While your house may be filled with second-hand furniture from days of old, it would rarely fetch a high price at auction. Antiques on the other hand actually become more valuable they older they become and the price will depend on its age, its condition, how many pieces are still in existence, the craftsmanship, and if there is any historical significance. With this in mind, let’s explore the most expensive antique furniture ever sold.
Badminton Cabinet: $36.7 million
Constructed in Florence, the badminton cabinet is the most expensive piece of antique furniture ever sold. Inlaid with precious stones, the piece was once owned by the 3rd Duke of Beaufort and was sold by his descendants in 2004. The piece went onto auction and even the most experienced antique dealers were surprised when the piece fetched a staggering $36.7 million. This intricate piece now resides in the Liechtenstein Museum under the watchful eye of experts.
The Dragon’s Chair: $26.6 million
Created by hand from leather and carved wood, the Dragon’s Chair was created by Irish architect and designer Eileen Gray between 1917 and 1919. Acquired by Parisian art dealer Cheska Vallois in 1971, the Dragon’s Chair was sold to French fashion designer Yves Saint Laurent in 1973. The piece was then put up for auction at Christie’s in 2009 as part of the Yves Saint Laurent and Pierre Bergé collection. The Dragon’s Chair fetched $26.6 million, almost $19 million higher than the pre-sale estimate. That’s a lot of Australian pokies online spins!
Goddard and Townsend Secretary Desk: $11.4 million
Made in the 1760s, the Goddard and Townsend secretary desk is the perfect combination of form and function. Not only did owners use it for its intended purpose, but as a statement piece in their homes. Only 9 of this intricate piece were ever created which is precisely why it’s worth so much. One of the 9 was sold at Christie’s on auction in 1989, fetching $11.4 million which was the most money paid for an American-made piece of furniture at the time.
The Harrington Commode: $5 million
Created by famous English craftsman Thomas Chippendale during the 18th century, the Harrington Commode is a wooden chest of drawers dating from approximately 1770. The piece went to auction at Sotheby’s in 2010 and was hotly contested by 5 bidders. When the hammer went down, the Harrington Commode had fetched a staggering $5 million which far more than initially anticipated and set a new record for the most expensive piece of English furniture ever sold at auction.
George II Parcel-Gilt Padouk Cabinet: $3.9 million
The George II parcel-gilt padouk cabinet is another piece of antique furniture attributed to Thomas Chippendale and was created in approximately 1760. The incredibly intricate piece stands at almost 3 metres tall and encloses 2 shaped padouk-veneered shelves and 3 mahogany-lined drawers. The piece went to auction at Christie’s in 2008 and fetched an incredible $3.9 million. Speaking of the price, the head of furniture at Christie’s said it was a reflection of the demand for quality items.