Everyone has to want furniture – you can’t really set up a house (or building) without it. And when it comes down to the furniture, we all have our tastes. For coffee tables, have you ever considered going shopping for a vintage and antique marble top coffee table?
When you think of coffee tables, you think of relaxation. We usually use these low tables for lounging and placing random things like magazines and beverages. While individual tastes are valid and depend on several factors, you might want to invest in a vintage coffee table.
You can choose from a couple of vintage and antique marble tables. You could consider the size, price, art, and style – anything that suits your fancy, really. And you’re in luck because this article will list some of these antique marble tables for you.
What is a Antique Marble Coffee Table?
History and Evolution of the Coffee Table
In the 17th century, the interior designers of Europe were tea table connoisseurs. These tables were tall and round, and people would design them to accommodate standing or group seating. They were known as tea tables. This type of arrangement enabled hosts to set up tea services in close proximity to visitors.
The tea table, in the midst of the 17th century, typically had a round top. People would fold these tops down and keep them against a wall until they got around to serving tea again – and the cycle would continue.
Once the 18th century rolled in, the typical design of the tea table evolved into a tea trolley. This was more rectangular, and they would usually wheel this out during tea time.
When coffeehouses started appearing little by little in Britain during the 17th century, the people typically made coffee tables. In contrast to the coffee tables that are popular nowadays, these coffee tables were tall and frequently rose above 27 inches.
Asides from the height, these early coffee tables were frequently embellished with decorations like gold vine trims and protruding claw legs. This, as expected, was often done by the likes of Europe’s aristocracy.
But, over time, the coffee table’s designs became less extravagant and more practical as coffee became the norm in other social strata and people began to take beverages as tradition.
So, how did coffee tables eventually decrease in size over the years?
Well, one explanation is that the Ottoman Empire modeled later coffee tables after their tea garden tables. However, in the 1870s and 1880s, the Anglo-Japanese style of furniture became extremely popular in Britain.
Japan seems to be the inventor of lower and longer tables because that particular table design was much popular. Additionally, there was a resurgence of some furniture designs at this time, which may explain why lowering tables, and coffee tables in the Georgian or Louis XVI forms are still standard.
Early 20th-century coffee tables were often relatively narrow, unlike today’s standard, more comprehensive versions. By accidentally cutting off a table’s legs in 1920, a company named Imperial Furniture claims to have been the pioneers of the modern coffee table.
With a capacity for collections, trinkets, remote controls, coffee and all of the good stuff that comes with daily use, people started constructing broader and larger coffee tables. This followed the postwar era since they needed something more suitable for living areas.
Another thing that made people think up the reason concerning the evolving shape of the coffee table is the television in the 1950s. Why? So that anything placed on it would not hinder the television’s view.
Everything snowballed after that. From the 1960s, designs with materials like glass, chrome plating, steel, and acrylics started gaining traction. Even exquisitely crafted reproductions of antiques from the Victorian era, Pavilion Glass, and glass made in the style of the Empire are part of what we know as the coffee tables of today.
Some Common Types of Antique Coffee Tables
Antique Victorian Coffee Tables
With a proper combination of style, aesthetics and functionality, the Antique Victorian Coffee Table provides a method to get the usefulness of a coffee table with a lovely old Victorian look. Some of these tables might even precede “coffee table” as a term.
Right from the late 19th and early 20th century periods, people of those times would decorate these tables with hand paintings, claw feet, and other exquisite details. A round antique coffee table with a pedestal base is a typical illustration that you could encounter in stores.
Edwardian Coffee Tables
In the first decade of the 20th century, also known as the Edwardian era, this type of antique coffee table was just beginning to take off as a common addition to living rooms. In addition to this era, the rectangular coffee tables were more popular than the round ones.
The characteristics or features of this table include: frequently hand-painted artwork, different types of ornamentation, and inlaid or pieced wood tops.
Art Deco Coffee Tables
When it comes down to the Art Deco designs of coffee tables, the 1920s and 1930s had a field day with them. This period showed an increase in the popularity of the designs. The design was also in stark contrast to the extravagant styles of the Victorian era, as aforementioned.
How? The designs were bare and had lots of wood veneer and contrasting wood hues. A few others feature accents made up of brass or gold. However, these are not ostentatious or the design’s main attraction.
Antique and Vintage Coffee Table Sets
It is not surprising that there are some matching sets of two or more antique coffee sets that are available. How do you spot them out? They frequently do not sit as low as a typical coffee table. They might also resemble end tables you can find in a contemporary home.
Another cool feature of the nesting tables (which come in various sizes and shapes) is that you can stack them together to conserve space if you’re not currently using them.
Reclaimed Antiques Equals New Coffee Table
In the spirit of DIYs, some objects can make beautiful antique coffee tables even though it was not initially made for you to use as tables.
