Antique Windsor Chairs: Identification & Value (Guide 2023)

Last week, I visited my daughter’s condo for tea, and I was just upset with the tight furniture! A reading chair here, a desk chair there! Phew! Thankfully, we millennials had a one-in-all Windsor chair back then, which, in fact, is a precious collectible today, costing up to $1000!

These solid-wood chairs had it all – spindles, balancing legs, and hooped backs. So, as kids, we literally slept, ate, and jumped on Windsors. Some of us had the hooped ones, while others used branded Wallace chairs.

So, let’s find out more about old Windsor chairs and some quick tools to identify and value those in this ULTIMATE guide!

Key Takeaways

  • Antique Windsor chairs are lightweight, integrated chairs for Gardens, Patios, Interiors & Sunrooms. Here, the best ones have sack or comb backs!
  • You can spot Old & Authentic Windsor chairs by their spindles, splayed legs, peg joints, and stretchers.
  • Unlike other antiques, old Windsor chairs aren’t bare wood! In fact, the earliest ones have Brown or Green milk paint seats.
  • Vintage Windsor chairs have wooden bodies, of which the Pine, Ash & Oak ones cost more.

What Are Old Windsor Chairs & How to Identify Them?

Antique Windsor chairs with an Orange-toned Varnish

Ever seen the small, solid-wood chairs from B&W movies? Well, Windsor chairs look the same, with thin spindles, jutted legs, and carved arm rails. But to make sure it’s a collectible one, look for these aged features:

  • Turned Spindle backs with a Fan-like array and Horseshoe shape
  • Sunken Shield or Oval-shaped Saddle seats
  • Steamed or bentwood back bows, arm rails, and stretchers
  • Solid Elm crests with flower or heart-shaped carvings
  • Simple wooden peg joints with crude, bamboo-like scoring

When Did Old Windsor Chairs Evolve & How?

We all know how tropical the west coasts are! So back in the 1700s, people just couldn’t use the normal, unseasoned chairs in their gardens. Besides, some chairs were so heavy you couldn’t carry them in and out!

That’s when old furniture makers like Francis Trumble & Joseph Henzey had an idea! First, they removed the solid backs and added some spindles to reduce weight. Also, they finished them in green milk paint to reduce the fungus.

By the 1800s, makers started branding Windsor chairs in America too! But these were slightly different – with bamboo turnings and Chippendale designs!

With time, Windsor chairs reached Asia, Australia, and Africa! And each of them tweaked the design as per their local woods, height, and culture. But this stripped the Windsor of its typical, hand-carved colonial designs and reduced its value.

3 Types of Vintage Windsor Chairs (With Features & Costs)

Now let’s check the three Windsor chair types as per the structure, back design, and other features:

1. Old Sack-back Windsor Chairs

Sack-back Windsors are small, hooped, and extended back chairs, costing $300 – 1200. Such models have thin and curved spindles with simple, hand-lacquered finishes. Also, you’ll see some crude features like rope seats, splayed legs, and peg joints.

2. Old Comb-back Windsor Chairs

As you might guess, old comb-back Windsor chairs have comb-like spindles. You might also spot splayed feet, tape seats, and steam-bent top rails. Plus, these have Ash, Maple, or Oak sections, each with a varnished or hand-painted finish. Usually, they cost $200 – 3000.

3. Vintage Continuous Arm Windsor Chair

Continuous arm Windsor chairs, costing $100 – 1000, have single, curved arms from the back. In fact, most of them also have one-piece, sculpted seats and legs, forming a smooth, continuous line. Also, these have hand-turned spindles and peg joints.

8 Quick Identification & Value Factors of an Old Windsor Chair

Do you know that an old Windsor chair’s final resale cost also changes with age, materials, and brand? Let’s see how!

1. Antique Windsor Chair Age & Features

Now, Windsor chairs didn’t have any standard design until the 1900s. So, before that, it was a bit random! For example, the 1700s chairs were thick and solid for outdoor use. Then, in the 1800s, some makers used slender, refined sections to reduce their weight!

Here’s a table to understand such era-specific details and their costs:

Antique Windsor Chair YearsAgeTop Collectible FeaturesEstimated Value
1700s224 – 323 yearsSimple, solid wood chairs with splayed, turned legs, stretchers, and a hoop design$200 – 5000
1800s174 – 223 yearsSlender, lightly carved chairs with comb-back bodies, Elm seats, and Yew spindles$150 – 3500
1850s164 – 173 yearsContinuous arm Windsor chairs with Birdcage or Bamboo turnings and Chinese designs$120 – 2500
190074 – 123 yearsIndustrial, Chippendale-style Windsor chairs with painted, factory-made finishes and sleek spindles$80 – 1800
1950s64 – 73 yearsComposite wood chairs with multiple, thin spindles, straight legs, reclined backs, and metal accents$60 – 1200

Try to get Windsor chairs with steam-bended bows and central-splat designs for an old make.

2. Vintage Windsor Chair Wood Type

It’s not just the age; a Windsor chair’s value changes with the wood too! It’s so that the early 1700s chairs always used local Pine & Ashwood. But then, by the 1800s, makers worked with imported Maple & Birch!

So, let’s see how they cost more due to their import tags & trademarks:

Old Windsor chair WoodHow to Identify Them? Average Cost
Pine WoodLight Cream, Yellow or White wood with linear knots and grains$200 – 3800
Ash WoodBeige or Light brown wood with straight grain and uniform, regular texture$300 – 3500
Oak WoodWater and shrink-resistant whitish wood with coarse and uneven grains$200 – 2000
Elm Wood Medium-hued, reddish-brown hardwood with white sap and interlocking grain$100 – 1800
Hardwood – Hickory, MapleCreamy, Yellow, or Orangish Windsor chairs with uneven grains, turnings, and inlays$150 – 2500
Yew Wood (only in England)Orangish-Brown chairs with Dark Brown stripes, straight grain, and even texture$250 – 1600

Rub your finger and check for a lacquered, waxy or Oil-rubbed finish for a handmade make.

