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American Antique Chairs

Early antique chairs made in America adopted the styles of their European brethren. Chairs in the American colonies featured turned arms and legs and spindle backs. English-inspired wainscot chairs were also present, one of which has been handed down as the chair of school presidents at Yale University.

Antique American chairs eventually took on their own idiosyncrasies, resulting in the Federal style resurrected by the New York leader of the furniture trade Duncan Pfyfe. Hitchcock chairs with rush or cane seats came out of Connecticut. These chairs are often painted black or dark green and embellished with painted leaves, flowers, and fruit. Designs native to the colonies include the ladder-back chairs of the Appalachians and the Shakers’ ladder-back, cane-seat rocking chairs. Antique rocking chairs are also a testament to early American history. The idea may have found form in English chairs, but their popularity swelled in America.

The Arts and Crafts movement of the early 20th century took American tastes away from mass production and refocused them on traditional craftsmanship. Mission chairs and rocking chairs by Gustav Stickley are the American interpretation of the movement, featuring clean lines, leather seats, and unpainted wood. Mid-century modern style followed. Some of the most famous chairs of this era were produced by Charles and Ray Eames for the Henry Miller Furniture Company. These chairs were simple molded plywood and fiberglass mounted on static metal legs or wooden rockers.


Quick Facts

  • In 2015, federal agents recovered President Theodore Roosevelt’s rocking chair from an auction in Atlanta. The piece had been missing from the White House since the 18th century when an employee was told he could take the chair home. The chair remained in the employee’s family until put up for auction
  • A pair of 670 lounge chairs and a 671 ottoman designed by Charles and Ray Eames in 1957 realized a price of $16,639 at an auction by Christie’s in 2011
  • A Mathew Brady Studio carved-oak armchair circa 1857 by Bembe and Kimbel New York sold for $449,000 in a Bonhams auction in 2015

Recommended Items at Auction

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Shop of the Crafters, Inlaid dining chairs model 320, pair
Dec 13, 11:00 AM CST
Shop of the Crafters, Inlaid dining chairs model 320, pair
by Toomey & Co. Auctioneers
Est: $700- $900
$6001 Bid
PR OF NYC MAHOG. 18THC. CHAIRS SHELL CARVED CREST & KNEES BALL & CLAW FEET & GADROONED SEAT RAILS
Dec 04, 10:30 AM EST
PR OF NYC MAHOG. 18THC. CHAIRS SHELL CARVED CREST & KNEES BALL & CLAW FEET & GADROONED SEAT RAILS
by Carlsen Gallery, Inc.
Est: $1,000- $1,500
$5000 Bids
Roycroft Set of 6 Corset-Back Chairs c1910
Dec 03, 11:00 AM PST
Roycroft Set of 6 Corset-Back Chairs c1910
by California Historical Design, Inc
Est: $7,500- $9,500
$5,0000 Bids
Set of Eight American Carved Wood Dining Chairs
Dec 10, 10:00 AM EST
Set of Eight American Carved Wood Dining Chairs
by Alex Cooper
Est: $800- $1,000
$4000 Bids
Early L&JG Stickley Onondaga - Tobey Furniture Co Wavy-Slat Armchair c1902
Dec 03, 11:00 AM PST
Early L&JG Stickley Onondaga - Tobey Furniture Co Wavy-Slat Armchair c1902
by California Historical Design, Inc
Est: $900- $1,200
$6000 Bids
Roycroft #029 Oak Straddle/Meditation Chair c1905
Dec 03, 11:00 AM PST
Roycroft #029 Oak Straddle/Meditation Chair c1905
by California Historical Design, Inc
Est: $2,000- $3,000
$1,5000 Bids
Set of 6 Lifetime Puritan #534 1/2 Dining Chairs c1912
Dec 03, 11:00 AM PST
Set of 6 Lifetime Puritan #534 1/2 Dining Chairs c1912
by California Historical Design, Inc
Est: $2,000- $2,500
$1,5000 Bids
Gustav Stickley High Chair c1910
Dec 03, 11:00 AM PST
Gustav Stickley High Chair c1910
by California Historical Design, Inc
Est: $200- $300
$1500 Bids
High chair and kitchen stoll
Dec 10, 9:00 AM EST
High chair and kitchen stoll
by Dovetail Auctions, LLC
Est: $5- $500
$50 Bids
Rush Seat Chairs
Dec 10, 9:00 AM EST
Rush Seat Chairs
by Dovetail Auctions, LLC
Est: $5- $500
$50 Bids
A set of six Federal style carved mahogany dining chairs late 19th / 20th century
Dec 09, 11:00 AM EST
A set of six Federal style carved mahogany dining chairs late 19th / 20th century
by Freeman's
Est: $1,500- $2,500
$7500 Bids
C. 1800 AMERICAN SHIELD BACK HEPPLEWHITE CHAIR 39" X 20 3/4" X 16 1/2"
Dec 04, 10:30 AM EST
C. 1800 AMERICAN SHIELD BACK HEPPLEWHITE CHAIR 39" X 20 3/4" X 16 1/2"
by Carlsen Gallery, Inc.
Est: $100- $200
$500 Bids
Five Eastlake Walnut Caned Seat Side Chairs
Dec 08, 10:00 AM EST
Five Eastlake Walnut Caned Seat Side Chairs
by Nye & Company
Est: $80- $120
$400 Bids
JM Young Slatted Morris Chair c1910
Dec 03, 11:00 AM PST
JM Young Slatted Morris Chair c1910
by California Historical Design, Inc
Est: $1,500- $2,000
$1,0000 Bids
L&JG Stickley Open-Arm Morris Rocker c1912-1915
Dec 03, 11:00 AM PST
L&JG Stickley Open-Arm Morris Rocker c1912-1915
by California Historical Design, Inc
Est: $1,800- $2,200
$1,2000 Bids
Antique child's potty chair
Dec 04, 11:30 PM EST
Antique child's potty chair
by Baker's Antiques and Auctions
Est: $65- $75
$400 Bids
Painted Chairs
Dec 10, 9:00 AM EST
Painted Chairs
by Dovetail Auctions, LLC
Est: $5- $500
$50 Bids
PAIR QUEEN ANNE SIDE CHAIRS WITH C-SCROLLS
Dec 04, 10:30 AM EST
PAIR QUEEN ANNE SIDE CHAIRS WITH C-SCROLLS
by Butterscotch Auction Gallery LLC
Est: $2,500- $4,000
$1,8000 Bids
Harvey Ellis for Gustav Stickley, Rare high-back inlaid sewing rocker
Dec 13, 11:00 AM CST
Harvey Ellis for Gustav Stickley, Rare high-back inlaid sewing rocker
by Toomey & Co. Auctioneers
Est: $2,000- $3,000
$1,0000 Bids
Gustav Stickley, Tall-back spindle chair, model 384
Dec 13, 11:00 AM CST
Gustav Stickley, Tall-back spindle chair, model 384
by Toomey & Co. Auctioneers
Est: $1,000- $2,000
$8000 Bids
PAIR PERIOD FEDERAL SIDE CHAIRS
Dec 04, 10:30 AM EST
PAIR PERIOD FEDERAL SIDE CHAIRS
by Butterscotch Auction Gallery LLC
Est: $200- $400
$1500 Bids
Chairs
Dec 10, 9:00 AM EST
Chairs
by Dovetail Auctions, LLC
Est: $5- $500
$50 Bids

Sellers Who Sell American Antique Chairs


California Historical Design, Inc

California Historical Design, Inc

Toomey & Co. Auctioneers

Toomey & Co. Auctioneers

Freeman's

Freeman's