But that’s the fun of it, isn’t it?
Things like reclaimed trunks, machinery, and other previously functional objects can all turn into coffee tables with a unique antique aesthetic.
Identifying Vintage and Antique Marble Top Coffee Table Marks
Markings help in figuring out what makes a coffee table vintage or not. While, generally, there aren’t any magic tricks to help you identify antique furniture, markings or marks give you that edge that points you in the right direction. When you know, you’ll be sure whether it’s the era or the style.
Look at the labels: who used it?
Arts and Crafts Shopmarks, a book by author Bruce E. Johnson, notes that artists and furniture makers used over 1,300 marks or “shop marks” from 1895-1940. And, this was just during the Arts & Crafts movement alone – the other couple of hundred furniture makers contributed a way larger number.
Therefore, identifying the manufacturer of your coffee table can require a lot of time and investigation.
Some places where you can find these labels and marks are:
- The interior or the bottom of drawers (if there are any). This is quite a common location for labels and marks. Sometimes, you may come across a number. This can represent a maker, a particular style, or a firm’s receipt of a patent.
- The back of the coffee table. Here, some makers might have incorporated the use of less expensive wood. They would stick the label so it would not mar the finish.
- The lower edges of the coffee table. You might find a metal tag fastened here, particularly those on the sides or back.
Types of markings
With the different types of markings available, people eventually had to group them all in, generally, four categories. Some include handwritten signatures. These are:
- The shop name was frequently printed on paper labels or even metal tags by the cabinetmaker. Since the maker might have concealed them away from the completed surfaces, these can be challenging to see.
- Large or local furniture manufacturers, like Indiana’s Old Hickory Furniture Company, were included in the manufacturer.
- The retailer marked the furniture as “theirs” while purchasing showrooms full of it from factories elsewhere.
- Industry groups and organizations that advocated using specific timbers included the Mahogany Association.
While you may be asking the question of forgery: can’t forgers make any of these labels or marks? They can. That is why you also have to be aware of the coffee table you plan to buy (or sell).
Identifying the Value of an Antique Coffee Table
In order to get a good deal out of whatever coffee table you intend on buying or selling, you need to know the value. This way, for example, you don’t spend too much money on a coffee table that shouldn’t cost as much.
What are the Factors Affecting How Much a Vintage Coffee Table is worth?
And so, in the spirit of knowing the worth of an antique coffee table, here’s a list of things you should be on the lookout for:
- Age: How old is it? Starting off with this, naturally, older coffee tables are going to be a whole lot more than newer ones.
- Condition:Generally, furniture can become worn out over time, particularly items like coffee tables that are going to see a lot of abrasive use. So, how can you tell the coffee tables that are worth more? The ones with chipped veneer, stains, fractures, and other damages will be worth less. The ones with unaltered surfaces in good condition will be more valuable.
- Design trends:Like any other piece of art, the value of antique coffee tables can have an impact on current design trends. Art Deco designs and vintage coffee tables with clean lines will be more valuable when streamlined designs are in vogue.
Victorian and Edwardian coffee tables may have become more valuable if elaborate pieces are in fashion.
- Beauty: Yes, beauty is or can be subjective, but a beautiful coffee table is worth more than one that is not. How can you tell: can this coffee table appear well in your living room? If not, you might want to reconsider because coffee tables are both for show and use.
- Manufacturer:Spend a while looking for hints as to who made the coffee table you’re interested in. It is important to recognize antique furniture since some cabinet makers and furniture manufacturers may produce more valuable items. Stickley, Ethan Allen, and Drexel Heritage are a few examples for you to check out.
Some Examples of Antique Coffee Table Values
- A Chinese antique hand-carved mahogany coffee table. It was listed at $192.00. It had large ornaments and a shaped leg. You could use it for home decoration.
- A Spanish vintage marble top coffee table. It was listed at $189.00. It had wooden legs and was great for home décor, especially in the kitchen.
- A Victorian-style coffee table set is listed at $297.03. It had a set of three stackable side tables and an elegant wooden design.
- An antique Edwardian solid mahogany coffee table. It was listed at $569.95. Made in England, it goes back to 1890-1910. It is sturdy and of excellent quality. You could use it as a bench or stool, as well.
- A vintage art deco coffee table. It was listed at $713.94. It is sturdy and free from any kind of damage. It is also a trolley.
- A vintage wood center coffee table. It was listed at $799.00. It had rustic iron-tapered legs in bleach finish.
- A Japanese-style coffee table listed at $239.79. It was sturdy and had a wooden top and iron legs.
- A Moroccan Vintage-style coffee table. It is wooden and was listed at $280.00. It had an engraved copper tray and ornate brass.
