The internet has allowed us to serve our ever increasing demands and needs faster than ever before. If you decide you want a Queen Anne chest or Louis Seize sofa in your bedroom, you can easily get it within a week. In the pre-internet days you had to wait until your local antiques store stumbled across one. Or you had to drive to France, the home of real flea markets. An alternative was to take a sudden and feigned interest in your great aunt so that when the old lady finally decided to kick the bucket you would inherit her furniture. Glad those days are over right?
Now, there are online auctions and flea markets like eBay and for Dutch readers; Marktplaats.
Surely there are German, French, Italian, English and other equivalents so please read on.
A good tip when cruising the web for great finds is to misspell what you are looking for.
Instead of Louis Seize search for Louis Seise or Lois Seize. People that make such mistakes usually don’t know the value of antiques so might think $100 is a huge deal for that old steh-im-weg in their basement or attic.
If I type Louis Seise in Google I get around 150 hits. One of them brings me to this website http://home19.inet.tele.dk/furnitur/Contentframe.htm#Chairs which is the private collection of a certain Mr Hansen from Denmark. Mmm… maybe he does know his way around antiques…However, it looks like all these chairs could be well made replica.
I really like this Louis Seise chair!
Painted Louis 'Seise' chair
And this Gustavian piece. Nice!
Gustavian arm chair
Let’s look at the Dutch site Marktplaats. Louis Seise doesn’t return any hits. ‘Antieke sofa’ (antique sofa) secures 31 results. On of them with a vague picture of a sofa that looks like it rolled out of an Eastern European furniture factory yesterday! The kind that was all the rage for spoiled children’s rooms in the eighties. Dear sellers, just because it’s old and made of wood doesn’t make it an antique!
I did find this fantastic sofa that is listed to be a Biedermeier…. I’ll have to do a bit of research but if that is true, the asking price of €895 is a good deal!
Is it Biedermeijer, Biedermeier or Neithermeier?
Then let’s look for a true designer piece; the Barcelona Chair by Mies van der Rohe. Unfortunately everybody on Marktplaats knows how to spell Barcelona…. The differences in asking prices are vast though. Ranging anywhere between €450 and €2500… Make sure it’s genuine when you score one for under €1000!
Looking for Philip Starck or Phillipe Starck brings back a few hits too. In general the rule is to be creative and try other key words than the actual name of the designer. Instead of Barcelona Chair type in modern leather chair or design chair. Also, don’t be scared of a little drive to the other end of your country or state. Remember; in the end it will be all worth it if you can tell your friends that yes, that is a genuine Charles Eames and yes, you bought it for €350 and drove 3 hours to get it.
Happy hunting, and please share your stories with me!