Feedback for 1920s Dining Room Set

victoriandreamOctober 27, 2009


We are considering purchasing this dining room set. I'm told that it dates to the 1920s. It has the following pieces:

Table (6' to 12' with all leaves x 45" wide)

8 Chairs


Hunt Board


Would this be a good fit for our 1892 Victorian home?

What would be a reasonable price to pay for this?

What would the approximate cost be to have new fabric put on the chairs?

Thanks much!

Here is a link that might be useful:

Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

It's beautiful!!!!It hink it would go into any home and particularly a late victorian one.
I don't know how much it would cost to redo the chairs....depends very much on what fabric you choose....but the fabric on them certainly looks to be in great condition.
As to what to pay....whew...
Again depends on so much...your badly the seller wants to sell, if it's a private party or a retail shop.
Off the top of my head I think $3500 would be a real bargain.
And again from what I see it looks in fabulous condition...unless there is a mended chair leg or a missing piece somewhere.
Linda C

    Bookmark   October 27, 2009 at 1:21AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Not sure where you're at but in my area (Chicago + surrounding burbs) and hometown area (very rural Midwest), 1920's dining pieces (singles, not a suite) from private sellers tend to average in $300 range per piece, sometimes a hundred or so more for table+chairs alone. So pieces added together I'd figure $1500 range, give or take some.

Here's an entire suite in Chicago CL for $1200. Rather nice for an entire suite (which doesn't come up often) tho looks like table top might needs some touch up. Oak, and looks to be a bit older than 20's with the more ornate pattern. Here's another suite from the 20's, asking $2k, less ornate. That's the higher price range of what I've seen.

Complete sets in good condition are not so common, but anything over $2500 asking price from a private seller I'd personally be inclined to negotiate down. It doesn't seem like there's a large pool of buyers for sets like this. Younger people starting out don't seem as drawn to antiques and older people are doing the scaling back phase, so that leaves the mid-life buyers as the biggest pool. That's just personal observation and not meant to pigeon hold any age group in general.

Retail is another story, and will be higher. Could go as high as amount lindac mentioned but in this area at that price it's not going to move very quickly. Know of one antique dealer in my area I like to visit maybe once or twice a year. He manages to snag some beautiful pieces. But the guy is always at the high end of the price range and his merchandise just does not move. See the same pieces sitting there for long periods, he's not one much for negotiating. Can easily see him slapping a $3000+ tag on a similar set and he'd still be dusting it a year from now. ;)

All this is just based on my own personal observations and very humble .02. ;-)

    Bookmark   October 27, 2009 at 8:53AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I am well familiar with the Chicago burbs...have antiqued many times in the Glen Ellyn area,and at the Kane County fairgrounds
The oP's set is unusually fine...notice the marble top, notice that the table expands to 12 feet...notice the 8 upholstered chairs...backs too!
Notice the buffet, china AND a hunt board.
$3500 would be a huge bargain!
Linda C

    Bookmark   October 27, 2009 at 10:56AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Jacobethan! My favorite 1920s style mashup. I love that set.

The chairs could be slipcovered very easily.

    Bookmark   October 27, 2009 at 11:23AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I am well familiar with the Chicago burbs...have antiqued many times in the Glen Ellyn area, and at the Kane County fairgrounds... Ah, then given your visits to those two areas in the west, and your mentioned in the chair ID thread that you're smart, you know there are almost a dozen very diverse counties in two states that comprise the vast landscape known as the Metro Area. So diverse, in fact, that a couple locations are not representative of the area as a whole. (Which is why my previous observations are in terms of generalities and averages.)

$3500 would be a huge bargain! I tend to disagree, but like I said earlier, my thoughts are based on my own personal experience and casual observations. Don't tend to gravitate west much. No particular reason, suppose the years I commuted there got that area out of my system. *shrug* My own haunts take me toward the other 3 main points on the compass. But since no one can possibly know everything there is to know about anything, and given that a great deal has to do with the OP's own regional market, it's all probably a moot point anyway!

It looks like a very nice set, no doubt about that.

    Bookmark   October 27, 2009 at 1:41PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Wow...thanks for the great conversation. Let me provide a little more detail that might help. The private sellers (who have downsized their home) are asking 6,900. They said they purchased this set 5 years ago from the Harp Gallery for just under 10,000. I have been searching for the "right" dining room set for several years now and this one seems to fit the bill for the 3 matching pieces, size of table and 8 chairs. Also, we can buy it more locally and are familiar with the work of the Harp Gallery. We may at some point reupholster the chairs and I've gotten estimates between $500 and $1,500. With all that being said and considering the state of selling pieces like this, what would be a respectful offer?

