The Ultimate Guide to Buying Armchairs at Auctions

In this article, you will learn all the important tips and tricks for successfully buying armchairs at auctions. Whether you’re a seasoned collector or a first-time buyer, this ultimate guide will equip you with the knowledge you need to make the right choices and find the perfect armchair for your space. From understanding the auction process to evaluating the condition and authenticity of armchairs, this guide has got you covered.

First and foremost, it’s crucial to do your research before attending an auction. Take the time to familiarize yourself with the different types of armchairs that are commonly sold at auctions, as well as their estimated values. This will allow you to make informed decisions and avoid overpaying for a piece. Additionally, be sure to arrive early on auction day to scout out potential armchairs and inspect them thoroughly. Look for any signs of damage or restoration, and don’t hesitate to ask the auction staff for more information or additional photographs if needed. By doing your homework and being diligent in your examination, you can increase your chances of finding a hidden gem and buying an armchair you’ll love for years to come.

The Ultimate Guide to Buying Armchairs at Auctions

Are you in the market for a new armchair? Why not consider buying one at an auction? Auctions can be a great place to find unique and rare pieces, as well as potentially save money. In this ultimate guide, we will walk you through everything you need to know about buying armchairs at auctions, from understanding the different types of armchairs to finalizing your purchase. So, grab a cup of tea and let’s get started!

Understanding Armchairs

Before delving into the world of auctions, it’s essential to have a good understanding of armchairs. Armchairs come in various types and styles, each with its own unique features and characteristics. From traditional wingback chairs to modern recliners, there is an armchair to suit every taste and decor.

Different types of armchairs

  1. Wingback chairs: These chairs have high, wing-shaped sides that were originally designed to shield the occupant from drafts. They often have a luxurious and traditional look, making them suitable for classic or formal living spaces.

  2. Club chairs: Club chairs are known for their deep seats and low backs. These chairs are perfect for lounging and are often upholstered in leather for a sophisticated and elegant appeal.

  3. Bergère chairs: Bergère chairs have a wooden frame with upholstered sides and back. They are typically paired with an ottoman and are perfect for creating a cozy reading nook in your home.

  4. Chesterfield chairs: Chesterfield chairs are recognized by their distinctive tufted leather upholstery and rolled arms. They exude a timeless and luxurious appeal, making them a popular choice for traditional and formal settings.

  5. Recliners: Recliners are armchairs that can be adjusted to different angles, allowing you to recline and relax. They often come with built-in footrests and are perfect for creating a comfortable seating arrangement in your living room or home theater.

Features and characteristics of armchairs

When buying an armchair, it’s important to consider the features and characteristics that are important to you. Some key elements to look for include:

  • Frame material: Armchairs can have frames made of wood, metal, or a combination of both. Each material has its own advantages, so choose one that suits your preferences and requirements.

  • Upholstery: Armchairs can be upholstered in a range of fabrics and materials, including leather, velvet, and linen. Consider the durability, feel, and maintenance of the upholstery to ensure it meets your needs.

  • Comfort: Sit in the armchair and test its comfort level. Consider the depth of the seat, the firmness of the cushions, and the support provided by the backrest and armrests.

  • Size and dimensions: Armchairs come in various sizes, so make sure to measure the available space in your home before making a purchase. Consider the scale of the armchair in relation to the other furniture in the room.

History and Evolution of Armchairs

Armchairs have a long history that dates back centuries. They have evolved from simple wooden chairs with armrests to the diverse range of styles we see today. Armchairs have been shaped by architectural and design trends throughout history, reflecting the changing tastes and lifestyles of different eras.

During the Renaissance period, armchairs were symbols of status and power. They often featured ornate carvings and were reserved for the wealthy and influential. In the 18th century, armchairs became more comfortable, with the introduction of padded seats and upholstered backs.

In the 20th century, armchair design underwent a revolution with the rise of modernism. Designers like Le Corbusier and Charles and Ray Eames created iconic armchair designs that combined form and function. Today, armchairs continue to evolve, with designers pushing the boundaries of creativity and innovation.

