Value of Hand Carved Headboard and Footboard

I have several old pieces of hand carved furniture. The artist or age is unknown, but it has had a lot of work put into it and is possibly an antique. I am curious of it's resale value. It has hand carved text in initial gothic c font which reads "gute nacht" in German.

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January 10, 20190 found this helpful

It has value only if someone is interest in it. I would take the pictures to a dealer, who could tell you the demand for this kind of furniture.

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January 11, 20190 found this helpful

Wow! That is an amazing set! So ornate and detailed.

We just went through this breaking up an uncle's estate where he had a bedroom set of a similar nature (hand carved, ornate and lovely) to yours and it took months to sell it. We finally sold it to a dealer (3 amazing pieces--dresser, high boy and bed frame) for $100. Ugh....was that an education.


His set was documented as handmade by a family member in the 1800s and was in amazing shape. I am thinking your piece may have similar provenance--if not made by a family member, made by a craftsman in a town where the original owner lived.

We talked to several dealers who said if it would have fit a today's queen or king mattress, we may have fetched $200, but it was a 3/4 size (which more or less fits a today's full) so it cut the value in half.

Before I even talked to dealers I knew this was what we were going to hear because of all my research and background in all things old.

Now that all said, if you had someone (NOT A dealer) who had a passion for German art and the means to pick it up and take it away) you could more.

If you could find markings and figure out exactly who made it and found that it was a famous furniture maker or if you found provenance that someone famous slept on it and have that documented, you can get more.


If you can't learn anything more and you need to sell it as is, where you are in the country can determine the price, as well as the age of the potential buyers.

Pittsburgh has a lot of old houses American Craftsman style homes and mid century modern (MCM) 50s ranches and the Gen Xers are rehabbing them and want pieces that fit the home's character. Had the furniture above been original of either of those styles it would have fetched more.

If you are in a place where there are all Baby Boomers or Millennial you will be lucky to get $50 for it as the BB group has their own furniture they need to sell off and Millennials want no part of big or ornate--they want simple and portable.

You can try to sell the furniture on your own through Facebook Marketplace or Letgo. I had the above furniture I was speaking of out there for months and not even a nibble. Finally I broke down and went the dealer route. Two dealers made offers and I took the better of the two and in 2 days it was sold and they brought a truck, packed it up and it was off. He will eventually sell it for $200-$300, but it will sit on his store floor until the exact right buyer comes in which could take a long time.


I do hope that eventually this type of furniture comes to be loved again as it is stunning and has history, but right now, it is a tough sell.

Post back what you decide and if you sell, if you would be so kind as to post back how much it fetched and what part of the country, I would be interested to know as I like tracking trends for sales in other parts of the US (or world for that matter). I am a geek that way :)

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January 11, 20190 found this helpful

Since it appears that you have no known provenance you may have to try and have it appraised to be able to determine if it has low value or if it is from a well known maker/builder.

  • This type of furniture is rarely valuable unless it is from a well known builder and even then it may not bring a high price as it is not a popular style.
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  • Very few people have room for such bulky ornate pieces and they are a nightmare to move (America is made up mostly of people who move often and just want light weigh easy to move furniture).
  • It is sad to hear stories like Pghgirl states about having to sell for $100 and even then taking a long time to sell.
  • Of course, Gute Nacht translates to "Good Night" so that might mean something to an appraiser.
  • The size of each piece will also make a difference. You can ask for a free appraisal (or several) so you might gleam some information on the value of your pieces. Of course, an appraisal does not mean you can actually sell it for that price but it will give you something to start with.
  • Most appraisals will be for insurance purposes and that is at least 25-45% higher than any resale value. So always ask for resale value when seeking an appraisal.
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  • If you decide to seek help online you will need good (not dark) pictures of each piece and pictures of any special details. The measurements will also be necessary. Be sure your pictures are lighter than the ones posted as the details do not stand out very well.
  • You should also state anything you know about the pieces as to where they have been, what city you are in, do you know what city they came from, etc.
  • Be sure you have looked in drawers, under drawers, backs of each piece for any marks or numbers.
  • Here is a link to several sites you might try.
  • Barneby's also does appraisals but they charge $17.
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January 12, 20190 found this helpful

Thank you to everyone for your responses. I've recently got a email back from an appraiser. They told me that the items were late 19th century pieces and would get around 5000 euro at auction. I'm waiting on a few other appraisal responses before I decide what to do with them

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January 12, 20190 found this helpful

That is awesome news! It is amazing to me the difference between the US and European marketplace. WOW!! I knew there was a difference, but this post makes it clear the difference.

I am so happy to hear that in some parts of the world people truly respect the history and craftsmanship of good pieces and are willing to pay for them. That gives me hope! I am sad now that I had no way to get the furniture we sold off to a European market. I am sure it would have fetched good money there, but more importantly someone would have purchased it to treasure it.

The US market, or at least where I am, so much has become disposable (particle board "discount" furniture is king around here) and the younger folks want nothing to do with history or quality especially when it comes to furniture or decorative pieces. We could take a lesson from the European market.

Your post will make for an interesting coffee discussion with my friends with whom I talk about such topics. I hope at auction the pieces double your expectations and get the $ AND adoration they deserve!

Thank you so much for posting back.

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January 14, 20190 found this helpful

How nice!
I'm so glad you went the extra step to get several appraisals as only someone with special knowledge about this type of furniture can give you true facts and current market values.
Sounds like you have a truly valuable antique and that does not happen very often.
Whatever you decide to do with your pieces, you now know their value and can make a much wiser choice.
Thank you for letting everyone know about your findings.

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