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How much is my bench or stool worth?

Have you recently inherited or purchased an antique bench or stool and want to know its value? Mearto provides quick and affordable online appraisals of benches and stools. All you have to do is click on the “Start Appraisal” button above and follow the steps to send us information about and images of your bench or stool. One of our qualified and experienced specialists will review and get back to you with a fair market and insurance value, typically within 48 hours. Have questions about the valuation provided, or would you like some advice about selling your antique bench or stool? We are here to help! Our platform allows you to chat back and forth with a specialist to ensure that all of your questions are answered.

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What are the most popular designs for antique benches and stools?

There are many designs and styles of antique benches and stools. These designs can be classified according to the period in which they were manufactured. Here is a glimpse of some of the most notable antique bench and stool styles in past centuries:

Victorian

Victorian antique benches and stools are some of the most widely available designs preserved today. The design for these antique benches and stools resemble Gothic and Rococo Revival styles, full of curved lines and intricate carving. Many of these benches and stools were made with wrought iron and dark oak materials.

Mid-Century 

Mid-century benches and stools were manufactured approximately from 1933 to 1965. Many mid-century benches and stools are distinguished by the use of solid-colored fabric and straight angled designs. 

Arts and Crafts 

This particular style of antique benches and stools had a highly distinctive style. It became widespread in the late 19th and early 20th century. It was the style following the industrial age, and harkened back to earlier times and traditional tastes. Pieces from this era have earthy details and often incorporate motifs from the natural world. 

Louis XVI 

These antique benches and stools were manufactured during the reign of King Louis XVI in France. Louis XVI furniture often features carved visible wooden legs and seats upholstered with rich fabrics like velvet or brocades. 

Chippendale 

Any furniture enthusiast will probably recognize this name. The Chippendale style incorporates ornate Gothic-style tracery and mahogany accents. This particular style became widespread in England in the 1700s.

What are the categories of antique benches and stools?

In general, there are two types of antique stools that were manufactured: bar and kitchen stools. 

  • Bar stools: Vintage bar stools are often used at home and in bars. They are used both for their practicality and for the aesthetic addition they bring. A vintage bar stool is traditionally made out of wood. However, many of the newer styles are made of metal such as chrome. They typically come with a padded seat for comfort and have no backrest. There are a few styles, though, that are equipped with a backrest. Other optional features include the swivel design and footrest.
  • Kitchen stools: These stools are manufactured for use under a kitchen countertop. This particular type of antique stool comes in a variety of styles and design – they are often fitted to complement the design of the kitchen. As mentioned above, there are plenty of styles of antique stools according to the period with which they were manufactured in. 

Benches may include several types:

  • Monk bench: These are made of wood, usually not cushioned, and have a high back. They are good for entrances and hallways. 
  • Storage bench: Storage benches are similar to trunks. They may or may not have a backrest, and may be upholstered or hard-seated. The seat lifts up, revealing a storage space beneath. 
  • Triple bench: These benches have three separated seats. 
  • Vanity bench: These benches are used for vanities, which are desks with mirrors usually in the bedroom or bathroom. Vanity benches usually do not have backrests and are upholstered. 
  • Choir bench: Choir benches are wooden, unupholstered, and the seats are not divided into sections. 
  • Gossip Bench: This kind of bench is shaped so that two seats are joined together but facing in opposite directions.

What materials are most commonly used for benches and stools?

Wood

Benches and stools can be made from various kinds of wood. There are two main categories of wood: hardwood and softwood. Hardwoods include mahogany, oak, walnut, teak, maple and others. Softwoods include pine, spruce, fir and more. Generally, hardwood is more highly valued. 

Wrought iron

Many benches and stools, especially those designed for outdoor use, are made of wrought iron. This is an iron alloy with a rough texture that can appear to have a wood-like grain. It is very heavy, which can be useful outdoors in strong wind. 

Metals

Stools and benches are also made of metals. Steel and aluminum are the most common metals used in furniture manufacturing. 

Upholstery

Often, benches and stools are upholstered with fabric or leather. Suede or synthetic leather or vinyl are some common materials. Many types of fabrics are used. They may include velvet, brocade, silk, cotton, or wool.

What were some of the most expensive stools and benches sold at auction?

Many stools and benches that sell for high prices at auction are of Chinese origin. A set of four Ming Dynasty stools made of huanghuali wood sold for $861,551 at Sotheby’s in 2015. 

A huanghuali bench from the same era went for $483,655 in 2020 at Sotheby’s.

Also in 2020, Christie’s sold a 1992 bench made of bronze and shaped like a jaguar. Made by Judy Kensley McKie, it went for $200,000

Leah

Leah Illingworth is a content specialist here at Mearto. She loves learning and writing about art and antiques each day in addition to exploring the history and stories behind art movements and objects.

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