Advantages of Buying Armchairs at Auctions

Now that you have a good understanding of armchairs, let’s explore the advantages of buying them at auctions. Auctions can offer a unique buying experience and give you access to a wide variety of styles and designs. Here are some of the reasons why you should consider buying armchairs at auctions:

Opportunity to find unique and rare pieces

Auctions are a treasure trove of unique and rare armchairs that you won’t find elsewhere. Many auction houses specialize in antique and vintage furniture, offering a curated selection of armchairs with historical significance. If you’re looking for a statement piece or a one-of-a-kind design, auctions are the place to go.

Potential for lower prices

Buying armchairs at auctions can often be a more affordable option compared to buying from traditional retailers. While there’s no guarantee of snagging a bargain, auctions can sometimes offer lower prices due to factors such as market demand, condition of the piece, and competition among bidders. If you’re patient and do your research, you might find an armchair at a fraction of its retail price.

Access to a wide variety of styles and designs

Auctions attract a diverse range of sellers and collectors, which means you’ll have access to a wide variety of armchair styles and designs. From antique and vintage pieces to contemporary and designer armchairs, auctions cater to different tastes and budgets. Whether you’re a fan of classic elegance or prefer a more modern aesthetic, you’re sure to find an armchair that suits your style at an auction.

Now that you’re convinced that buying armchairs at auctions is a great idea, let’s move on to the next step – researching auctions.

Researching Auctions

Before participating in an auction, it’s important to have a good understanding of the auction process and to identify reputable auction houses. Research is key to ensuring a successful and enjoyable buying experience. Here are some steps you can take to research auctions:

Understanding the auction process

Familiarize yourself with how auctions work. Auctions can be conducted in person, online, or in a hybrid format. Learn about the bidding process, registration requirements, and any fees associated with participating in the auction. Understanding the auction process will help you navigate the buying process with confidence.

Identifying reputable auction houses

To ensure a positive buying experience, it’s important to choose reputable auction houses. Look for auction houses with a track record of hosting successful sales and delivering quality pieces to buyers. Read reviews, check their credentials, and inquire about their expertise in furniture auctions. Reputable auction houses will provide accurate descriptions and condition reports for each armchair they offer.

Exploring online auction platforms

With the rise of technology, many auctions now take place online. Online auction platforms offer a convenient way to browse and bid on armchairs from the comfort of your own home. Explore different online auction platforms and familiarize yourself with their features and policies. Take note of the bidding process, shipping options, and any additional fees before participating in an online auction.

Preparing for the Auction

Now that you’ve done your research, it’s time to prepare for the auction. Preparation is essential to ensure you stay within your budget and make informed decisions. Here are some steps to take when preparing for the auction:

Setting a budget

Auctions can be exciting, and it’s easy to get carried away in the bidding process. Before attending or participating in an auction, set a budget for how much you’re willing to spend on an armchair. Stick to your budget and avoid getting caught up in the heat of the moment.

Examining condition reports

Condition reports provide detailed information about the condition of the armchair, including any damages, repairs, or signs of wear. Review the condition reports provided by the auction house and pay attention to any potential issues that may affect the value or usability of the armchair. If possible, ask for additional photos or request an in-person inspection.

Attending previews or viewings

Auctions often allow potential buyers to attend previews or viewings where they can see the armchairs up close. Take advantage of these opportunities to inspect the armchairs and assess their quality and condition. Sit in the armchairs, feel the upholstery, and test the comfort level. Previews or viewings give you a chance to ensure that the armchair meets your expectations before making a bid.

Bidding Strategies

With your preparation complete, it’s time to develop a bidding strategy. Bidding can be an exciting and nerve-wracking experience, but having a strategy in place will help you stay focused and increase your chances of success. Here are some tips for developing a bidding strategy:

Knowing your maximum bid

Before the auction begins, determine your maximum bid – the highest amount you’re willing to pay for the armchair. Stick to this limit, and avoid getting caught up in bidding wars that can drive the price higher than you’re comfortable with.

Understanding bidding increments

Bidding increments refer to the minimum amount by which bids must increase during the auction. Familiarize yourself with the bidding increments set by the auction house to avoid confusion during the auction. Knowing the bidding increments will help you plan your bids strategically.

