Limbert Furniture Company
The Limbert Furniture Company was an American furniture manufacturer established in the mid-19th century.
Brief history and description
The Limbert Furniture Company was founded by Charles Limbert, an American furniture designer born in Pennsylvania in 1854. The son of a furniture dealer and cabinet maker and a contemporary of Arts and Crafts pioneer Gustav Stickley, Limbert became one of the most memorable and significant figures of the Arts and Crafts movement in his own right.
As a fan of European furniture design, Limbert made regular trips to Europe to study the methods he so admired. Having been heavily influenced by the large number of Dutch residents of Pennsylvania, he began to design ‘Dutch Arts & Crafts’ furniture and lighting, operating from his factory in Grand Rapids, Michigan, which he opened in 1902.
Limbert Furniture Company pieces are particularly recognizable for their decorative elements, including different shapes and cut-out details, as well as patterns such as hearts and squares. Limbert died in Michigan in 1923.
Guide for collectors
Limbert Furniture Company pieces have become highly desirable amongst collectors; Limbert expressed high standards in his production techniques, which has made many of his items stand the true test of time.
Some of his furniture lines were not popular with contemporary consumers, and yet enduring his pieces represent a notably high quality in both construction and design, and whilst not all Limbert pieces will be appreciated by fans of the Arts and Crafts movement, many are enduringly regarded as examples of fine artistry in keeping with the aesthetics of the time.
Limbert’s furniture and lighting can be found in antique shops, and also frequently appear at auction, often at relatively attainable price points, though collectors should expect to pay more for mint condition items and rarities.
Notable auction sales
The most expensive piece of Limbert furniture ever bought was the sale of a table lamp on 15th December 2006 from Sotheby’s in New York for $51,000. Similarly, a Limbert ‘Lighthouse’ table lamp sold for $27,000 on 10th March 2005 from Sotheby’s in New York, and a Limbert three-door bookcase auctioned for $22,800 from Sotheby’s New York on 16th November 2006, far exceeding its £4,000-$6,000 estimate.
Still at the top end of the price scale, a Limbert sideboard with cut-out details and mirrored gallery, sold for $5,500 from Craftsman Auctions on 10th March 2007.
In the middling price range, a Limbert oak arm chair auctioned from Leland Little Auction & Estate Sales, Ltd. on 6th December 2008 for $600. Similarly, Forsythes’ Auctions, LLC sold a Limbert library table for $500 on 28th May 2011, and on 6th December 2008, Applebrook Auctions & Estate Sales auctioned a signed Limbert rocker with Arts & Crafts material upper for $225.
At a slightly less expensive price, a Limbert oak side chair dated from 1912 sold from Skinner on 24th June 2006 for $100. The most inexpensive piece in the Limbert range auctioned on 23rd October 2008 at McLaren Auction Services for $50. This sale was closely followed by the auction of a Limbert sewing rocker, dated from 1892, which sold for $75 from the Treadway Gallery on 8th March 2009.