“That chair is valuable!” I blurted out. “In fact, it’s an antique!”
One of our customers had brought a midcentury chair into the store. She’d gotten it as a newlywed in the 1960s. The wood had a beautiful patina, but the leg was broken. She wanted to know how much it would cost to repair the chair. More importantly, was it worth it? Could she consign a fifty-year-old chair at FCG?
“Fix it,” I said. “It’s worth it.”
Ten years ago, I would have been wrong. But things are changing rapidly in the furniture business. Over the past decade or so, the value of what we used to call antiques has plummeted. At the same time, the interest in midcentury furniture has soared.
Antiques dealers are struggling to adjust to the new reality. Not so long ago furniture had to be at least a century old to qualify as “antique.” Now, 1960s and even 1970s pieces are labeled antiques and commanding prices to match. A Civil War-era dresser might sell for a fraction of what it commanded in the 1980s and 1990s. But a saggy 1950s Knoll sectional will go for thousands of dollars.
The New York Times recently addressed the trend in an article titled “How Low Will Market For Antiques Actually Go?” Some of Manhattan’s most famous antique stores are changing their names – and their wares – to distance themselves from the antiques market. Even the renowned Winter Antiques Market changed its rules, eliminating the century-old restriction and allowing pieces of any age – even contemporary ones – in the show.
So what does this shift mean for Furniture Consignment Gallery? And what does it mean for you, our customers?
Some family heirlooms are now essentially worthless except for sentimental value. You won’t be able to consign your 1920s mahogany dresser or the 19th Century linen press you inherited from your grandmother. But, on the bright side, if your home is filled with quality pieces from the 1950s, 1960s and even the early 1970s, you could be sitting on a gold mine. Literally sitting.
Don’t despair about the fate of your older pieces. And don’t get rid of these heirlooms just because they have lost resale value. We at FCG are big proponents of creative interior design that mixes pieces from different periods. Pair an intricate 18th century tea table reproduction from Baker with two sleek, unfussy midcentury modern chairs and you’ve got an intriguing design.
At FCG, we’ve got the pieces you want to create an updated and fresh look. Stop by one of our stores this weekend and imagine the possibilities!