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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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CHIPPENDALE STYLE ARMCHAIR
Apr 20, 10:00 AM CDT
CHIPPENDALE STYLE ARMCHAIR
by Selkirk Auctioneers & Appraisers
Est: $200- $300
$1503 Bids
Six Pennsylvania Chairs
Apr 20, 9:00 AM EDT
Six Pennsylvania Chairs
by Dovetail Auctions, LLC
Est: $5- $500
$452 Bids
Set Three Salem, Massachusetts Queen Anne Chairs
Apr 21, 10:00 AM EDT
Set Three Salem, Massachusetts Queen Anne Chairs
by Devin Moisan Auctioneers, Inc.
Est: $1,000- $1,500
$5502 Bids
Painted Chair
Apr 20, 9:00 AM EDT
Painted Chair
by Dovetail Auctions, LLC
Est: $5- $500
$51 Bid
Set of Six American Painted Plank Seat Chairs, early 19th c., H.- 32 in., W.- 15 in., D.- 18 in. (6 Pcs.)
May 10, 10:00 AM CDT
Set of Six American Painted Plank Seat Chairs, early 19th c., H.- 32 in., W.- 15 in., D.- 18 in. (6 Pcs.)
by Crescent City Auction Gallery
Est: $300- $500
$2001 Bid
Queen Anne Side Chair
Apr 20, 9:00 AM EDT
Queen Anne Side Chair
by Dovetail Auctions, LLC
Est: $5- $500
$51 Bid
Stickley and Brandt oak dolphin carved antique chair
Apr 28, 12:00 PM EDT
Stickley and Brandt oak dolphin carved antique chair
by South Jersey Auction by Babington Auction Inc.
Est: $300- $600
$1501 Bid
FEDERAL MAHOGANY SIDE CHAIR, EARLY 19TH CENTURY 31 1/2 x 18 x 22 in. (80 x 45.7 x 55.9 cm.)
Apr 24, 1:00 PM EDT
FEDERAL MAHOGANY SIDE CHAIR, EARLY 19TH CENTURY 31 1/2 x 18 x 22 in. (80 x 45.7 x 55.9 cm.)
by Potomack Company
Est: $150- $200
$701 Bid
19TH C. AMERICAN SIDE CHAIRS
Apr 19, 10:00 AM EDT
19TH C. AMERICAN SIDE CHAIRS
by Thomaston Place Auction Galleries
Est: $100- $200
$500 Bids
Patriotic Decorated American Potty Armchair, circa 1840
Apr 27, 9:30 AM EDT
Patriotic Decorated American Potty Armchair, circa 1840
by Rafael Osona Auctions
Est: $200- $400
$1500 Bids
A William and Mary Side Chair. Late 17th / early
May 04, 10:00 AM EDT
A William and Mary Side Chair. Late 17th / early
by Marion Antique Auctions
Est: $200- $400
$1000 Bids
Antique mission oak chair attributed to Stickley
Apr 28, 12:00 PM EDT
Antique mission oak chair attributed to Stickley
by South Jersey Auction by Babington Auction Inc.
Est: $100- $300
$250 Bids
A pair of Queen Anne walnut compass-seat side chairs, Philadelphia, PA, circa 1750
Apr 30, 11:00 AM EDT
A pair of Queen Anne walnut compass-seat side chairs, Philadelphia, PA, circa 1750
by Freeman's | Hindman
Est: $3,000- $5,000
$1,5000 Bids
PR C1875 Chippendale Centennial Chairs
Apr 24, 10:00 AM EDT
PR C1875 Chippendale Centennial Chairs
by Bruneau & Co. Auctioneers
Est: $80- $200
$250 Bids
A ladderback rush-seat side chair, West Chester, PA, late 18th century
Apr 30, 11:00 AM EDT
A ladderback rush-seat side chair, West Chester, PA, late 18th century
by Freeman's | Hindman
Est: $500- $800
$2500 Bids
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SHAKER LADDERBACK ROCKING CHAIR New England, 19th Century
Apr 25, 9:30 AM EDT
SHAKER LADDERBACK ROCKING CHAIR New England, 19th Century
by Eldred's
Est: $100- $300
$500 Bids
A Federal carved mahogany armchair, possibly New York, NY, circa 1800
Apr 30, 11:00 AM EDT
A Federal carved mahogany armchair, possibly New York, NY, circa 1800
by Freeman's | Hindman
Est: $800- $1,200
$4000 Bids
BOSTON, MASSACHUSETTS CROOK'D-BACK SIDE CHAIRS, SET OF SIX
Apr 27, 9:00 AM EDT
BOSTON, MASSACHUSETTS CROOK'D-BACK SIDE CHAIRS, SET OF SIX
by Jeffrey S. Evans & Associates
Est: $1,000- $2,000
$5000 Bids
A Chippendale carved walnut armchair, Philadelphia, PA, circa 1760
Apr 30, 11:00 AM EDT
A Chippendale carved walnut armchair, Philadelphia, PA, circa 1760
by Freeman's | Hindman
Est: $1,500- $2,500
$7500 Bids

Sellers Who Sell American Antique Chairs


Freeman's | Hindman

Freeman's | Hindman

Amelia Jeffers

Amelia Jeffers

Bamfords Auctioneers and Valuers Ltd

Bamfords Auctioneers and Valuers Ltd

Adam's

Adam's