Asked on May 19, 2016

How to find out the value of antique furniture

by Cindy
My husband and I are looking to sell his grandmother's dining room set but, we have no idea what to ask for it. We could not find any markings as to who made it, all we could find is the year 1939 and the number 60 with the word acacia. I know that's a type of wood but I'm not sure if that what this is. It has a burl pattern on the fronts of the side boards, China cabinet and table. There is definite wear and tear noticeable. The set includes the table without the leaf, 5 chairs, China cabinet, buffet and side board. We live out in the country and are finding it difficult to find someone who would come out and give us an appraisal. We've already sent pictures to a company in New York and received no response. I don't want to go and sell this for peanuts if it turns out to be worth something and I don't want to old out for a high price, if it's not worth anything. I just want to be knowledgeable. Any help would be greatly appreciated.
Dining room table and chairs
Worn top of table
Another angle of table top
China cabinet
Side board, top shows wear and tear
  31 answers
  • William William on May 19, 2016
    When I do research on anything I'm selling, I do a google search and look at google pictures to see if I find something similar and go check it out at the site. Sometimes you can find some sites that offer free appraisals and offer advice.
  • William William on May 19, 2016
    Try to find a makers mark or label. Some labels were placed on the bottom of drawers. Look on the bottoms of the sideboard and and buffet. Without any makers mark, they could have been mass produced and it would be hard to determine value. My opinion, based on your photos and the little research I have done, the complete set can bring anywhere from $4,000 to $6000.
  • Swan Road Designs Swan Road Designs on May 19, 2016
    Putting a value on anything by photo only is risky to both the appraiser and the owner. It is impossible to check on the structural integrity of any of the pieces, which comes into play when evaluating any of the pieces. You should post a photo of the "markings" you've found. I don't think the acacia necessarily means what type of wood was used. From your photos, I feel the wood could be maple from the faint grain pattern. What you are calling burl most likely is not. Burl's characteristics are more pronounced and contain multiple tones. As for the style of the suite, I would call it Hepplewhite-Sheraton. The backs of the chairs definitely display a Sheraton shield-back design and the curved fronts and fluted legs of the casement pieces say "Hepplewhite." Putting a price on the suite is a bit problematic, in that it is incomplete. By that, I mean a chair is missing, as are the table leaves. Also, the table most definitely should be refinished and that is not as simple as stripping it and applying a coat of stain and a finish. I worked for over 25 years beside my late husband in our furniture restoration business, so I can speak from experience. That will have an impact on the value. Here's how to think about what you have. From the photos, you have something that has huge potential and a grouping of furniture that is beautiful and serviceable. A future owner has to consider the expense of having the table brought back to life, along with whatever they pay for the other pieces. Also note that the chair seats will most likely be changed by the new owners. Another expense. Look around at the homes and lifestyles of people in your region. Is a formal dining room set something that they will likely want/need? Are the current and newly constructed homes designed for this type of furniture? Visit furniture resale stores and antiques markets in your area and determine if furniture of this era is selling. The market for furniture of any era goes up and down like a roller coaster. Your area could be in a slump. Having said all the above, here's how I'd value your pieces, sight unseen (except for your photos). Table $100. Chairs (each) $75. Sideboard $175. China cabinet $300. Buffet $200. I'm not trying to be cruel here, just helpful and honest. I've seen too many people think they have a goldmine only to be painfully disappointed, and insulted, when they received only a fraction of what they were asking.
    • Cindy Cindy on May 19, 2016
      Thank You Swan Road Designs, I really appreciate you taking the time to answer my questions and no, I don't think you were being cruel. I knew that I would need to take into account the missing pieces and the damage that needs repairing.
  • Karen Karen on May 19, 2016
    Go on Ebay, also Google style and then google value
  • Marlene Haigh Marlene Haigh on May 20, 2016
    Try to find a local antique dealer. When my Aunt passed we had one come to her house and he took everything, auctioned it off and then sent us a check.
  • Jeanette S Jeanette S on May 20, 2016
    This is so pretty. That 13 panel glass in the door is for the 13 original states. I know nothing about it...just wanted to comment that it is very pretty!
    • Cindy Cindy on May 20, 2016
      Thank You Jeanette S. I didn't know that about the glass. You learn something new every day!
  • David David on May 20, 2016
    I would like to know if you find out anything, I am in Ontario and am finding the same problem with some of my pieces.
    • Cindy Cindy on May 20, 2016
      I've received at least 13 answer on this website, giving me a ballpark figure. Now it's a matter of finding someone who wants this big of a set. I've already placed it on Craigslist, without any takers, as of yet.
  • Johnchip Johnchip on May 20, 2016
    The golden rule of resale is: it is worth only as much as someone is willing to give you for it, nothing more. This is no museum piece, It is perhaps 40-60 years old. EBay prices are not appraisal values, they are what someone wants for something. I would go to a few resale hope and see what they price similar 'sets' for. I would imagine $600-800 ,and less for any damages, maybe a bit more if sold by the piece. Most people have already inherited 'old stuff' and don't want any more. Few want entire sets of old furniture, especially with damage. Good luck, but don't put a downpayment on the Porsche yet.
  • None None on May 20, 2016
    Bring the photos into an antique shop and ask. Even a good thrift store owner can give a ballpark figure.
  • Richard Perry Richard Perry on May 20, 2016
    This is considered vintage or used furniture! it is not antique. an antique is at least 100 yrs. old. I have dealt with appraising furniture for years. It looks to be good quality. Needs refinishing of coarse. Start the price at 1200.00 dollars and be happy to get 800.00 dollars. good luck. Too bad it will not stay in the family. good luck!
