Brown is the new black in antique furniture


In the 1980s, many Baby Boomers were surrounded by items of antique furniture but, at some point, they were ditched in favour of sleek, contemporary items. Hand-crafted furniture was difficult to sell and even harder to pass on to the next generation.

However, opinions are changing. In times of crisis, such as the COVID-19 pandemic, people are finding reassurance in having a few select pieces of brown furniture in their homes.

A recent sale held by Andrew Shapiro Auctioneers, in Sydney, which included the estates of Martyn Cook, Judith Hoyle and Andrew Pratten, was testimony to the strengthening of antique prices.

“Many items sold for three times their reserve prices, whether they were 18th, 19th or early 20th century pieces,” says Shapiro.

“There were younger people bidding, wanting to surround themselves with timber furniture, including Victorian and Georgian,” he says.

While some of the sales figures started in the several thousands of dollars, there were a number of more affordable items, such as a Georgian chest of drawers that sold for a few hundred dollars.

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