Antique Armoire Wardrobe Value & Identification (Expert Guide)

In the 1600s, antique armoires were seen as a symbol of riches and prestige. Stylish and carved, these armoires sported huge racks, mirrors glued joints, and interesting inlays and marks, affecting their demand and value drastically.

In fact, special aged features like these are what make antique armoires a precious collectible even today! If you want to value such old armoires, you don’t need expert help! All you need is this detailed antique armoire value guide that explains all such features for you!

Key Takeaways

  • Old and stamped details, patent marks, logos, signs, and brand names will help you identify if your old armoire is antique or not!
  • Vintage armoires with a hand-molded, cabinet-style, linen-press, or drawer-like (Chifferobe) structure are more precious, often valued up to $4,000.
  • Apart from the regular wood and stained armoires, even brass, bronze, and glass armoires fetch up to $5000.
  • Want a rare, expensive armoire? Look no further than the Louis XVI style, Michelangelo, or Maison Forest Armoires worth $180,000 or more.

Notable Features of an Antique Armoire Wardrobe

Antique Armoire with Wood & Glass Inlays

In simple terms, an armoire is a large clothes and souvenir wardrobe costing $500 – 6000. But if you want to know if yours is an antique and worth more, look for the following key features:

  • Aged craftsmanship – misplaced screws, dovetail joints, and saw marks
  • Colonial or Rococo carvings, inlays, and gilded edges
  • Brass, Bronze or Iron hardware – handles, knobs, hinges, and keyholes
  • Darkened wood and shrinkage splits or cracks
  • 6 – 7 feet walls with tenon-mortise sections

Armoire’ is derived from a simple Latin word, ‘armarium,’ which means an enclosed space for storing clothes and tools.

Evolution and History Of Old Armoires

Did you know that medieval Europeans stored their goods in trunks and camphor chests? However, because there were no dedicated racks for clothes or tools, the French artisans collaborated to design a large storage unit, the armoire, in the early 1600s! It had chiseled edges, two to three doors, and carved Baroque or meshed inlays.

Then, by the 1800s, makers worked on aesthetics! Some used the trendy Victorian or Rococo inlays, while others stuck to geometric patterns. And that’s how we got different armoire brands, each with different furniture legs, doors, and marks that affect the final value.

Then, during the Industrial Revolution, makers moved to standard, mass-produced armoires, each with mechanized, curved edges and minimal patterns. Though sleek and portable, these new armoires have a lower value due to their common designs.

8 Types of Old Armoires Based on Their Structure & Base Values

Antique Armoire's of Different Types

While there are hundreds of antique armoires available worldwide, you can sort and estimate their base prices based on the following types:

Antique Armoire TypesYearsTop Identifying FeaturesEstimated Value
Wardrobe ArmoiresEarly 1650sSolid cabinet-style wardrobes with two to three doors, full-length shelves, brass hardware, and Gothic inlays$600 – 9,500
Bonnetiere Armoires1700 – 1800sFull-length, single-door armoires with light wood or metal accents, mirrors, shelves, hanging rods, and extra internal drawers$500 – 5,000
Linen Press Wardrobes1700 – 1800sSleek, deep drawer armoires with horizontal shelves for storing folded linens, bedsheets, towels & curtains$1,000 – 7,000
Display Armoires1850sSmall, glass-paneled armoires for displaying souvenirs, vases & trophies, often with backlit or mirrored surfaces$300 – 4,000
Rollup Armoires1800 – 1900sSmall, portable wardrobes with a built-in rolling door, canvas or vinyl shelves & ventilating holes$400 – 3,000
Computer Armoires1900sComputer-desk-like wardrobes with in-built electronic spaces, wire cuts, lights & ventilation holes$300 – 2,500
Chifferobes1900 – 1950sA multi-level unit of cupboard space, drawers & deep storage boxes for clothes & linen$700 – 4,000
Portable & Travel Armoires1920s & OnwardsLightweight, foldable armoires with reinforced metal or vinyl sides, padded handles & built-in mirrors $100 – 1,200

6 Simple Steps to Identify and Value Your Old Armoire

Now let’s check how different factors like age, colors, and materials help you value your old armoire for apt returns:

1. Trace the Armoire’s Manufacturing Date & Patent Numbers

Aged Antique Wooden Armoire

If you want to verify whether your old armoire is antique or not, you must know its age! Well, technically, only the 70 – 100-year-old armoires are true antiques. But even the vintage ones fetch a good value if they have a stamped patent number on these areas:

  • Inner walls and surfaces of the racks, shelves, and drawers
  • Patent labels or stickers on the back panel
  • Embossed marks on the hardware – handles, hinges, and locks
  • Baseplate and moldings

But if your old armoire is missing these numbers, here are some appraisal tips based on its age and era:

Antique Armoire EraAgeHow to Identify Them? Average Value
1600s373 – 423 yearsLocal wood – Mahogany and oak wardrobes with dovetail joints, full-length shelves, and hand-applied wax or shellac finishes$1,000 – 18,000, as per the condition
Renaissance (1650s)324 – 373 yearsMedium-sized, cabinet-style armoires with superior brass hinges, locks, tenon mortise joints & classical art inlays$600 – 12,000
Baroque (1700s)273 – 323 yearsCurved & veneered armoires with outward legs, pads, imposed mirrors, glass inlays & animal or mythological carvings$900 – 8,000
Georgian Era (1750s)224 – 273 yearsStraight & symmetrical wardrobes with tapered legs, moldings, curved edges & brass hardware or locks$500 – 6,000
Victorian Period (1800s)124 – 223 yearsExotic Walnut or Rosewood or brass cabinets with brushed gold or silver edges, animal & figurine inlays, glass inlays, and unique maker marks like stamps, printed labels, or metal tags (Pat. 1 – 616,871)$300 – 4,000
Minimalism (1900s & Above)73 – 123 yearsNew-age metal or glass armoires with multiple shelves, drawers, mirrors, backlights, soft-close hinges, wire cuts & ventilation holes (Pat. 640,167 – 3,551,908)$100 – 2,000

Avoid getting armoires with high-gloss finishes, lights, and hanging rails, as those might be new & cheaper.

2. Examine Its Materials

Vintage Armoire with Lacquered & Polished Wood Frames

In the early 1600s, French artisans used local Oak, Walnut, and Mahogany wood to craft the armoires. However, since they were heavy and prone to warping, makers shifted to brass and bronze by the 1700s. And then, in the Industrial Age, lightweight glass and melamine followed!

Here’s a table to know the value of such old armoire materials.

Old Armoire MaterialsUnique FeaturesAverage Price
Solid Wood – Oak, Walnut, Mahogany, Pine, Beech & ChestnutLinear or curved sections, visible wood grain, warmer colors & grooved or chiseled finishes$1,000 – 18,000
Brass & BronzePastel yellow wardrobes with hammered or satin-like finishes, thin sections & linear profiles$900 – 12,000
Leather & FabricsNatural brown or tan furniture with smooth & supple texture and wooden frames$500 – 3,500
Clear & Stained GlassClear or translucent surfaces with smooth, polished, tempered, or frosted finishes$300 – 5,000
Melamine & ResinOpaque & Flexible furniture with printed colors, patterns, and paper labels$100 – 2,000

Try to get antique armoires with shellac, wax, lacquer, or ebonized finishes for good returns.

3. Observe the Styles

Antique Cabinet Dresser with Spiral Legs

Do you know antique armoires from different eras and regions have different styles? For instance, the old 1600s European cupboards used Gothic inlays, while America tried Georgian designs. By the 1920s, makers used trendy Art Deco and minimal armoires!

And here’s how to identify and value these armoire styles:

Antique Armoire StylesHow to Identify Them? Estimated Price
Gothic & ColonialBare wood or greenish furniture with carved wheels, roses, and tapestry patterns$1,000 – 18,000
Renaissance StyleGeometric or fluid armoire with carved moldings, lion heads, frames & natural themes$1,200 – 12,000
Baroque & Louis XVTwisted columns & bases with whimsical flowers, leaves, cherubs & symmetrical motifs$750 – 14,000
Rococo & GeorgianClassical armoires with large, imposing sections, symmetrical moldings & stained glass, or naturally carved inlays$500 – 1,200
VictorianDark wood – Mahogany and walnut profiles with intricately carved meshed and scrollwork designs and mirrors$2,000 – 12,000
Contemporary & Art DecoGeometric & curved furniture with metallic finishes, lacquers & chrome accents$300 – 6,000
French & French CountryCurved, country-side designs with open panels, glasswork, and a few natural moldings$950 – 15,000
Traditional & RetroVibrant & bold-colored furniture with curvilinear profiles, metal accents & contrasting hardware$500 – 4,000

4. Check the Brand/Manufacturer

Branded Vintage Armoire

Among all the different types of old armoires, the branded ones fetch the highest value of up to $20,000. So, to verify if your armoire is branded, check if it has any maker stamps or labels on the base or sides.

