One of my favorite things to do in my free time is going to the flea market. Every time I go, I get my hands on something unique and elegant. Being an antique lover and collector all my life, I know things about these items that even sellers don’t know most of the time.
Earlier this month, I totally hit the jackpot. My last trip to the flea market landed me a vintage marble top coffee table. The seller quoted me the rate considering its sentimental value, but I knew that this could be a real treasure in my hands. Anyways, I am a big fan of marble top tables, so it was kind of a no-brainer for me.
Trust me, if you ever get your hands on a marble table, you don’t want to lose it. That table with antique marble could date as early as medieval times. To make things easier, I have come up with a detailed guide about vintage marble coffee tables, their identification, value, and basically everything you need to know about them.
Once you know all that, you will know exactly how much money you can make by selling it. And let me tell you, you can make a lot.
What is a Marble Top Table?
Furniture makers have been using marble tops for centuries in the construction of luxurious coffee tables. These marble-top coffee tables are so elegant that, after gracing people’s homes, they become family heirlooms.
As its name suggests, a marble top coffee table is a table topped with marble having a base of another material, such as wood, metal, or wrought iron. As a durable, smooth, and shiny surface, marble makes a perfectly beautiful, elegant, and functional top for a table. These tables are usually known as marble coffee tables because of their conditional placement in the living room or outdoor setting.
Depending on the model, different marble coffee tables come in different shapes, sizes, and styles. Since marble can be used in multiple ways to top a table, it can either be a single solid piece for a top, or it will be smaller tiles of marble that would cover a table.
Some furniture designers have also styled marble top tables by using large marble tiles for the top and framing it with another material, mostly wood. That way, the table would have a wooden top visible sideways, but from the top view, you could see the marble inlaid.
Why Marble Top Tables Are So Good?
Marble top coffee tables are not only good for their aesthetics; they are more advantageous than that.
Strong and Durable
Marble top coffee tables can stay elegant and beautiful for many years, even as long as decades and centuries. Since marble is one of the heat-resistant materials, it can survive any season. Even when placed outdoors, a marble coffee table can live a long, long time. That is why vintage marble coffee tables are a thing.
When marble coffee tables first came into being, craftsmen and furniture designers used their hands to compose them. Although they are made of the same materials, each of them is unique and one-of-a-kind. Marble comes with its own streaky pattern and color scheme, which makes it a unique addition to every table.
Nothing says elegant than an antique marble coffee table. When a table features a marble top while sitting in your living room or anywhere, it exudes a level of elegance that other furniture may not.
Marble tables are timeless. They are still one of the most sought-after vintage items in the antique market. If you are in possession of a marble coffee table, you don’t have to worry about it going out of trend. There will always be people around who would want it.
Antique Marble Coffee Table Identification
An antique marble coffee table is one of the most sought-after household objects when it comes to retro-themed living rooms. A lot of antique workers revive these tables and renew them for enthusiasts and collectors.
Marble top tables are still in production. In fact, they are one of the most trending living room tables this year, but the modern & contemporary marble tables are greatly different from the ones that can be regarded as vintage.
A vintage enthusiast would go to any length to get their hands on an antique marble top coffee table, speaking from personal experience, and sellers and producers are well aware of that. Therefore, they would not hesitate to lie to you and present false facts in order to get you to make a purchase.
Similarly, if you have got a real thing on your hands, you need to know that it’s one hundred percent real so no one can tell you otherwise and get it off your hands cheaply.
In order to identify a vintage marble coffee table, it is essential to check every box.
Marble Top: Real or Fake
The first thing to observe is the realness of a marble top, which you can do by checking the following things.
Swirls and veins on the marble
Due to impurities found in the limestone, swirls and veins-type pattern appear on the marble. If they are not there on the antique table’s marble top, you should have it checked by a professional before making a deal.
Original marble tops can come in a variety of different colors. No matter the color, it will appear to be natural. However, when the color is added mechanically, it will be smoother than it has to be and will have more depth. The shine and depth of color of a real marble cannot be replaced by a fake. You just need to be mindful of that.
Indoor marble coffee tables are usually used in kitchens, dining rooms, guestrooms, or living rooms. In such tables, marble, typically, is of solid, neutral colors, such as white, black, grey, red, or light brown.