Utilizing proxy bids

If you can’t attend the auction in person, consider utilizing proxy bids. Proxy bids allow you to set a maximum bid in advance, and the auction house will bid on your behalf up to that amount. This can be a convenient option if you’re unable to actively participate in the bidding process.

Evaluating Armchairs at the Auction

Once the auction begins, it’s time to evaluate the armchairs up for bid. Evaluating the armchairs requires a keen eye and attention to detail. Here are some factors to consider when evaluating armchairs at the auction:

Inspecting for structural integrity

Carefully inspect the armchair for any signs of damage or structural issues. Check the joints, legs, and frame to ensure they are sturdy and in good condition. Look for any cracks, wobbles, or loose parts that may affect the stability and durability of the armchair.

Examining upholstery and fabric

Evaluate the upholstery and fabric for any stains, tears, or signs of wear. Consider the color, pattern, and texture of the upholstery, ensuring it complements your aesthetic preferences. Take note of any repairs or reupholstering that may have been done in the past.

Assessing the overall condition

Consider the overall condition of the armchair, taking into account its age and history. Ask yourself if any imperfections align with your personal preferences, or if you are comfortable with potential restoration work in the future. Use your judgment to determine if the armchair is worth bidding on based on its condition and potential value.

Determining the Value

Determining the value of an armchair requires research and consideration of various factors. Here are some key elements to consider when assessing the value of an armchair:

Researching comparable sales

Look for comparable armchairs that have been sold previously and consider their selling prices. This will give you a reference point for how much similar armchairs are worth in the market. Online auction platforms and furniture price guides can be valuable resources for researching comparable sales.

Considering provenance and historical significance

Armchairs with notable provenance or historical significance can command higher prices. Consider the origin, designer, or previous owners of the armchair when assessing its value. If the armchair has a unique or interesting backstory, it may be worth more to collectors or enthusiasts.

Consulting with experts or appraisers

If you’re unsure about the value of an armchair or need professional advice, consider consulting with experts or appraisers. These individuals have in-depth knowledge and experience in the field of furniture, and they can provide expert insights into the value and authenticity of the armchair.

Making a Bid

With all the necessary information and preparations in place, it’s time to make a bid. Bidding can be an exhilarating experience, so remember to stay calm and focused. Here are some tips for making a bid:

Understanding bidding etiquette

Familiarize yourself with the bidding etiquette of the auction. Follow the auctioneer’s instructions and wait for your turn to make a bid. Avoid disrupting the flow of the auction by bidding too early or too often. Respect other bidders and be courteous throughout the process.

Monitoring the competition

Keep an eye on other bidders and their bidding patterns. This will give you a sense of the interest and competition for the armchair. Knowing who you’re up against can help you adjust your bidding strategy accordingly.

Staying calm and focused

Bidding can be intense, but it’s important to stay calm and focused. Stick to your predetermined maximum bid and avoid getting caught up in the emotions of the moment. Remember that there will always be other opportunities if the current bid exceeds your budget.

Finalizing the Purchase

Congratulations! You’ve successfully won the bid for your dream armchair. Now it’s time to finalize the purchase. Here’s what you need to do:

Arranging for transportation or shipping

Once the auction is complete, make arrangements for the transportation or shipping of the armchair. Determine if the auction house offers delivery services or if you need to hire a professional moving company. Take note of any associated costs and ensure that the armchair is transported safely to its new home.

Dealing with payment and fees

Contact the auction house to arrange for payment of the armchair. Be prepared to pay any fees associated with the purchase, such as buyer’s premium, taxes, or shipping costs. Familiarize yourself with the payment methods accepted by the auction house and ensure that you meet the payment deadlines.

Reviewing the terms and conditions

Before finalizing the purchase, review the terms and conditions of the auction. Ensure that you understand any warranties, return policies, or conditions of sale. Take note of any restrictions or requirements related to the armchair, such as export permits or certificates of authenticity.


Buying armchairs at auctions can be an exciting and rewarding experience. By understanding the different types of armchairs, researching auctions, preparing for the bidding process, and evaluating the armchairs, you’re well on your way to finding the perfect piece for your home. Remember to stay focused, set a budget, and enjoy the journey in finding your dream armchair at an auction. Happy bidding!