3. Antique Windsor Chair Colors

Not all Windsor chairs had bare wood or lacquered bodies. Some 1800s, outdoor chairs had natural green and brown seats, while the 1900s, indoor chairs might be white & black.

So let’s check the cost of such colored Windsor chairs:

Vintage Windsor Chair ColorsEstimated Cost
Natural Green, Beige & Brown$700 – 5000
Black & White$350 – 3000
Red, Orange & Yellow$200 – 2500
Silver & Golden$700 – 2000
Blue & Purple$200 – 1200

Pick antique Windsor chairs with Milk, Oil-based, Mineral, or Chalk-paint backs for a good value.

4. Antique Windsor Chair Brands

Want a shortcut to check your old Windsor chair’s resale cost? Just turn it upside down, and check for any logo or brand mark on the base, seats, or legs. If yes, note the brand’s name and check its value from this price table!

Old Windsor Chair BrandsIdentifying FeaturesAverage Value
John Bodger & Sons Ltd.High-quality, English-style chairs with sleek spindles, splayed legs, and polished finishes$500 – 3500
Wallace NuttingTraditional American chairs with historical designs, colonial motifs, and brushed finishes$600 – 4000
Frederick Duckloe & Bros.Traditional-style chairs with thick spindles, splat-back seats, and lacquered bodies$400 – 3000
Nichols & StoneComposite chairs with spindle arms, backs, and black seats$500 – 2000

Avoid getting broken, faded, deformed, or heavily restored Windsor chairs, as those may lose their value by 5 – 10%.

5. Old Windsor Chair Styles

Love themed furniture? If yes, you’ll surely flip over these Art & Interior movement-themed Windsor chairs from the 1950s. Here, pick the Victorian one’s if you have a traditional taste while going with the Shaker ones for a luxurious aura.

Let’s explore some more Windsor chair styles and their costs below:

Antique Windsor Chair StylesEstimated Cost
Traditional, Colonial & Victorian$400 – 3000
Art Nouveau & Art Déco$300 – 2000
French Country & Mid-Century Modern$200 – 3000
Modern & Shaker$100 -1900

6. American or European?

Most of the old & collectible Windsor chairs are from Europe or America. Of these, the European ones cost up to $6000 due to extra stretchers, hoop lines, and better balance. In contrast, American Windsors cost up to $5000 for their lightweight, ergonomic designs.

Here’s how to differentiate those:

FactorAmerican Windsor ChairsEuropean Windsor Chairs
EraMid 1800s to 1900s1700s – 1800s
DesignSleek and refined chairs with Continuous arm backs and Plain, turned legsSolid, heavy designs with Hoop-backs, Splat backs, and Cabriole legs
Wood TypesPine, Poplar, Hickory, Oak & AshAsh, Elm & Yew
FinishPainted or PowdercoatedBare wood, Paint, Varnished or Lacquered
Leg ConnectionsCurved & Chiseled finishes between the legsUsed simple, H-shaped stretchers

7. Vintage Windsor Chair Use

It’s true that makers designed Windsor chairs for gardens and decks. But, by the 1850s, they tweaked them for indoor living and bedroom use too! So, let’s discuss how to appraise those:

Antique Windsor Chair UseAverage Price
Private Spaces – Bedroom, Bathroom & Study (Large & Polished chairs)$400 – 5000
Semi-covered Lounge, Patio & Porch$500 – 4000
Sunrooms & Porch (UV-resistant)$300 – 2500
Living & Guest room (Dust-resistant)$400 – 3500
Outdoor Garages & Foyers $300 – 1900

8. Rare Windsor Chairs

Do you know that some rare / limited-edition Windsor chairs sell for up to $10,000 too? That’s because they have exotic Rosewood sections, upholsteries, or gold accents that stand out. Here’s a list of some of those:

Rare Windsor ChairsLast Resale Value
English Windsor Hoop-back Armchairs$12,650
Windsor Chippendale Chair$9700
Gothic Windsor Armchairs$6800
Elijah Tracy Windsor Side Chair$5500
Wind Back Windsor Armchair$5000

How Do I Know If My Antique Windsor Chair Is Authentic?

You can verify your Antique Windsor chairs by checking for natural wood variations & knots, dual-colored streaks, a waxy patina, and faded colors. Other than that, the earliest chairs might have soft, worn-out edges and spindles.

How Old Are Antique Windsor Chairs?

Most of the Old & Collectible Windsor chairs are from the 1800s & 1900s, roughly 100 – 170 years ago from now!

How Thick is an Antique Windsor Chair Seat?

Old Windsor chair seats are usually 30 – 35mm thick, but some of the earliest rope or tape seats might be thin, only around 20mm thick.

How Much Does an Old Windsor Chair Weigh?

Old Windsor chairs typically weigh about 26 lbs with the cushion and 13 lbs without the cushion. So, they are pretty lightweight and easy to carry!

Valuing vintage Windsor chairs is an easy-peasy job! All you need is some time and patience to spot all the features and compare their values from the tables above. And there! You can now resale it for the right value without any expert help!

Have more queries regarding identifying different antique furniture, check out these ‘Old Rocking Chair,’ ‘School desk,’ and ‘Bassett furniture’ articles now!

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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  1. Hi, I have been given a couple of chairs that I have been stumped on when trying to figure out what kind they are. I have searched the internet and not found any similar chairs. There style kind of looks like a Windsor Taperback chair. How can I tell for sure?
    Thanks