Antique desks and Victorian dining chairs in Preston and Cumbria, – especially those of the Arts and Crafts movement – have become extremely popular. However, at a recent Sotheby’s sale in America an antique desk and chair by Greene & Greene, a noted American Arts & Crafts furniture designer, failed even to reach its reserve price. Deemed important enough to have its own catalogue, it was expected to fetch between $3m – $4 m.
The sale, titled “Important 20th Century Design” (though it also included some Victorian items) took place on December 16th in New York City. The 132 lots, dating from the 1900s to the 1990s, featured a number of prestigious American and European designers, among them Gustav Stickley, Frank Lloyd Wright and Christopher Dresser.
Despite the sale being heavily orientated towards the early 20th century and the Arts and Crafts furniture movement, it was the modern pieces which made the greatest profits under the hammer. For example, while a set of rare Christopher Dresser Victorian fire dogs sold for $6,875 – well under the $8,000 to $12,000 estimate – a pair of 18th century-style stools by Diego Giacometti, circa 1965, found a hammer price of $206,500. The estimate was $60,000 – 80,000. Overall, the sale raised $19 million – the highest for a Sotheby’s design sale since 2003.
Arts & Crafts furniture enthusiasts will find plenty to choose from among the antique dealers of Lancashire and Cumbria. Few antique desks will be as extravagantly priced as those in New York, however.
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