Valuation

Valuation

Providing advice on the valuation of a Rosenstengel piece here is somewhat fraught with danger but I will try to provide some general guidance that will hopefully prove useful to some degree. Be aware that prices realised do move over time and are dependent on all sorts of external influences. Currently (2016) the value of period and antique furniture in general has dropped significantly over the last 10+ years as modern lighter interiors have become more fashionable. This seems to be a global rather than local (Australian) trend. In terms of valuation though, in my experience , there are a fairly simple set of rules that can be applied to assist in determining the value of a Rosenstengel piece.

  1. Rarity – If you have a less common piece that still has a useful purpose in the home then you can usually be confident of achieving a good price for it assuming it isn’t in poor (or stripped) condition. What is rare? Some types of general furniture such as tall bookcases, clocks and extension tables were made in lesser quantity than common lines like dining suites, dressing tables and beds and are therefore typically more valuable. Also, if the piece incorporates a hand painted feature panel or a Wedgwood porcelain plaque, it is likely to be a better quality piece and more uncommon (I would love to hear from you via the CONTACT page above if you are considering selling one of these).
  2. Condition – It goes without saying. If the item hasn’t been respected during its life and needs repair then it will be significantly reduced in value even if the item is rare. Realise also that pieces with significant upholstered surfaces in poor condition are quite expensive to have reupholstered even if the timber work has been maintained in excellent condition. For this reason even very high quality lounge suites that need extensive reupholstering or respringing will be marked down quite significantly in value. It is not uncommon to see quite detailed lounge suites with upholstery in poor condition selling for just a few hundred dollars for the entire suite.
  3. Aesthetic value – Beauty is in the eye of the beholder but let’s face it, not all of Rosenstengels pieces were beautiful to look at. Some of the lumbering dark heavy Jacobean pieces, although wonderfully made, aren’t everyone’s cup of tea. If the piece is rare then this may be overlooked but standard dining suites and sideboards in addition to living room furniture and bedroom suites were generally made in large quantities and do not bring high prices. Standard 6 seat dining suites often sell privately these days for under $500 and represent good entry level pieces if you are establishing an interest in his furniture.
  4. Usefulness – A piece will obviously be more sought after if it still has a useful function in the home. For example, wardrobes when originally produced were very expensive items but today can be purchased very cheaply because of our desire for built in robes and need for additional storage. Double beds have similarly dropped in value as they have been replaced by Queen and King sized beds.

It is difficult of course to provide accurate guidance here, however the notes above should serve as a general guide. If you have something you would like more detailed guidance on then feel free to drop me a line via the contact page. I’ll try my best to help where I can.

One final point in regard to valuation; you should understand the retail trade is quite different to the wholesale or private market in relation to the pricing of any goods including period items and antiques. For this reason you should not expect to achieve $1000 for a wardrobe because you’ve seen a similar item in an antique shop with that as the asking price. From the customer’s point of view, the effort required to respond to private advertisements for pieces that are at times incorrectly described warrants a discount when compared to the ease of shopping in the air conditioned comfort at an antique retail outlet. It should be recognised also that Antique shops carry significant overheads to operate; they incur costs to locate the pieces they offer to the public, collect and transport the item to the shop, repair and repolish the item to make it suitable for sale, carry the stock on the floor for many months, negotiate a sale price which can be a significant discount to the marked price depending how long the product has been awaiting sale and finally transport the purchased article to the buyer. For these reasons you should generally not expect to achieve anything more than 50% of the retail price for the private sale of an antique item and Rosenstengel furniture is no different. A private selling price of between 30% and 50% of the retail price seems to be considered standard within the industry from my experience.