Karpen Furniture is original furniture produced by the American manufacturer Karpen & Bros.
Brief history and description
The Karpen & Bros. furniture company was established in Chicago in 1880 by German immigrants Solomon and Oscar Karpen. At the height of their success in the early 20th century, the company employed several hundred people, and was considered a leader in the upholstered furniture market.
Karpen was purchased in 1952 by the Schnadig Corporation, and towards the end of the 20th century the company was still manufacturing furniture from Chicago, with plants based in various locations around the United States.
Guide for collectors
Prices for Karpen products, as with most collectables, vary depending upon the size and scale of the item in question. There is also a price differentiation for different pieces, dependent upon their desirability.
In addition to regularly appearing at live auctions with both mainstream and specialist auctioneers, pieces of Karpen furniture may be found at online auctioneers such as eBay, though prospective collectors should be careful to ensure the authenticity of a piece before purchasing.
The highest price paid for a piece of Karpen furniture at auction is $19,000, for a lot comprising a five piece mahogany parlour suite, which sold from Grand View Antiques & Auction on 14th January 2006.
This is a typical price range for a Karpen suite, though prices for a single piece of furniture will be closer to the region of $2,000 for a single chair marking them as an enduringly desirable collectors piece.
Karpen pieces are widely viewed as both functional and aesthetically pleasing, which further enhances their value amongst collectors.
Items featuring luxurious fabrics such as leather will in general sell for in the region of $10,000-$20,000, significantly more than similar pieces upholstered using more basic materials or those which are newly upholstered, which can reduce prices by several hundred dollars and in some cases even lead to the anticipated sale price not being met.
The lowest price paid for a piece of Karpen furniture is $10, for a mahogany spindle back side chair dated from 1910, which auctioned from DuMouchelles on 16th April 2010.