American Gothic Revival Armchair, ca. 1850

Value (2013) | $3,000 Auction$5,000 Auction

Where did you find this?

At a yard sale. My boyfriend's mom called me and told me they had antique vacuum cleaners, to come look at those. I saw this sitting in the back of her garage, but she had $150 on it. I was a college kid. I couldn't afford $150. So I told her if she didn't sell it, to just call me, let me know, and I'd come back. She called me, she hadn't sold it. So, I came back and I paid $100 for it.

What drew you to the chair?

It just seemed ornate to me, kind of fancy. And I always like fancy, so. I think I like every single thing about it except for the fabric.

Okay, what you brought in here is an American gothic revival armchair. And it's a fairly rare chair. Chairs like this in America were made in the 1840s up through about 1850. And they were actually influenced by British gothic revival pieces. And the British pieces were inspired going back to 12th century and even 11th century churches. So if we look at the back of this chair, don't you think of a church window with stained glass?


Look at that carving, isn't that amazing? Combined with that, we've got these barley twist sides, a baroque idea. Upholstered arms, hand holds-- you can really grab on here, right? And then barley twisted legs on casters. So this chair is constructed of walnut and beautifully carved. Your piece here we can attribute to Joseph and John Meeks of New York, which is really great. They're famous makers and there's actually a chair very similar in the Metropolitan Museum of Art in their gothic rooms to your chair that you bought. This is not the original upholstery. You have to do a little bit of research to find out what the original fabric was. Sometimes they were horsehair, but that's really uncomfortable. But you can, of course, put whatever you want on there. It's got the original finish. This is in the black, untouched, original surface. I love it. So what do you think about the value on this?

Well, now I feel like it's priceless because it was my first thing I've ever bought that was an actual investment, so now I feel like I can't ever sell it. So is priceless a price?

But what do you think it's maybe worth?

Oh, actually? $2,000.

Okay, I would place an auction estimate on this chair of $3,000 to $5,000.

That is awesome. Thank you.

And I'll tell you what, one came up at auction almost identical this past January, 2013, with an estimate of $3,000 to $5,000. There was lots of interest. It sold for $8,400-- eight thousand, four hundred. So, you never know in an auction.

Yeah. That's so exciting.

Appraisal Details

Leslie Keno Art Advisory
Waccabuc, NY
Appraised value (2013)
$3,000 Auction$5,000 Auction
Knoxville, TN (July 13, 2013)

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