Ever "found" valuable vintage furniture?

Have any of you ever come across collectible furniture at a garage sale or thrown out without the owner realizing its worth?

i often imagine that there are old public schools in America that house unspoken numbers of eames lcw chairs in their basements waiting to be thrown out by the clean up crew.

not so much garbage, but back in university, i used to be a second hand shop (value village, salvation army, etc.) addict just for this reason. literally used to hit 3+ different shops every day on my way home from school, for about a year!

made some great scores. sold a few things on ebay, but was never in it for the money. more the fun of the find, and the score of having great stuff, cheap.

here’s a pic of my old studio showing some of the stuff. also have a huge collection of smaller things like tvs, record players, phones, kitchen appliances, etc.

I dont collect much anymore (no space, and the market is much more overpicked here), but always keep my eye out during garage sale season. a lot of the stuff though, im still using and mix it up with newer things to give my loft a unique vibe.

happy hunting!


I found an Eames Aluminum Group ottoman at a thrift store for $3.00 :open_mouth:

Still have it too!

About 10 years ago I found an Eames wireframe chair next to a dumpster in Vancouver’s “trendy” part of town - Yaletown. It had been thrown out because one of the welds was loose. I fixed it up and still have it.

Richard- That studio is so badass. I can totally picture Charles Eames sitting there smoking a pipe.

yeah whats the story on that wicked stereo-sideboard peice? ive never seen that before.

Found one of these babies sitting on the curb, in beautiful condition. Love it!

a garage sale in northern indiana where the owner had stacks of eames dining chairs (wood). there were used for seating at a church that had moved on to more traditional seating (pews, i think). he was selling them at $5/ea. i believe he had about 100 in there. i bought a couple because i had a small car.

west michigan turns up some unbelieveable stuff. the classics are so common to them that they don’t often realize what they have, so they chuck it or put it in a garage sale. not so much now with the rise of the interwebby and ebay.

Richard, you could charge admission to that place! :open_mouth:
Quite the nice collection.

A couple of years back I found this great chair at the Salvation Army for a buck-fifty. I swore up and down it was one of those diamond in the rough scenarios… after much research I’ve come to the conclusion that it’s a knock off of a Peter Hvidt dining chair.

Oh well. I still have a nice chair that I bought for less than box of pop tarts!

…on another note, I still can’t decide whether I HATE or LOVE the upholstery…


I bought a set of white Herman Miller Eames fiberglass shell chairs for $5 each back in '97 in Providence. I think that was just before mid-century got soooo popular…

They had 3 more chairs for the same price and I still regret not buying all 5. I just didn’t have the room at the time, plus I could only fit 2 in my Jeep…

An old girlfriend of mine found a Victorian-style velvet red chaise lounge in mint condition, just sitting on the sidewalk in Savannah, GA. It moved into my apartment with her for a while. She moved to Kansas, and that’s when I lost track of it.

I wonder what ever happened to that old red chaise.

We saw a the noguchi coffee table at an antique store in stillwater mn for 500 once, I figured they didn’t know what it was because the label said “biomorphic coffee table” and I imagined even 500 was too cheap for it if it was indeed real. Later I checked ebay only to see hundreds of knock offs for about that price.

sometimes I think even as a knock off it is a very nice table

I bought a 74 Fender Telecaster in fairly mint condition, with the original case and documents, at a tag sale 3-4 years ago for $150. It is awesome and after having it set up for another $150 it plays like brand new. It’s worth about $2400 or so!

the big cabinet stereo or the pedastal stereo? both i found at a salvation army shop of other second hand kinda store.

i think both cabinets were actually designed here in canada as ive seen them in several design in canada book. the big unit i still had (the other i sold) and the cabinet i believe was produced by delicraft for electrohome. the model is called Circa 701. I was actually in touch with electrohome as while back as they were looking for a unit for there museum but decided not to sell it off. i still use it almost daily and the sound is excellent. warm, full and much better than most off the shelf modern units. im in a hunt now though for a new stylus for the record player as the original got damaged in the shipping back from denmark to toronto recently.

its a beautiful piece and you cant see in the pics but also has a roll top type of cover like some of the george nelson herman miller desks of the 60’s.


thanks. that thing is beatiful.

some more pics for your viewing pleasure.


Oh thats great… im drooling right now… i know the chances of such an awesome find are rare, but im keeping my eyes open for that one.

I have some nice Herman Miller Eames chairs shell type, and I had a DAR also. If everybody wants to cringe, when my grandmother moved to a nursing home my cousins had a yard sale for most of her furniture and other thing that she did not need any longer. Like, real Arco lamp-$45!!!( AHHHHHHHH!!!), Nelson clocks (two ,don’t know how much they went for but it is safe to say it was well below market). And a LOT of original Knoll and other random Danish modern/mid-cent. furniture. My grandfather was a salesman at a furniture store in Chicago whilst in grad school and then was in college administration. I did get a nice walnut coffee table that is unlabeled but really well made.

This is a bit of a bump, but hey, I’ll make my very own thread just for this if people don’t like old threads coming back like zombies. :smiley:

Found two maybe-eames chairs in a utility room at one job. I’m having trouble figuring out of they’re real, or knockoffs since I haven’t been able to find good info on what to look for yet, but:
*Legs form an H shape under the seat, bolted to four rubber pads.
*Are the “seafoam green” type with visible fibres
*Legs are silver, no finish
*White plastic feet
*Rectangular label with patents but no Herman Miller logo anything like the images I’ve seen with embossing or metal labels, etc.

Found out more. This is one of the more common bases, but apparently an earlier/more sought-after shell. People take these things and sell just the shell or tack on the more rare legs and jack up the price!

I was back there today to finish something off, and took a seat in one of them. For a nonadjustable formed fibreglass chair these are pretty comfy! I wouldn’t want to be in them for hours on end, but much more supporting than I expected. I just might try and get one of these off them.