Ask Antique Trader: These modern chairs are worth an expert’s eye

Q These two old chairs that were passed down to me by my grandparents. I know they must have value to the right collector – but unfortunately I know nothing about their origin, manufacturer or their worth. Would you have any knowledge? They are all original as you can see and I didn’t dare try to touch them up in any way because I do know that can affect an antique’s value. Please let me know your thoughts and Thanks so very much for your time! — C.M., via e-mail

A These chairs are called Barcelona chairs designed by Miles van de Rohe in 1929 for the Ibero-American Exposition in Barcelona and originally produced by Knoll. Some background on the chairs can be found on their very own Wikipedia page These special chairs have sold anywhere from $175 to as much as $6,000 for a pair with original ottomans. Early versions by Knoll sell in the $3,000 to $4,000 range. Modern knock-offs sell in the $300-$400 range.

-Tip of the hat to our Furniture Detective Fred Taylor, for his help on these great chairs. — Eric.

Q I bought this vase at an auction several years ago and have always liked it. Recently I’ve had people see it and tell me that it’s worth some money.  I really have no idea and don’t really care, but just out of curiosity, thought I ask an expert. If you can help me, I’d also like to know about when it was made.  Thanks so much for any help. — L.M., Kentland, Ind.

A You have a lovely piece of Chic Pottery. Chic Pottery is marked “Zanesville, [O] or OHIO” on the bottom, however the company was based in Wellsville, Ohio, from 1938-1943. A trademark decoration of most Chic Pottery pieces is the use of gold accent along the edges. The floral decoration is applied, not painted. The vase is worth about $30 to $40, depending on your region of the country.

Mystery Item

Every week, “Ask Antique Trader” receives scores of inquiries from readers, seeking more information about a recent find, a gift from a friend or relative, or an oddity that’s been sitting on a shelf.

We pass all of these questions along to our panel of experts, but once in awhile, we get a question about an object that stops us in our tracks. We want to share these unusual treasures with readers in the hope that they’ll offer their opinions and perhaps enlighten us all. So are these chairs American or European?

“Ask Antique Trader” will feature these oddities on a regular basis in the print and online editions of the magazine.

Send your comments to

Q I bought these chairs at an auction over 10 years ago and can’t find makers name or tags. They look modern to me, but I am not sure. They are in good condition with just a little rub here and there. Can you help with maker’s name and value? Read your column every month and it is interesting and informative. — J.R. via e-mail.

Contact Antique Trader: Send your questions and photos via e-mail (preferred) to, or mail to Ask Antique Trader, 700 East State St., Iola, WI 54945.

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