    Bookmark   October 27, 2009 at 2:53PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I'll offer my .02 again. Take it for what it's worth. And I'm trying to be cohesive but I'm so sleepy today, ha!

I often don't seek out pieces, it's more like "I know it when I see it". Have I paid more than I should on occasion thinking like that? Yeah. But if it brings me joy, is exactly what I've been looking for, or it's been a long search, etc., then it's worth it. Passed up on some I wanted badly because of price, still kicking myself today over a couple of those. Will you kick yourself later if this gets away?

Another way I determine if I want to spend xx amount of $ on something I need (not want, but need) is to compare to what a similar item would cost new. Know that's not the best approach, but I know if both items are close in price, I'll get a lot more mileage out of the antique. Far better quality wood and workmanship. Besides my love of things old, I want that quality. I needed a coffee table, didn't like what I saw for $400 and up out there. Cheesy wood, cheesy finish, etc. Found a smaller cedar blanket chest with copper straps for $275. Fell in love, bought it, never looked back. It's one of my favorite pieces, perfect big coffee table and storage inside to boot! And it won't be dilapidated in ten years (I've had it over 10 yrs, still looks as good as day I brought it home). No way could I say that about a new coffee table. I'll take the antique every time. I have a solid cherry hutch (even the back side and inner supports) that I got from local ebay seller. $500. Higher than comparable but it had everything I wanted. Doubt I could resell for that, but while I have it I'm enjoying it. Doubt I could find solid cherry anything in new out there.

Anywho, I've been through your area, but it was oh so long ago. I remember it being more medium/small towns/rural? I looked at Harp Gallery's site, their prices seem to me to be in line with urban retail (again, I'll use Chicago as a reference, it's all I have for urban). Actually, they might be a little lower than in the city, but close. Harp does have to make a profit, or they'd not be in business. I think a seller paying $10,000 for a set like that is nuts (or they're snowing you on it.) Look at this set from Harp's, Berkey & Gay walnut, not quite as many pieces as your set but $5500 retail. Here's another, Romweber carved burl 10 pc, $7950. Based on that I'm betting your seller paid more in the range they're asking now and are trying to recoup it all. Regardless if they did pay Harp's $10k 5 years ago, $7k is still quite steep for by owner. It reminds me of the Home Dec discussions about people selling a sofa on CL for $800 because they paid $1600 ten years ago. Sofas and antiques don't compare, but the point is many buyers just don't care about how much seller paid back when - it's the current condition & current asking price that matters.

I check my local CL pretty much daily and am noticing a trend. New ad comes out, might have gotten that price a couple years ago, but not in this economy. Ad runs its course. Sometimes I think maybe a piece sold, but more often than not it resurfaces a week or two later and it's got a dramatic mark down the second time around. There's a piece that caught my eye but seller wanted almost $400. Ad ran it's course. I was disappointed, but no way would I pay that. It was just relisted again for $150, now that's much more enticing to me! And tells me they got nowhere with that first asking price. Same on ebay, there's a lot of higher priced pieces just stagnating.

Sellers need to take into account people are holding on tight to their $ these days, and price accordingly if they want to nudge those wallets to open up.

So what's my point? I think the price is steep for private seller, but do think you've got leverage to negotiate. But a big factor is how badly you want/need it and what $ you're comfortable with, so there are no regrets on your part. That will just take the fun out of owning it.

Think it's a given that most sellers anticipate there will be some negotiating over price. Here's how I approached your set, and again, only based on what I've seen from private sellers and then being on the generous side:
$600 each for buffet, hutch, hunt board. That's $1800.
$200 per chair, that's $1600.
Dining table, large $1200
Comes up to $4600.
Were it me, in your scenario, the nature of your home, the time you've spent looking, that's probably as high as I'd be willing to go.

But then add on upholstery: $1000 (average of estimates)
Now I'm at $5600
and getting squirmy, lol. ;)

Something else to consider. If Harp's obtained & then sold this set at between $5500 to $8000 today (using links above as examples), doubt they are going to give the private seller $7000 for it. Cuts into their profit margin too much. Maybe Harp's would pay 50% to 70% max of the private sellers asking price, so they get a comfortable profit...

About leverage: Doubtful in this economy that people are clamoring to spend that kind of money on anything right now. Also it's taking up space in their smaller home, so odds are they can only hang onto it for so long till it's an albatross. Storing would cost a pretty penny.

Honestly, I don't know what to suggest for an offer. Because so much depends on your feelings and your wallet.

