Good quality furniture or a piece that has an impeccable provenance will always yield a high price at auction. In recent years there have been a number of desks, cabinets and tables that have commanded eye-watering prices from bidders and here are some of the most expensive to ever go under the hammer.
1. The Badminton Cabinet
This astoundingly ornate cabinet was sold by the descendants of the 3rd Duke of Beaufort for an incredible $36.7 million and currently sits in the Liechtenstein Museum. The cabinet was sold in 2004 and was constructed in Florence. Inlayed with precious stones, this is more a work of art than a functional piece of furniture.
2. The Dragon’s Chair
Showing that provenance and craftsmanship will always be popular, the Dragon’s Chair made spectators gasp at the price it garnered at a Christie’s auction.
This early 20th century chair was once the property of Yves St Laurent and when the iconic piece of furniture was auctioned in 2009, it fetched a stunning £19.million. Art deco designer, Eileen Gray is responsible for the chair’s creation.
3. Goddard and Townsend Desk
If you wanted to invest in a real statement piece, then the Goddard and Townsend secretary desk might appeal. The desk was made in the 1760s and was sold at a Christie’s auction in 1989 for $11,480,675.
This is said to be the highest price ever paid for a piece of American furniture. Only 9 of the desks were ever made, which might be one of the reasons for the high auction price.
4. The Harrington Commode
The superb 18th century English furniture craftsman, Thomas Chippendale, is always popular at auction. As the centuries progress, his work is more difficult to source and any piece which comes up at auction it’s sure to be snapped up.
Sotheby’s sold this Harrington Commode in 2010 at an impressive £3,793,250. The marquetry and design of the Commode is exquisite so it’s hardly surprising it attracted such attention.
5. George II Parcel Gilt Padouk Cabinet
Beautifully created furniture made by a respected designer can only increase in value. Christie’s recorded a price of £2,729,250 for the George II Parcel Gilt Padouk Cabinet when it sold in 2008, putting it firmly in our list of most expensive furniture sold at auction.
At the time of the sale, Christie’s Head of furniture, Henry House, said “the final price demonstrates true demand in the market for items of real quality.”