll-like shapes.

Estimate: $ 80,000 – $ 120,000

Lots 538 and 539: A Queen Anne figured maple side chair, possibly William Savery (1722-1787), Philadelphia 1740-1755


Wood, Dresser, Brown, Drawer, Hardwood, White, Wood stain, Furniture, Cabinetry, Line,


A Chippendale Encrypted Walnut Chest Of Drawers: “There’s a phrase in the company that says ‘Cute Sells’,” says Holter. “This chest goes far beyond just being cute. The most successful items are those that are well balanced and proportioned. What makes this chest is its small size. It is very rare to find such a chest as well. small across the face of the piece. The cabinetmaker executed this piece brilliantly with a highly developed balance of height and width. American furniture collectors strive to find pieces that exhibit great verticality. Delicate but strong ogee give a tremendous lift to the chest and the selection of figured wood helps draw the eye up and down the chest. In the words of famous American furniture dealer Albert Sack, this is an excellent “piece of furniture”. ‘apartment “. enough to capture the attention of all who pass by.”

Chippendale Furniture, produced from around 1755 to 1780, based on numerous pieces on drawings in that of Thomas Chippendale The gentleman’s director and cabinetmaker, first published in England in 1754. Distinctive features of the sculpture include acanthus—A foliage-like ornament — opposing and tousled “C” rollers, rockery patterns on the splat (the central support panel of a chair back), knees and skirts of chairs and case pieces, which frequently rest on ball and claw feet.

Estimate: $ 25,000 to $ 50,000

Lot 595: Chippendale Crumpled Chest of Drawers in Walnut, Pennsylvania, 1760-1780

QUALITY (refinement of sculpture)

Brown, wood, furniture, chair, black, hardwood, beige, antique, collectible,


A Chippendale carved mahogany wingback side chair: “Arguably one of the most successful interpretations of Rococo aesthetics in Philadelphia, this chair pulls on many cylinders. quality design and sculpture separate this chair from the pack, ”says Holter. “Masterfully carved with flowing lines, it is astonishing that this chair was made before the Revolution between 1755-1765. One thing that most novice collectors find it difficult to grasp is the precision with which the furniture has been made and decorated. It’s not uncommon to think that because these parts were made with hand tools, they would look a bit rough. In reality, the opposite is true. 18th-century furniture was crafted with precision, and the carving should be crisp, flowing, and done with purpose. This chair has several bells and whistles that are sure to appeal to connoisseurs. “

Estimate: $ 20,000 – $ 30,000

Lot 546: Chippendale carved mahogany winged side chair, sculpture attributed to the Garvan High Chest Carver, Philadelphia 1755-1765


Brown, Brown, Liver, Tan, Beige, Toy,


Federal armchairs (detail above): “These chairs are a virtual gold standard for provenance. Hitting on several of the aforementioned key points to watch out for, these chairs are extremely rare, have surface area, proportions, quality and origin to match, ”says the specialist. “Recorded in the 1791 books of accounts of Major-General John Fiske, who paid cabinetmaker Jacob Sanderson for” 12 complete mahogany chairs for the house. ” It is also known that the sculptor of these chairs, Samuel McIntire, is the one who built the mansion on Fiskes’s Walnut Street. Having period records and furniture order accounts is extremely unusual and highly valued information by collectors. If you are able to determine who owned a coin, that is a wonderful thing. Collectors tend to be drawn to their items not only for their aesthetic beauty, but also for their history. People are naturally drawn to works to which they feel connected. These chairs are superb because we are able to establish a bond between the buyer, cabinet maker and designer / sculptor, which ultimately widens any potential connection with future admirers. “

Federal: This style was introduced to England by Robert adam, George Hepplewhite and Thomas Sheraton as the neoclassical style, which flourished in America from around 1780 to 1820, an era known as the “Federal” period.

Estimate: $ 10,000 -20,000

Lot 550: Major-General John and Sarah Fiske Pair of Federal Carved Mahogany Armchairs with Carved Eagle Handles, documented by Jacob Sanderson (1757-1810), sculpture attributed to Samuel McIntire (1757-1811), Salem Massachusetts, documented to ‘in 1791

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