Rocking chair antique-- pls help identify

avaeiaJune 14, 2012

Hi there,

I (obviously) know nothing about antiques-- but I do know I don't want to ruin this sweet chair.

This rocking chair is obviously in bad shape--extremely bad shape. I want to reupholster it. First though I want to make sure I'm not destroying something that needs to be properly restored, by someone other than me.

Can anyone tell me if this chair is unique or may I just go ahead and carefully reupholster and restain?

I am guessing it is from the mid 1800's.....

It has a unique hourglass shape . The closest thing I saw on the internet was Lincoln's favorite rocking chair.

Any info would be very appreciated!

Thank you!

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It's "sort of" a Lincoln Rocker....doesn't have the open arms of the one where the President was shot. But it's of the same period and a really lovely rocker!!
Needs reupholstering in pretty well the same sort of fabric and gimp that is on it now. Probably the springs will need retying and the frame will need a little refurbishing.
Do not paint it! Don't stain it dark....don't upholster it in cut velvet....nor in matlese....just a simple silk ( or silk-like) damask will be wonderful!
Lovely chair!!
Linda C

    Bookmark   June 14, 2012 at 11:25PM
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Thank you so much for your reply. :) I totally agree-- I will go with a very similar silk fabric. (as much the same color and fabric as I can find). It will be very expensive to restore, but it deserves it.
I wish this chair could talk...
I would love to know about the lives of the people who sat here.

Thanks again!

    Bookmark   June 15, 2012 at 12:00AM
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If the wood is intact and not compromised, I'd say aside from the seating part of it, it is in really decent shape. You may be able to gently restore the glory of the wood yourself, and save the costs for the guts of the seat and having the fabric done by a professional. I would consider this chair worth the money and effort. Really old chairs like this, it's expected that the upholstery is often replaced. I would not assume that an upholster would automatically know how to properly or authentically restore the padding, supports in the seat. Don't let anybody urge you to do something like replace it with foam rubber or the like. That part may need to be done by someone who does antique restoration. A good upholster could take it from there. This chair could very well be from the mid 1800s, but I have seen that back design in chairs on occasion up until the late Victorian era.

    Bookmark   June 15, 2012 at 11:39AM
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Thank you so much Calliope for your good advice. You're right the wood is actually in good shape. I just got a quote of $495 to restore! But I definitely don't want to abandon the idea of restoring it. I think I will slowly, slowly go about things. Does anyone know what a reasonable price is for restoration of just the fabric? I paid $75, by the way, for the chair. Thanks so much!

    Bookmark   June 16, 2012 at 8:37PM
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I know that molded edge profile was in use in Boston in 1880. The frame is probably solid walnut. It is a very good chair; not Belter good, but good enough not to trifle with. It deserves a real restoration.

    Bookmark   June 16, 2012 at 9:09PM
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Let's put it this way, however. If you procede with a full restoration and consider what you paid for it, you shall have six hundred dollars involved in the finished product. I'd be suggesting that you make sure the finished product is worth the investment. I've seen similar renovated chairs priced considerably less. Antique restoration is priced all over the board, with extremely varying levels of competance. Network a little bit and get some other quotes and opinions of finished value. I can only speak for my prices in my area.

    Bookmark   June 16, 2012 at 9:30PM
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don't call it antique it reupholstery.
What does that $495 include? Hand dying the springs....doing what to the frame? What sort of fabric? or is that extra?
For $600 you will have a wonderful that has antique value and not a "new" one which becomes used furniture as soon as you bring it home.
I think the price for restoration is pretty good!....see the link....with the chair not nearly as nice as yours!

Here is a link that might be useful: Antique rocker

    Bookmark   June 16, 2012 at 10:36PM
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And I can give you more links with similar chairs going for as little as two hundred. That's why I said what you can evaluate a piece for depends on your market. So compare prices for the restorations and get a good handle on whether you are sinking more into it than what it can return should you ever decide to sell it. That's always been my criteria for investing in antiques, because I haven't always kept every one I've ever bought. If you don't care, then that's a moot point. There is always that possibility that it has at one time already been gutted and restuffed and lost more of its integrity than is apparent from a picture. I'm also curious about that quote as to how closely the restorer inspected it and what issues will be addressed. And I'd still suggest you get several quotes if at all possible. They can vary widely. Also get references from previous customers.

    Bookmark   June 16, 2012 at 11:08PM
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lindac's also a chair.....
And while it might not have the salability as an antique one may's still a usable piece of furniture.
You could sell that chair for just what you paid....but then you will have to go buy something to take it's place.
Antiques that serve a purpose are different to me than those things you buy and stick in a cupboard in hopes that they will appreciate in value....or worse yet....collecters items.

I have a round oak table....bought a long long time ago, before the golden oak I got a huge bargain. They the bottom dropped out of the golden oak market, and not many years later that table is now worth about 10 times what I paid. If I had invested the money I paid some 45 years ago....likely I would have had more than I could sell that table for....BUT....all these years I have had a table for eating, for homework for projects.......and it's still worth about 10 times what I paid.
Linda C

    Bookmark   June 16, 2012 at 11:39PM
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You know, exactly Linda. Everyone has their own personal philosophy about it, if and when they start to seriously acquire antiques. How much invest into a piece is very subjective, because it isn't all about money. But that's a handy thing to have a handle on before they make a decision, and especially important if they are new to the experience. I suspect that was the intention of the post to begin with.

    Bookmark   June 17, 2012 at 10:28AM
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Fori is not pleased

Yup, you couldn't find a new chair of decent quality for the price of fixing up that one so as long as it's comfy enough for its purpose (and it actually DOES look comfy!), might as well do it!

    Bookmark   June 17, 2012 at 4:09PM
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