Where to Buy Antique and Vintage Coffee Tables
- Online auctions/vendors: Some of the best places you can find an impressive array of vintage and antique marble top coffee tables are auction websites like eBay and Etsy. But the delivery fees and charges might be a problem. This is because large, hefty coffee tables might make delivery more expensive.
- Chairish:Just like how there are some specific sites for specific items, luckily, there’s one where you can find vintage and antique coffee tables. It is called Chairish. Here, you will find coffee tables that span different eras and time periods. But, just like online auctions, delivery fees on Chairish can be big-budget.
- Local antique stores:Away from the travails of expensive delivery fees, you can look around at neighborhood antique shops to find an antique coffee table. You won’t have to worry about the delivery fees, and you get to inspect the different coffee tables in person.
Selling Antique and Vintage Coffee Tables
On the other hand, maybe you’re reading this, and you’re looking to sell some fine antique and vintage coffee tables that you have. Here are some tips for how you can sell them:
Research on the coffee table(s)
You must get some knowledgeable information about the particular antique coffee table you want to sell before selling. You can do this by conducting some kind of in-depth study depending on the type of the table.
Like any normal seller-to-buyer transaction, buyers will undoubtedly want to know exactly what they’re buying. Also, appraisers – people who assess the monetary value of items – will want some basic information about your item.
So, before selling your furniture, look for any distinguishing signs on it and have a basic understanding of what it is.
Photos, photos, and more photos!
To be ready to demonstrate your coffee tables to internet experts, appraisers, or buyers in detail, set up a little photo session with the items. You don’t necessarily have to have an expensive camera, but some photography hacks and tips can help:
- In a room with lots of natural light, use it as the photo shoot’s location.
- To make the coffee table(s) the focal point, make sure the surrounding space is free of any other objects, so nothing gets in the way.
- To capture the entire essence of the coffee table, use a tripod (if you have or can find one).
- If key elements are visible from the front, rear, sides, top, or bottom, take pictures from all angles, including those.
- Now, go in and take close-up photos of the coffee table’s patterns (for example, it could be a marble top) and all the distinguishing features.
- You want to be an honest seller and win your customer’s trust, right? To ensure that, take pictures of any damage that the coffee table might have.
- Check your images at the highest resolution on the computer to make sure they accurately depict the color and details of the object.
- To avoid mixing up the elements, only keep the best images of each and discard the rest.
Finding the Value of your Coffee Table
In putting a figure to the coffee table you want to sell, you can check out some helpful antique price guides.
- Antique Trader Furniture Price Guide “examines all major styles of American and European furniture from the seventeenth century through the mid-twentieth century via a review of beds, benches, cradles, sofas, armoires, and more, complete with a furniture dating chart, price guide, and more than one thousand color photos,” according to Amazon’s description.
- British Antique Furniture: Price Guide and Reasons for Values “consists of over 1600 photographs of furniture found in shops and auction rooms throughout the country with…down-to-earth comments on important features which affect individual prices…” according to Amazon’s description.
- Miller’s Antiques Handbook & Price Guide 2020-2021 by Judith Miller “remains the essential and trusted guide to the antiques market… Special features explain why one piece is worth more than another, show how to value an item and teach you to be your own valuer….”
- Kovels’ Antiques and Collectibles Price Guide 2022 contains “12,500 actual prices and 3,000 full-color photographs…features exceptionally well-organized, wide-ranging, and up-to-the-minute information…is the only guide with prices based on actual sales from the previous calendar year, never estimates…covers all American and international items and includes reasonably-priced goods….”
- Warman’s Antiques & Collectibles 2012 Price Guide (Warman’s Antiques and Collectibles Price Guide) “features more than 1,500 images and 6,000 listings…honestly assesses the market and looks at the best categories for investment….”
Asides from the tools mentioned above, you can check out the online listing on different auction sites like eBay, Etsy, Ruby Lane, Go Antiques, and TIAS.
Physical and Local Places You Can Sell Antique Coffee Tables
Selling locally has its perks and its downsides. You get to have cash for every transaction, and it is cheaper to deal with local delivery, but your location can be limiting. However, these are some local and physical places you can sell your antique coffee tables:
- Antique fair
- Antique mall
- Antique store
- Consignment store
- Flea market
- Local auction house
- Local antiques dealer
- Local newspaper ad
- Yard sale
- Local Craigslist marketplace
- Local Facebook marketplace
Coffee tables are not new inventions – they have been a major part of society for centuries ago. From the styles and colors to the functionality that they individually offer, these coffee tables have evolved over time and stamped their positions in time.
So, no matter what you decide to use it for – a decoration, somewhere to prop your feet up or a place to serve your guests – coffee tables are as good an investment as any piece of furniture. And vintage and antique coffee tables can provide that and a glimpse into the past.
If you need more information about buying or selling vintage and antique coffee tables, be sure to consult your local antique shop or online auction sites. The more information and resources you have, the better.