Wednesday, April 29, 2009


Q: I bought this "kibitzer" chair in 1970 at an auction at an antebellum home in Mississippi. I understand that the owner drew the design and sent it to England to have the chair made for him sometime in the late 1800s. The chair has a leather seat. Do you think it has any value?

A: We haven't heard the term "kibitzer chair," but we've seen a similar piece of furniture called a "backstool." The back of the stool is an extension of the rear leg. Backstools were first made in the late sixteenth century and had either three or four legs. They were not called chairs because they didn't have arms. By the eighteenth century this type of chair was called a single or side chair. Some people call this type of chair a cock-fighting chair, probably because similar chairs have been pictured in paintings of cock fights. But a cock-fighting chair usually has armrests. Another name for the chair with arms is a "reading chair." The reader sits facing the back of the chair and can lean his arms on the armrests. Your chair may have been called a kibitzer chair because a person could sit facing the back of the chair and "kibitz," or comment, while watching other people play cards. Chairs like this don't sell for a lot of money because they are not very useful. Yours is worth about $150 to $400 depending on condition.


Anonymous said...

There are several three legged chairs in use at Frank Lloyd Wright's "Falling Water" in Pa. They are necessary in the living room due to the uneven surface of the rough rock floor.

Anonymous said...

This is what many of us guitar picker/musicians would call a "pickin'" chair or stool; and a really cool one at that! :) No restraining arms, just plenty of space to pick & grin! :)

Anonymous said...

Who said antiques had to be useful to be worth something?