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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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TWO SHAKER ROCKING CHAIRS.
Jul 26, 10:00 AM EDT
TWO SHAKER ROCKING CHAIRS.
by Amelia Jeffers
Est: $100- $300
$1504 Bids
Antique Ritter Imperial Columbia Dental Chair
Aug 03, 10:00 AM EDT
Antique Ritter Imperial Columbia Dental Chair
by Mebane Antique Auction
Est: $100- $10,000
$502 Bids
COUNTRY QUEEN ARMCHAIR.
Jul 26, 10:00 AM EDT
COUNTRY QUEEN ARMCHAIR.
by Amelia Jeffers
Est: $150- $300
$802 Bids
COUNTRY CORNER CHAIR.
Jul 26, 10:00 AM EDT
COUNTRY CORNER CHAIR.
by Amelia Jeffers
Est: $50- $100
$201 Bid
3 Antique Hitchcock Painted Rush Seat Chairs
Jul 25, 12:00 PM EDT
3 Antique Hitchcock Painted Rush Seat Chairs
by Greenwich Auction
Est: $200- $300
$1000 Bids
18TH C. NEW ENGLAND RED PAINTED LADDER BACK ARMCHAIR.
Jul 31, 10:00 AM EDT
18TH C. NEW ENGLAND RED PAINTED LADDER BACK ARMCHAIR.
by William Smith Auctions
Est: $500- $800
$2500 Bids
Chippendale Carved Mahogany Side Chair
Aug 01, 10:00 AM EDT
Chippendale Carved Mahogany Side Chair
by Nye & Company
Est: $300- $500
$1500 Bids
American Rococo Revival Carved Rosewood Armchair, late 19th c., H.- 51 in., W.- 25 in., D.- 29 in.
Aug 02, 10:00 AM CDT
American Rococo Revival Carved Rosewood Armchair, late 19th c., H.- 51 in., W.- 25 in., D.- 29 in.
by Crescent City Auction Gallery
Est: $300- $500
$1500 Bids
Antique Hitchcock Black Painted Plank Seat Chair
Jul 25, 12:00 PM EDT
Antique Hitchcock Black Painted Plank Seat Chair
by Greenwich Auction
Est: $50- $100
$500 Bids
R J Horner Hand Carved Oak Saddle Chair
Jul 25, 12:00 PM EDT
R J Horner Hand Carved Oak Saddle Chair
by Greenwich Auction
Est: $200- $300
$1000 Bids
SIX COUNTRY EMPIRE CANE SEAT CHAIRS.
Jul 26, 10:00 AM EDT
SIX COUNTRY EMPIRE CANE SEAT CHAIRS.
by Amelia Jeffers
Est: $250- $450
$1250 Bids
GOTHIC VICTORIAN YOUTH CHAIR.
Jul 26, 10:00 AM EDT
GOTHIC VICTORIAN YOUTH CHAIR.
by Amelia Jeffers
Est: $100- $200
$500 Bids
PAINT DECORATED ROCKING CHAIR.
Jul 26, 10:00 AM EDT
PAINT DECORATED ROCKING CHAIR.
by Amelia Jeffers
Est: $75- $150
$400 Bids
FANCY ARMCHAIR.
Jul 26, 10:00 AM EDT
FANCY ARMCHAIR.
by Amelia Jeffers
Est: $150- $350
$700 Bids
CARVED VICTORIAN SIDE CHAIR.
Jul 26, 10:00 AM EDT
CARVED VICTORIAN SIDE CHAIR.
by Amelia Jeffers
Est: $75- $150
$400 Bids
TWO CHIPPENDALE CHAIRS.
Jul 26, 10:00 AM EDT
TWO CHIPPENDALE CHAIRS.
by Amelia Jeffers
Est: $100- $200
$500 Bids
TWO CHIPPENDALE CHAIRS.
Jul 26, 10:00 AM EDT
TWO CHIPPENDALE CHAIRS.
by Amelia Jeffers
Est: $100- $200
$500 Bids
COUNTRY CORNER CHAIR.
Jul 26, 10:00 AM EDT
COUNTRY CORNER CHAIR.
by Amelia Jeffers
Est: $200- $400
$1000 Bids
HIGH STYLE VICTORIAN SIDE CHAIR.
Jul 26, 10:00 AM EDT
HIGH STYLE VICTORIAN SIDE CHAIR.
by Amelia Jeffers
Est: $200- $400
$1000 Bids

Sellers Who Sell American Antique Chairs


Amelia Jeffers

Amelia Jeffers

Eldred's

Eldred's

Toomey & Co. Auctioneers

Toomey & Co. Auctioneers

William Smith Auctions

William Smith Auctions