Another option, but one that will cost you more, is make an offer deducting the highest reupholstering estimate. All they can do is say no. I'd start out asking for the $1500 off first, that would land you in the $5400 range. Still steep in my book. But again it's not my house or "it" set, it's yours, and you have to do what makes you happy! Would paying $5500 make you uncomfortable? Or did you have a budget in mind? (Not being nosy, just wondering if there's a gap between what you anticipated spending and what seller is asking.)

And gosh I'm sorry I rambled. This is such a dreary, take a nap kind of day!

    Bookmark   October 27, 2009 at 5:54PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I would offer $5500....and counter with $6000.
You say "consider the state of selling pieces like this"...but also consider the state of buying something like that! I am imagining the cost might be $24000 or more.
Do they tell the maker? Are the sellers near enough to you so that you don't have to pay huge packing and moving fees?

I am sorry my imagined bargain price of $3500 is not to be! LOL!
But to be realistic, those chairs ought to be easily worth $2000 for the eight...very likely more...and the case pieces at a conservative estimate of $1000 each and the table at $1500.
That gives you $6500...
Not $3500....but still a helluva buy!
If you have a big room, you won't find another table that size with 8 upholstered chairs...AND the 3 case pieces for anywhere near that price!
Go for it! From the pictures shown the quality of that set is fabulous....and it's not "jacobethan", which denotes that bulbous legged depression era furniture. This is pre-depression era

And Moonshadow, I have been antiquing in Wisconsin many times as well as southern Illinois and in the Northern suburbs.
I mentioned Glen Ellyn because my BIL and SIL lived there for 35 years and I spend many happy afternoons wandering the shops and trekking through that giant market at Kane county Fairgrounds
Linda C

    Bookmark   October 27, 2009 at 6:14PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

And Moonshadow, I have been antiquing in Wisconsin many times as well as southern Illinois and in the Northern suburbs.I mentioned Glen Ellyn because my BIL and SIL lived there for 35 years and I spend many happy afternoons wandering the shops and trekking through that giant market at Kane county Fairgrounds

What a happy coincidence for victoriandream.

Where did you come up with a figure of '$24,000 or more' for buying something like that set? (Did I understand that correctly?) Know I'm sleepy (it's pretty bad, nodded off just sitting here earlier), but I'm getting confused because of the wide range in $ figures. I'd be very curious to see an example of what you're using for comparison or as a reference.

    Bookmark   October 27, 2009 at 8:16PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Of course the point is this caliber of furniture is not in every 2nd hand furniture store.
The table and chairs in the link below is not nearly as old nor as nice as the one the OP posted...
And it's only a table and 6 wooden chairs and sideboard...not upholstered....and no buffet, nor china.
You are not familiar with the resale value of fine furniture?
Do you know Kittinger furniture? Reproductions which are very well made, expensive and which hold their value?
Check out auctions that feature high end furniture...which is old but not really "antique" in the official definition.
Do you know Oconomowoc? dealers in very fine stuff...
Have you recently priced the high end designers studios?
Sorry you doubt the fact that fine furniture can cost that much....but believe me it can!

Here is a link that might be useful: Table and chairs

    Bookmark   October 27, 2009 at 9:47PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Sorry you doubt the fact that fine furniture can cost that much....but believe me it can!

I never remotely inferred such a thing. I asked where you came up with the $24,000 figure for the furniture being addressed in this thread. I followed your comparison link to an auction with a starting price of 4,500.00. I see no reference in your auction link that would indicate how that set is worth $24,000 or how it relates to the furniture in question here being worth $24,000.

You can ask me whatever you like about what I know and who I know, but your questions aren't relevant, so therefore my answers wouldn't be relevant. It was a legitimate question I asked, and I just don't see how you answered it.

    Bookmark   October 27, 2009 at 11:05PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Here's one way to decide: Find out what it would cost to buy similar pieces (size and construction quality) new.

For example, at pottery barn, a table (doesn'tseat 12), 4 side and 2 armchairs is about $4,000. Add $500 for 2 more chairs. A buffet $1300. That's uncarved, on sale, and they didn't have a china cabinet in that set.

In 5 years, the Pottery barn stuff will be used furniture. The set you list after will be 100 years old and still antique :)

    Bookmark   October 30, 2009 at 12:09AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

victoriandream, I found something this morning that just listed on my CL that may be of interest to you. It's a 20's era John M Smyth walnut dining suite. They claim it's only one of 3 sets manufactured. (The partially skeptical side of me questions that, fwiw, lol.) It's very ornate, chairs have upholstered seats and backs as in your set, tho some pieces are 'heftier' in body style than the set you're interested in. What I most wanted you to see (if it's accurate) was the appraised retail replacement price ($8400) and asking price ($4900). Were I interested I'd want to see that appraisal, since they mention it hopefully they would produce it. ;-D ) Here's the link.

