The notion of “vintage IKEA” might sound a bit silly, given how temporary much of the company’s furniture feels. Then you realize that the retailer has been around for nearly 75 years, and yes, there are some IKEA pieces that are indeed worth thousands of dollars to collectors, but probably not the coffee table you’re currently resting your beer on.
In fact, much of the most sought-after vintage IKEA designs are items that look little or nothing like what you’ll see in a massive, marriage-destroying warehouse today.
For example, there are the colorful chairs from the early ’90s that you see at the top of this post, which today can fetch $1,000 each or more.
The key is finding items sold at IKEA created for the chain by designers who later went on to greater fame. Those colorful chairs, for example, were designed by Verner Panton, a legendary Dane who created an S-shaped chair back in the ’60s that was simply called the “Panton Chair,” which is simultaneously timeless and very, very much of the ’60s.
Consumer items that are unlikely to survive can one day become valuable collectibles, which is why today we have thriving collectors’ markets for, say, toys. That isn’t always the reason why decades-old IKEA pieces are so valuable, though.
“Unlike many of their items today, IKEA’s older products were actually made very well and have stood the test of time,” a representative of the auction aggregator Barnabys told the Daily Mail. Early pieces that are now worth thousands are solid pieces of furniture made from materials solid wood and leather, like this very ’70s armchair designed by Karin Mobring, the company’s first female designer.
Another factor that boosts a piece’s value: Scarcity. Items that were failures and quickly yanked from stores cost more if collectors rediscover them later. That’s why the bookcase above sells for thousands, but you’ll probably have to pay someone a few bucks to haul away your old Billy bookcase from your next garage sale.
(via Architectural Digest)