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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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Five Federal Painted Rush Seat Side Chairs
Oct 28, 10:00 AM EDT
Five Federal Painted Rush Seat Side Chairs
by Nye & Company
Est: $200- $300
$1001 Bid
PAIR OF ELEGANT TAN VELVET AND CHROME HARVEY
Nov 13, 10:00 AM EST
PAIR OF ELEGANT TAN VELVET AND CHROME HARVEY
by Marion Antique Auctions
Est: $300- $500
$1500 Bids
Group of Six Ladderback Chairs
Oct 28, 10:00 AM EDT
Group of Six Ladderback Chairs
by Nye & Company
Est: $200- $300
$1000 Bids
Pair of Late Federal Figures Maple Side Chairs
Oct 28, 10:00 AM EDT
Pair of Late Federal Figures Maple Side Chairs
by Nye & Company
Est: $400- $600
$2000 Bids
Pair of American Hepplewhite Side Chairs Attributed to Samuel McIntyre, MA
Nov 06, 12:00 PM EDT
Pair of American Hepplewhite Side Chairs Attributed to Samuel McIntyre, MA
by Cottone Auctions
Est: $800- $1,200
$4000 Bids
A PAIR OF VERY SIMILAR LATE 18TH CENTURY AMERICAN
Nov 13, 10:00 AM EST
A PAIR OF VERY SIMILAR LATE 18TH CENTURY AMERICAN
by Marion Antique Auctions
Est: $400- $600
$2000 Bids
Antique American Shaker Style Rocking Chair
Oct 28, 12:00 PM EDT
Antique American Shaker Style Rocking Chair
by Greenwich Auction
Est: $100- $150
$500 Bids
EARLY ENGLISH OAK ARMCHAIR
Nov 12, 11:00 AM EST
EARLY ENGLISH OAK ARMCHAIR
by Thomaston Place Auction Galleries
Est: $3,000- $5,000
$1,5000 Bids
RARE PAIR OF 18TH C. NEW YORK CHIPPENDALE WALNUT CHAIRS PURPORTEDLY FROM THE GEN. JOHN CADWALADER HOUSE
Nov 13, 11:00 AM EST
RARE PAIR OF 18TH C. NEW YORK CHIPPENDALE WALNUT CHAIRS PURPORTEDLY FROM THE GEN. JOHN CADWALADER HOUSE
by Thomaston Place Auction Galleries
Est: $5,000- $10,000
$2,5000 Bids
A SERIES OF SIX FRUIT TOOLED MAHOGANY CHAIRS
Nov 09, 9:30 AM CET
A SERIES OF SIX FRUIT TOOLED MAHOGANY CHAIRS
by Nagel Auction
Est: €650- €651
€6500 Bids
A Federal carved and inlaid mahogany lolling chair Massachusetts, circa 1815
Nov 10, 11:00 AM EST
A Federal carved and inlaid mahogany lolling chair Massachusetts, circa 1815
by Freeman's
Est: $1,500- $2,500
$7500 Bids
Set of six Federal carved mahogany eagle-back klismos chairs New York, NY, circa 1820
Nov 10, 11:00 AM EST
Set of six Federal carved mahogany eagle-back klismos chairs New York, NY, circa 1820
by Freeman's
Est: $2,500- $3,500
$1,3000 Bids
A set of ten Classical carved mahogany dining chairs Boston, MA, circa 1815
Nov 10, 11:00 AM EST
A set of ten Classical carved mahogany dining chairs Boston, MA, circa 1815
by Freeman's
Est: $3,000- $5,000
$1,5000 Bids
Antique Arts & Crafts Stickley Bros Mission Armchair
Nov 06, 12:00 PM EDT
Antique Arts & Crafts Stickley Bros Mission Armchair
by Winfield Auction Gallery
Est: $600- $800
$3000 Bids
6 Antique RJ Horner School Carved Oak Tall Back Chairs
Nov 06, 12:00 PM EDT
6 Antique RJ Horner School Carved Oak Tall Back Chairs
by Winfield Auction Gallery
Est: $400- $600
$2000 Bids
A Pair of American Chippendale Walnut Side Chairs
Nov 06, 10:00 AM EDT
A Pair of American Chippendale Walnut Side Chairs
by Alex Cooper
Est: $3,000- $5,000
$1,5000 Bids
Four American "Hitchcock" Mixed Wood Side Chairs
Nov 19, 2:00 PM CST
Four American "Hitchcock" Mixed Wood Side Chairs
by Neal Auction Company
Est: $250- $350
$2000 Bids
Pair of American Classical Mahogany Side Chairs
Nov 19, 2:00 PM CST
Pair of American Classical Mahogany Side Chairs
by Neal Auction Company
Est: $100- $150
$700 Bids
American Classical Revival Mahogany Side Chair
Nov 19, 2:00 PM CST
American Classical Revival Mahogany Side Chair
by Neal Auction Company
Est: $100- $200
$700 Bids
American Carved Mahogany Library Chair
Nov 20, 11:00 AM CST
American Carved Mahogany Library Chair
by Neal Auction Company
Est: $400- $600
$3000 Bids
American Carved mahogany Dining Chairs, Assoc.
Nov 20, 11:00 AM CST
American Carved mahogany Dining Chairs, Assoc.
by Neal Auction Company
Est: $600- $800
$4000 Bids
American Federal Inlaid Mahogany Armchair
Nov 20, 11:00 AM CST
American Federal Inlaid Mahogany Armchair
by Neal Auction Company
Est: $500- $800
$3000 Bids
American Renaissance Revival Six Piece Parlor Set
Nov 06, 10:00 AM EDT
American Renaissance Revival Six Piece Parlor Set
by Alex Cooper
Est: $800- $1,000
$4000 Bids
Rosewood Side Chairs, attr. Belter
Nov 20, 11:00 AM CST
Rosewood Side Chairs, attr. Belter
by Neal Auction Company
Est: $8,000- $12,000
$5,0000 Bids

Sellers Who Sell American Antique Chairs


Neal Auction Company

Neal Auction Company

Doyle New York

Doyle New York

Freeman's

Freeman's

Nye & Company

Nye & Company