An outdoor marble table, also known as a garden table, generally comes topped with white or grey colored marble. That being said, there is no written rule about the difference in the color of the marble on outdoor or indoor tables. It depends on the period, model, and color of the base.
The surface of the marble can be worn and starched very easily compared to granite and synthetic stone. To be sure that your marble is not fake, you can test it with a sharp knife on a hidden spot.
Types of Marble Tops
Marble coffee tables come in a wide range of different types, designs, and styles. The uniqueness of marble and the availability of different materials that can be used as a base is what makes these tables unique in every model.
It is important that you are aware of what kind of marble table you have in order to find its value. Some of the signature types of marble coffee tables are listed below.
Carrara is a white marble top coffee table. It is known globally for its premium quality. It is mainly used indoors.
The statuary is white marble. It originates from the same place as Carrara. However, it is not more translucent and has more shine than Carrara. This marble is truly a classic.
Portuguese Rose is a name given to a pink marble coffee table top. It usually has irregularly patterned gray and brown stripes. It is used indoors and outdoors as well.
Ivory is a cream-colored marble top table. It is regarded exclusive for its natural stone, which gives it a unique, sophisticated style. It is used indoors as well as outdoors.
Calacatta is dark gray, and it comes from Italy. It is as rare and expensive as marbles can get. The dark gray of the marble is occasionally streaked with gold veins. It truly represents luxury and class and is used indoors.
Marquina is a black marble coffee table with white stripes irregularly streaked across it. It is perfect for kitchens and bathrooms.
Marengo is gray. This marble is extracted in Spain and is known for its dark tone. It is usually used both indoors and outdoors.
As the name suggests, Emperor Brown is a brown-colored marble. Its dark color is very easy to combine with any table. There is also a light emperor that offers a lighter tone of brown. It can be used both indoors and outdoors.
Types of Base in Marble Top Coffee Table
The base of the table has an impact on the support and aesthetics of the table. The bases can be of different styles, designs, shapes, and heights, but they are usually made of one of the three basic materials. That being said, it’s more complicated than it seems.
Wood is the most used material in antique marble coffee tables. Most of the antique furniture that I have come across in my life, including marble top coffee tables, was made out of wood.
Despite the fact that wood is the perfect theme maker, if you are going for something vintage and retro, it is critical to know what kind and quality of wood you are dealing with.
In contemporary designs of marble tables, we don’t see wooden bases often with marble tops. Most people are going for iron these days.
Since wrought iron is a durable alloy and easy to make contrast with any color scheme, it is commonly utilized today in marble top tables. However, we rarely see iron as a base on vintage tables.
In fact, if a wooden antique marble coffee table is not in good condition, the owner would just take the marble out and adjust it on a wrought iron base.
Metal is seldom seen in marble top coffee tables. In all my years of being an antique furniture enthusiast, I have never come across an antique marble coffee table with metal as a base.
However, a lot of modern interior design companies today are using metal as a marble top base to contemporize the furniture market. No harm in that, but it’s a job taking care of metal in order to not let it oxidize. If the metal is oxidized, the base will catch rust and damage the design.
If you are into metal-based marble top tables, you might find an antique piece with Art Deco style.
Antique Marble Coffee Table Value Guide
In order to determine the value of an antique marble table, you must focus on its condition, age, material quality, and how rare it is. Moreover, an antique marble coffee table is not just furniture; it is a collector’s item and a decorative piece. Hence, you must also consider its style and size.
Condition, Quality, and Rarity
If a furniture company has used high-quality and genuine materials in producing a table, it is going to last long. This is what you need to keep in mind while valuing your antique marble top coffee table.
Tables made in the 1700s and 1800s sell for more than a hundred thousand dollars now. That is because the materials used in making them were of excellent quality at the time. They were already expensive when they first entered the market, and since that kind of material design is rare nowadays, such tables would sell even more in the coming ages.
Those are the tables that defy the rule of furniture depreciation. Their quality, in fact, increases with time, and so does their price tag. If you are to get your hands on such a table, you need to worry about how you are going to preserve its condition, so it stays true to its value.
In 2015, a marble table was sold for more than 3 million dollars. The marble top of the table dated back to the 17th century and was elegantly inlaid with semi-precious stones. The artwork of the semi-precious stones gained a lot of value over time because it managed to stay in more or less the same condition for 4 centuries.
