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Antique sideboards 101: what to look out for in a mid-century classic

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Before fitted kitchens and multipurpose furniture, the sideboard was an important storage provider, designed to display the family china and silver for Sunday best. Today, whether used for storage or as a TV stand, antique sideboards are having a moment. From antique French sideboards to Chippendales, good mid-century pieces are now worth thousands.

Different types of antique sideboards

The original antique sideboards - which emerged in Europe in the 16th century - were solely built for functional purposes. But while mainly used for serving food, that doesn’t mean they didn’t follow the fashions of the day. As sideboards made their way into the Gothic styles of the mid-18th century, the humble serving table evolved into pieces with a counter, cutlery drawer, cellaret and cupboards. Curved tops and slim legs were notable features of this period - Hepplewhite antique sideboards are important examples of this. 

18th-century antique sideboards

If you’re looking for antique sideboards for sale from the 18th century, the main way to distinguish them is by the pine back panel, with a visible joint between the side of the drawers and the back. You’ll probably also come across a lot of antique oak sideboards for sale, as this was the most popular wood used during the mid-century. 

Antique mahogany sideboards from the 18th century have a higher value than oak: between £10,000 and £15,000 and even more if they resemble a design from Chippendale’s Director guide (these can reach up to an eye-watering £50,000). If quality is compromised, these pieces can still fetch £2,000 to £4,000 - even Victorian copies can bring you a worthy £1,500 investment. 

Dating back to the 18th century (1760 -1780), one style of antique sideboards to pay attention to are those in Adam-style. Look out for those with urns on top to store cutlery. Antique painted sideboards of this kind are rare, but mahogany pieces can be bought for up to £6,000. Adam-style copies from the Edwardian era will value between £1,000 and £1,500.

19th-century antique sideboards

Antique mahogany sideboards soared in popularity during the 19th century - these pieces are generally clumsier and usually have a fancy inlay. George III and Regency antique sideboards can reach up to £3,000 in value at auction: simpler Victorian pieces fetch between £1,000 and £2,000. 

Pedestals were also introduced around this time - pretty plain and again, made from mahogany. Some had carvings on the back and friezes with spandrels cut into them. Later 19th-century versions tend to be huge and made out of oak, although antique walnut sideboards with massive mirrored backs were also popular at the time. You can generally sell pedestal antique sideboards from this era for around £1,000.

Where to buy antique sideboards

The craftsmanship used to create antique sideboards cannot be compared to modern counterparts. Whether you’re on the hunt for a Victorian mahogany chiffonier or looking for antique oak sideboards, browse our unique selection of antique sideboards for sale. Nothing beats seeing high-quality furniture in the flesh and a day out at Europe’s largest antique centres will keep you inspired for hours. There’s even a beautiful coffee shop where you can pick up the most moreish Lincolnshire plum bread. Check our website for more information on how to get here. Happy hunting.

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