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American Buffets

With broad-ranging styles and functional versatility, American sideboards are no longer limited to the dining room. Today, they play a role in almost every part of the house.

The modern buffet is said to have originated from the brännvinsbord, a Swedish table used to serve large amounts of food and alcoholic drinks from the mid-16th through the early-18th century. Beginning at the dawn of the 19th century, the term buffet was adopted as the French word for a sideboard; however, after the Swedish custom of smorgasbords gained widespread popularity in Europe, buffet tables developed their own distinct identity as places from which to serve small meals and pre-dinner drinks.

In the United States, the growing popularity of buffet-style eateries created a desire to replicate the style at home. Many early U.S.-made buffets were based on designs by English cabinetmaker Thomas Shearer, who drew inspiration from Scottish architect and furniture designer Robert Adam. Later, designs would expand into virtually every style.

Ranging from those crafted in the spirit of Duncan Phyfe, the Scottish-born American furniture designer appreciated for his fine Neoclassical style, to the clean-lined, mod-style pieces created by George Nelson for American of Martinsville, American-made buffets often find their way to the auction block.


Quick Facts

  • In 2007, an American Renaissance carved and burled walnut buffet attributed to New York's Alexander Roux sold at a Neal auction for $37,600
  • A very important American Southern Federal inlaid cherry buffet circa 1800 sold in a February 2005 Neal auction for $102,750
  • In 2000 at Christies, a Hewlett Family (New York) Federal inlaid mahogany buffet (1790-1810) sold for an impressive $299,500

Recommended Items at Auction

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E.J. Victor Designer Regency Wood Buffet Credenza
Apr 24, 12:00 PM EDT
E.J. Victor Designer Regency Wood Buffet Credenza
by Hill Auction Gallery
Est: $100- $1,000
$501 Bid
Harden solid cherry 3 drawer queen anne buffet
Apr 28, 12:00 PM EDT
Harden solid cherry 3 drawer queen anne buffet
by South Jersey Auction by Babington Auction Inc.
Est: $200- $400
$1000 Bids
Vintage Baker mahogany inlaid buffet brass galleried hidden storage.
Apr 28, 12:00 PM EDT
Vintage Baker mahogany inlaid buffet brass galleried hidden storage.
by South Jersey Auction by Babington Auction Inc.
Est: $1,000- $3,000
$5000 Bids
Ethan Allen Asian Decorated Buffet
Apr 28, 12:00 PM EDT
Ethan Allen Asian Decorated Buffet
by South Jersey Auction by Babington Auction Inc.
Est: $400- $800
$2000 Bids
Victorian Marble Top Buffet Server
Apr 24, 10:00 AM EDT
Victorian Marble Top Buffet Server
by Bruneau & Co. Auctioneers
Est: $200- $600
$1000 Bids
Vintage burl mahogany and maple buffet
Apr 28, 12:00 PM EDT
Vintage burl mahogany and maple buffet
by South Jersey Auction by Babington Auction Inc.
Est: $200- $400
$1000 Bids
Morado Rosewood Blown Glass Buffet
Apr 27, 10:00 AM EDT
Morado Rosewood Blown Glass Buffet
by Regency Auction House
Est: $800- $1,000
$4000 Bids
Henredon Maple Two Tiered Buffet/ Server
Apr 20, 10:00 AM CDT
Henredon Maple Two Tiered Buffet/ Server
by Link Auction Galleries
Est: $400- $600
$2000 Bids

Sellers Who Sell American Buffets


South Jersey Auction by Babington Auction Inc.

South Jersey Auction by Babington Auction Inc.

Bruneau & Co. Auctioneers

Bruneau & Co. Auctioneers

Link Auction Galleries

Link Auction Galleries

Hill Auction Gallery

Hill Auction Gallery