If yes, note the brand name and verify its features and values from our table below:

Old Armoire BrandsCollectible FeaturesAverage Cost
Chippendale FurnitureLook for arched tops, s-shaped scrolls, cabriole or ball & claw legs, tapering feet and mahogany profiles$1,800 – 14,000
Hepplewhite ArmoiresEtched shell or bellflower marks on the back panel$3,000 – 19,000
StickleyAn etched or printed, red-colored compass-like mark on the metal tags, labels or decals$3,000 – 16,000
Baker FurnitureOriginal cursive ‘Baker’s’ sign on the drawers, bases or back panels$2,000 – 12,000
Howard MillerFoiled labels or metal tags with the brand’s name on the base plate$2,000 – 10,000

Pick antique armoires with French, Italian, Asian, or American make for a good value.

5. Observe the Colors and Wood Finishes

Most of the old armoires had bare wood or brass sides. But then, by the 1800s, makers added black, red, blue, and green painted or pigmented cupboards, too! So, let’s check how each of these colors affects an armoire’s final resale cost:

Vintage Armoire ColorsEstimated Price
Brown & Beige$1,000 – 9,500
Black, White & Gray$800 – 6,500
Blue & Green$500 – 2,500
Red & Orange$300 – 2,000

6. Count the Number of Doors

When appraising an old armoire, follow this simple rule – the fewer the doors, the more the resale value! It’s so that the old, handmade armoires had only one or two hinged or glued doors.

However, by the 1900s, makers used machines to add more doors and shelves. Also, these had new screwed, bolted, or welded joints instead of glue!

Top 5 Most Expensive Armoires to Find Now!

Now, let’s discuss the top five rarest and most expensive armoires, with their features, details, and auction values as per recent sales:

Rare and Valuable ArmoiresUnique FeaturesLast Resale Value
Michelangelo Guggenheim & Pauly Cie Et Venice Antique Carved ArmoireCIE stamps, Victorian designs, and an original Michelangelo Guggenheim make$320,433
Regulator-Wardrobe by Maison ForestRare, Louis XV-style armoire with decorated roses, wreaths, ribbons, and gilt bronze claw feet$308,304
Louis XVI Style Marquetry ArmoireLarge, palace-style armoire with engraved rosettes, birds, darts, lions, masks and ball feet$180,000
School of Hugues Sambin ArmoireRenaissance-style wardrobe with its original leaflets, trademarks and etched figures, fruit or flower patterns$165,163
Ormolu ArmoireTransitional, French-style armoire with scrolled foliage designs, bows, arrows, wreaths & shiny gold accents$68,500

What Was the Original Use of an Armoire?

Old armoires were used as extra storage for clothes, tools, weapons & artillery stuff.

How Much Does an Old, Solid Wood Armoire Weigh?

Old, 24” deep solid wood armoires typically weigh about 250 – 300 lbs, depending on the number of doors, drawers & other hardware.

If you love collecting vintage armoires and wardrobes, this guide is a lifesaver! Not only will it help you identify the different marks and brand logos, but it will also estimate the prices to save you from the tiresome market research! So, just grab a magnifying glass and get set!

And if you want to spruce up more vintage furniture, head on to my detailed guides on ‘old sofas,’ ‘antique chairs,’ ‘Windsor chairs,’ and ‘dresser styles’ to learn their values!

Judith Miller
Judith Miller

Judith is an antique expert with nearly 20 years of experience in the field of antique identification and valuation. She has reviewed over 30 thousand vintage items and has worked with numerous antique shops. She enjoys seeing new places, attending antique shows and events, and sharing her knowledge with people! Know more about me

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