Saturday, 21 August 2021


I don't normally blog about the prices of antiques, as to be frank it would be rather vulgar. However, there are rare exceptions where the story is good enough. It goes without saying that the Balintore antique budget is a shoestring one, and walking-away is the norm.

Last Thursday, I spotted a Victorian carpet armchair for sale at an auction room in Devon

carpet armchair on sale at Devon auction

Three things about this chair jumped out at me: I loved it; I have a pair of these and matching chaise longue already; and it retains its original fabric. It was a no brainer that having a third identical chair was a good thing. Perhaps the price would be low as it is not part of a pair?

It goes without saying that carpet chairs are incredibly hard-wearing as the upholstery fabric is essentially carpet, and in consequence they are the most likely to still be covered in their original material. I had picked up the two chairs and the chaise longue for £60. However, the quest to purchase affordable armchairs with their original fabric had admittedly taken about 7 years. 

Anyhow, I thought I would put a bid on of £60 for this single chair and thought at this level I had a good fighting chance. Anyhow, it sold for £320 !!!!!! It was good to miss by a mile as one didn't just miss out, and of course it made me even happier about the previous purchase. :-)

Post Scriptum. I had always assumed the term "carpet-bagger" meant adventurer. For example, in Jules Verne's novel "Around the World in 80 Days", the hero Phileas Fogg travels with a carpet-bag. However, it actually means an asset-stripper who has come in from elsewhere. So in one sense a carpet-bagger is a financial adventurer. Presumably, the booty gets removed in the carpet-bag, which in the 19th Century was known to be a rather cheap (and I daresay disreputable) item. 


  1. Carpet baggers is the term they used for the rapscallions who went and plundered the southern US after their civil war, too. Dreadful people.
    Cool story! And excellent colours on that chair.

    1. Thanks for the historical background, and thanks to the US for inventing this lovely term. :-)

      As I say I do not own this particular chair, as I lost out at auction, but I have two that are identical.