    • See 1 previous
    • Swan Road Designs Swan Road Designs on May 20, 2016
      @Cindy, you made one of my original points when you said, here, that no one had room for such a large set. That's what I was referring to when I commented about today's homes and the needs of today's families. And, yes, Richard Perry is correct in pointing out that your set is vintage rather than antique. I should have noted that but was wrapped up in other parts of my explanation. Good luck with selling the set. It's lovely and someone will appreciate it.
  • Ranger Ranger on May 20, 2016
    You could perhaps get in touch with auctioneers (ie Sotheby, Bonham's) and see what they think. Even going online to the Antiques Roadshow in Britain could prove useful. I have done that before - it's a bit of a learning curve trying to navigate their site but I got to an appraiser eventually.
  • Lois Franklin Lois Franklin on May 20, 2016
    Also keep in mind, the leaf is missing to the table and there's only 5 chairs. Most sets have 6.
  • Cindy Cindy on May 20, 2016
    Thank you for the several different ideas I received.
  • Nan5844891 Nan5844891 on May 20, 2016
    This is classified as brown furniture. It unfortunately is not in demand today. Even antique wood pieces are not selling as well now. Best is to clean and polish it and try Craig's List.
  • MN Mom MN Mom on May 20, 2016
    This is a gorgeous set. It's in the style of Hepplewhite. George Hepplewhite became popular in England in the 1770's . A particular detail of his was to use a small rosette in a panel corner and the rounding of panels. If this were my set, I would make use of it myself or ask a relative if they would enjoy Grandmas set...maybe a younger person with a new home? I definitely would not just guess at a price and post it on Craig's List without getting a couple reputable estimates from dealers. Good furniture is always in demand if you know where to find people who appreciate it.
    • Cindy Cindy on May 20, 2016
      Thank You MN Mom. I really appreciate your info. Unfortunately, no family members are interested.
  • MN Mom MN Mom on May 20, 2016
    Here are examples of Hepplewhite chair backs. Someone mentioned Sheraton which is quite different although of the same era.
  • 9530106 9530106 on May 20, 2016
    Acacia would refer to the pattern of the leaf carvings on the pieces. They do appear to have some burl wood.
  • Susan Dye Susan Dye on May 20, 2016
    It is a really lovely set,though it is not really an antique. In this country, it must be at least 100 yrs old to qualify as an antique. In Europe it must be at least 200 yrs old. However, as a beautiful, complete, vintage set it should bring a reasonable price. It is a shame you are not able to restore it's original beauty and use it yourself. Hope you find the set a nice home to create wonderful new memories for some lucky family.
  • Loni Loni on May 21, 2016
    Check on your local Craig's List and see what other sets similar are going for, it is not so much about what it is worth, it is what you can sell it for!
  • Suzie Suzie on May 21, 2016
    I used and was very pleased with their response.
  • Linda Freiberg Linda Freiberg on May 21, 2016
    Talk to an antique dealer. Take pictures with you and see what they have to say. I would advise getting more than 1 opinion.
  • Cindy Cindy on May 22, 2016
    Thanks for all the feedback I received.
  • L.K.L. L.K.L. on Jun 17, 2016
    This is SUCH an IMPORTANT issue! I have been alive for 70 + years and I grew up with a furniture fancier age 8 she taught me how to use Olde English on mahogany furniture! She taught me how to clean wood furniture, how to care for different finishes, what was a quality piece, etc. The trend of "chalk painted" antiques is dying a well deserved death...people are wanting old furniture to be as designed and not painted...believe me, this fad is going OUT. So you can see that I am not making this idea up or being snide, please look at craiglist under furniture by owner and at will see some pretty sad examples of what people have done to antiques and family heirlooms. Colors come in and out of style and to see a once gorgeous 1920's dining room set painted some shade of aqua is, to me, nearly obscene. How about learning to refinish fine furniture and turn those "good will finds" into heirlooms? Actual heirlooms? People also still purchase beautifully finished and REfinished furniture that speaks of an age and period. Believe me it that way during the Mid-20th Century! Actually a minority of people had "Danish Modern"...All that to say, tastes differ that's for certain but KNOWING what you have BEFORE painting it should be basic and is so very important. Worth the time spent learning!
  • L.K.L. L.K.L. on Jun 17, 2016
    Another thought: I was given a 1920's dining table and chairs on "loan"...when my friend saw our 1910 house and large dining room she said "I have the perfect table and chairs for this room in storage and you can have it for as long as you want" She was right, it is perfect for this old house. I changed only the fabric on chairs....I used a zany, multi-colored large paisley, which is both 21st century and looks wonderful and we get many comments on how old furniture looks so cool with modern seat covers...MANY friends have asked "your'e not going to chalk paint this, are you? ! " Then I bring out the (now plastic) bottle of Olde English and say "This is all I need" :) And indeed it is.
  • Maura White Maura White on Jun 19, 2022

    I like to compare prices on eBay or Facebook marketplace. You can start with a high price, and be willing to dicker a bit and come down in price if you find the right buyer.

  • Dee Dee on Feb 18, 2024

    Try working with an estate sale company they should be able to apraise your set.

  • Hi Cindy! If you haven't bought an appraisal, you can determine the value of your antique furniture from a dealer. More often than not, a dealer will provide a price that is most likely the wholesale value. Essentially, this means they give you the cost they are willing to pay for your antique items.

  • Marcy LamicaPeets Marcy LamicaPeets 3 days ago

    I want to know how much my hutch is worth

  • I'd keep trying to find an appraiser who will come out to take a look. If anything, you could try an insurance appraisal but know that that value will be higher than resale. You could try Google Lens which is a reverse image search, see what comes up that's comparable. Try talking to antique dealers as well though sometimes they're not inclined to provide values. They might know an appraiser.

  • Johnavallance82 Johnavallance82 13 hours ago

    Call in a dealer or antique experts aaand ask for valuation!