Charles Rohlfs Mahogany Chair, ca. 1910
Appraised Value: $80,000 - $120,000
IMAGE: 1 of 2
Appraisal Video: (2:12)
Rago Arts & Auction Center
GUEST: My mother found it in my grandmother's house in Dayton, Ohio, back in around the 1960s when they were settling up their estate. It was up in the attic. Nobody else knew it was there. And when she brought it down, everyone wanted it.
GUEST: She had it for the rest of the time, and we have it, and we love it.
APPRAISER: Do you know who did this chair?
GUEST: Haven't a clue.
APPRAISER: Do you have any idea about this chair at all?
GUEST: Have no idea. I've never seen anything like it, and that's why I brought it here.
APPRAISER: All right, great. Well, let me show you. On the back of the chair we have a mark. And it's an "R" with a vertical saw right here. That's the maker's mark for a very famous Arts and Crafts maker named Charles Rohlfs.
GUEST: No kidding?
APPRAISER: And Charles Rohlfs was a very eccentric man. Unlike a lot of the Arts and Crafts... other makers, he worked only in a studio with himself and a few apprentices. Gustav Stickley-- a lot of the other people at the same time, had large factories. But Charles Rohlfs worked individually. He made all kinds of unusual things and he really pushed the boundaries of Arts and Crafts. The whole design is very radical. Most times Charles Rohlfs worked in oak-- quarter-sawn oak, regular straight-grained oak. This chair is mahogany, which makes it very interesting also. Very rare for Charles Rohlfs to work in mahogany. Also the style-- it's not very practical-- it was the thought of furniture as sculpture. And this chair, as you can see, really goes a long way in blurring those lines between furniture and art. There is a little bit of damage on this chair. It does not appreciably affect the price. Charles Rohlfs furniture is very rare. And it's absolutely, absolutely sought after by the best collectors in America. This chair in mahogany is worth between $80,000 and $120,000 at auction.
GUEST: You're kidding?
APPRAISER: I am not kidding. I'm not kidding.
GUEST: That's unbelievable.
GUEST: Absolutely unbelievable.
APPRAISER: Congratulations. It's a fantastic chair. There are three or four examples out there that are known, but they're very, very rare. And the other two or three I've seen were in oak. So this is the only one in mahogany we know of. There's like one of four known in America. You have one of them.
GUEST: That's absolutely amazing. Don't you think my mother has great taste?
APPRAISER: She does. I about fell over when you had that in line.
GUEST: Are you kidding?
APPRAISER: I'm not.
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