    Bookmark   October 30, 2009 at 11:56AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

You have all been so helpful and insightful. I appreciate everything you've shared!

So, here's an update - yesterday my husband and I drove 2 hours and followed each other with trailers attached. We left the kids with grandma and had our walkie talkies ready. It was quite a romantic date :-)

We both loved the set, negotiated a bit and ended up purchasing it for $6,000 (saw the price tag when the previous owners purchased it - $9,950). It really is a unique set, has grapevine carvings on it (which is the theme in our kitchen/butler pantry area), many pieces, 8 chairs, large table - truly a rare find. It's also in excellent, like new condition.

A bonus is that it compliments the prexisting wallpaper a lot better than we thought it would which is always a nice surprise. After we got it all moved in, we sat down and had pizza with our family. It's comfortable, inviting and has great energy. I know we'll have many wonderful conversations around this beloved set.

And I couldn't agree with you more, lazygardens. It might be easier to buy something new but purchasing a set like this instantly feels like we've bought an heirloom. It was fun to see the glimmer in my 4 year daughter's eyes and to think that she might use this in her dining room some day. That's the beauty of quality antiques that's priceless.

Here is a link that might be useful: victoriandream's dining room

    Bookmark   October 30, 2009 at 6:54PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Back to the original question; The set really doesn't strike me as having anything at all to do with Victorian style, other than that "revivals" of historical styles were popular, but this is clearly a set of it's own time; a couple of decades after Queen Victoria's reign ended. If you actually wanted Victorian, you'd have to look elsewhere. If you're asking if it would look nice in your Victorian-era home, then I'd say perhaps, but it would still clearly be seen as younger than the house.

    Bookmark   October 30, 2009 at 6:58PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

One more comment to share. Yes, I would have loved one of the victorian era sets with all the complimenting pieces. However, from my research over the years I've found that would mean a substantial jump in price. So, considering all that, this one seemed to fit for us. Our home is also a combination of many styles and woods. It has a more masculine feel with some feminine flourishes.

    Bookmark   October 30, 2009 at 7:13PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Fabulous!! Did I spot on as to the price? Not the $3500 that I had hoped....but thought that was a CL type of thing.
It looks like it belongs in your house....any house that is filled with furniture exclusivly from the year it was built looks contrived and cheap to me. My house was built in 1927...I can't imagine it filled with only furniture form that period!!
It's a very special set and you were lucky to find it and still luckier to buy it like you did!
Linda c

    Bookmark   October 30, 2009 at 7:13PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Congrats, victoriandream! Glad it's what you both wanted, it does indeed look very nice in your home!

    Bookmark   October 30, 2009 at 7:31PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Fantabulous.....looks like it was made especially for your home.

    Bookmark   October 30, 2009 at 9:35PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Outstanding look for your place.

Sometimes things just feel "right".

    Bookmark   November 1, 2009 at 8:01AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

It looks beautiful in your dining rm. Congratulations.

    Bookmark   November 1, 2009 at 3:12PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Thanks for the feedback!

    Bookmark   November 3, 2009 at 5:39PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Oh my, it's beautiful!! Perfect in your DR too. I need to go look in the mirror cause I think i've just turned green. LOL

Enjoy your 'new' furniture. ;o)

    Bookmark   November 13, 2009 at 10:15PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Patty cakes, no need to turn green. Live in gratitude :-)
You're all invited to dinner!

    Bookmark   November 17, 2009 at 10:51AM
Sign Up to comment
More Discussions
Need help identifying blue bowl
Does anyone recognize this maker's mark? It is on the...
Help identifying a vase?
Does anyone know anything about this vase.It has no...
Melissa Mcintosh
Antimassacars and tablecloth
I found a cache of embroidered and lace furniture accessories...
not a 3 headed dragon candelabra
We have had this brass candelabra for over 30 years,...
Are garage sales a thing of the past?
Years ago when my mom and I had garage sales, our yard...
Sponsored Products
Set of 2 Victoria Style Ghost Bar Stool Clear Color
eModern Decor
Modern Plastic E27 Pendant Lighting Yellow
$7.95 | ParrotUncle
Possini Euro Hendrix Chrome-Glass LED Mini Pendant Light
Euro Style Lighting
Antique Lacquered Side Cabinet
$1,580.00 | Horchow
Ease Ecru Wallpaper R1818, double roll
Walls Republic
Zaneen | Agave Small Pendant Light
Donaldson Clear Crystal Finish Table Lamp
Lamps Plus
Marbled Stone Pendant by ELK Lighting
$670.00 | Lumens
© 2015 Houzz Inc. Houzz® The new way to design your home™