WHAT: Sometimes, vintage furniture is a best deal quality-wise. For example, consider a large, floor-standing walnut cabinet made in Grand Rapids, Michigan, some time in the 1980s to early ’90s that sold for $5,000 recently at Rago Arts. Presale estimate was $2,500 to $3,500.
Standing 69 inches high by 54 inches wide by 26 inches deep, the cabinet is a relatively modern product, yet so much better in design and make than throw-away furniture of indeterminate design found in big box retailers and furniture stores.
MORE: Designed by T.H. Robsjohn-Gibbings (1905-1976) for Widdicomb, the cabinet is not only sturdy; it is handsome. A British architect, decorator and designer, Robsjohn-Gibbings decorated homes for posh clients including Doris Duke and Aristotle Onassis. He was especially fond of Art Deco and Ancient Greek themes, and both are seen in the cabinet.
Robsjohn-Gibbings worked as a designer for the Widdicomb Furniture Company in Grand Rapids from 1943 to 1956. His designs are avidly collected.
SMART COLLECTORS KNOW: Popular for centuries in Europe and America, large floor cabinets had a moment here most recently when armoires in a huge variety of traditional and offbeat styles were popular. We don’t have to tell you how shoddy some were.
HOT TIP: The design is timeless. Decades into the future, most viewers will still be unable to peg the maker and year by eye; only a brass label from the manufacturer will give it away.
BOTTOM LINE: The cabinet is a top example of the best, and a good buy for all the reasons stated. Quality and top dollar when new, it will maintain value and is a good bet to appreciate with time.