A question about one of the most common names in antique furniture came to my attention recently. At one of my antiques appraisal shows, I was asked about a Duncan Phyfe dining room set.
You may have heard the word style used after the description of many objects — Tiffany style, Victorian style, etc. For instance, a Duncan Phyfe style dining room set (emphasis on the word style) differs from an original Duncan Phyfe dining room set. Many furniture makers worked in the manner of the late 18th-century craftsman, Duncan Phyfe.
Buble sings like Sinatra, but he’s not Sinatra! Buble singing Sinatra songs in the 2000s was a revival of Sinatra’s style which was popular in the 1950s. Similarly, this revival of the Duncan Phyfe style is seen in furniture designs in the early decades of the 1900s. It is common that such pieces have come to be known as simply “Duncan Phyfe”, but they are not authentic Duncan Phyfe pieces. They are merely Duncan Phyfe style.
As you probably guessed, there is a big value or monetary difference between authentic Duncan Phyfe furniture and Duncan Phyfe style furniture.
Duncan Phyfe (1768-1854) was best known for the straight lines and classical look of his furniture carved in rich hard woods like mahogany and walnut. Values for an original Duncan Phyfe table range from $50,000 to $150,000.
That value is based on actual sales record where somebody actually paid cash, swiped a credit card, or wrote a check for that amount. It is not a price or auction estimate. The values that I provide are based on an actual amount that someone paid for an antique or vintage piece.