To be frank, we might never come across such an object, so why know about it? Well, it is critical to know these things because we never know what we might find in the market.
For instance, coffee tables with Victorian marble are as common as they are valuable. You can find a Victorian-era marble coffee table for as low as $500 online, depending on the condition.
20th-century tables are another period tables that are greatly commercialized today. The designers of today are looking for Art Deco-style furniture to compliment their house themes. Therefore, those tables are quite highly demanded in the market at the moment. Antique buyers are willing to take it off people’s hands even if there are minor repairs.
Although they are a bit less expensive, being available for as low as $250, a really good piece can turn out to be a treasure.
Type of Table
The type of table also affects the determination of its value. It is an additional factor that sometimes doesn’t matter and sometimes does. It wouldn’t hurt to assume that it does just to be on the safe side.
- End tables or night tables: The cheapest kinds of tables are end tables or night tables. In garage sales, these are usually sold for $10 to $50. However, most of the garage sellers wouldn’t know what they are dealing with. Only a real treasurer can identify a real treasure. In the vintage market, they are usually sold for over $300.
- Coffee tables: Coffee tables and living room tables with marble tops are insanely popular. They also are available in abundance in the antique marble market. On the internet, you can find retailers selling marble coffee tables with prices ranging from a few hundred dollars to thousands. That being said, the price tags on these tables change very frequently.
- Console tables: Console tables are popular in contemporary interior design. It is rare to find a console table topped with marble, but we wouldn’t rule it out. You can find these tables on the internet with a price ranging from $200 to $800. Add more antiquity and good condition, and they are on sale for over $1,999.
- Dining table: A dining table with a marble surface is probably the most expensive of the categories. It is also the most attractive type of marble table. It is costly, there is no doubt about that. A marble dining table rarely goes on sale for less than a few thousand dollars, depending on its condition and how tall and antique it is.
Average Price of Antique Marble Table
As explained above, it is nearly impossible to quote the price of a marble table without knowing its material, marble type, condition, age, antiquity, size, and rarity. A good rule of thumb states that it can land anywhere between $200 and millions of dollars.
The price also depends on where you are buying it from. Sometimes, a person who is selling a table doesn’t even know that they are selling something rare, and you get a really good deal for yourself, like in a flea market or a yard sale. But if you are buying it from an antique shop or an auction house, they would obviously know what they are selling and would only sell it to the highest bidder.
If you still want to touch the rates, check out these 3 marble coffee tables on sale on eBay:
- Antique American or English Gilt Hairy Claw Marble Top Accent Side Coffee Table
- Vintage Green Marble Top with Hand Carved Gold Giltwood Base Coffee Table
- Lovely Vintage Walnut Framed with Solid Marble Top Coffee or Cocktail Table
What to Consider When Buying a Marble Top Table
If you have it in your mind to purchase an antique marble table someday, you need to be prepared for it. There are some things to take into account when you are out there deciding to make a purchase.
Check the base as well as the top: Usually, people just pay attention to the marble when buying a marble top table. Indeed, marble is the real break-dealer in marble top tables, but you can’t let your mind wander away from the base. Bases are just as important. A solid and quality base is the only thing that can support a quality marble. Otherwise, both are doomed.
Pay attention to marble’s deterioration: As I have said before, marble is prone to scratches and general wear and tear. If the previous owner was careless with it, you can easily spot cracks, stains, chips, and scratches marble. An antique piece is usually worn and torn to some extent, but if the wear is compromising the entire look of the piece, you need to be mindful of that. Maybe it can be used as a negotiation tool to get the seller to decrease the price if you are still interested in purchasing the table.
Make them responsible for the transfer: If it’s a local pickup of a small-sized table, fine. But if a table is relatively large and the store/seller has a considerable distance from your place, make sure to make the store/seller responsible for delivering the piece to you. Coordinate this with the store beforehand. Marble can damage really easily. It’s better to let professionals handle it because it decreases the risk of your table suffering in between the transit.
Marble top tables have been in existence for centuries, and they are increasing in value over time. The aesthetics and attractiveness of a marble table aren’t the only reason for its popularity; it has been thriving ever since it was first made because it had a kind of strength and durability to it, combined with absolute beauty and elegance, that we seldom see in other tables.
These tables have come a long way, and they have a long way to go. Many antique enthusiasts made their fortunes by dealing in marble top tables. If you follow this guide, you can too.