How to Value Drexel Furniture

Drexel furniture is admired by many interior design enthusiasts for its charming all-American quality as a purveyor of both tradition and innovation. It's the ultimate status symbol and statement of elegance that one could proudly showcase in a home. However, to value Drexel furniture isn't easy. Have you perhaps inherited any furniture made by Drexel that you would like to have valued? Or have you bought it yourself without knowing the actual value? Read this article to get more knowledge on how to value Drexel furniture.

Drexel Furniture

Antique rocking chair. Image: Public Domain

What is Drexel Furniture?

Drexel Heritage Furniture was the name of the company that produced what is commonly known as Drexel Furniture. For many years, the company made fabulous wooden and veneered furnishings in traditional styles inspired by French, Italian, Asian, and British designs that were popular in the USA for over a century. Although in modern times, Drexel's direction was primarily focused on producing furniture in a more contemporary style, Drexel Heritage furniture is still trendy on the second-hand market, and for a good reason. The timeless design of their Heritage lines and the exceptional quality of the execution of their furniture pieces still hold up to the high expectations of today's buyers, all for a moderate price.

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Drexel Furniture bedroom dresser, walnut chest of drawers

A Drexel walnut bedroom dresser, third quarter of 20th century. Image: Value My Stuff

A Brief History of Drexel Furniture

The Drexel Furniture Company was founded in 1903 in North Carolina by Samuel Huffman and five other men with a mere investment of $14,000 and 50 workers. They produced products made from native oak, taking inspiration from traditional French and British furniture design in order to create a wholly new unique style. Their first product was a bedroom set consisting of a bed, bureau, and washstand suite that they sold for $14.50. By selling their pieces to agents ready to assemble upon arrival, they were able to cut down on transportation costs and undersell their Northern competition. In the following years, the company would become known across the country for its classic traditional style, impeccable quality, and American ingenuity; and it would soon grow from a small rural factory to the world-renowned industry it is today.

Drexel Heritage

After the Second World War, Drexel acquired several furniture plants from the region, including Heritage Furniture. After a successful merger, it became known as Drexel Heritage Furniture Company. The company has been successfully producing furniture for decades, supplying it to individual clients and big-chain hotels and restaurants. The traditional, classic, and elegant pieces made of high-quality materials fit seamlessly into grander interiors. With the beginning of the new Millenium, the company started to struggle, and in the first two decades of the 2000s, several attempts were made to rescue the company. This included selling the company to an LLC group and also rebranding. The company renamed Drexel Furniture, and dropped the "Heritage". The company aimed to modernize the designs and supply them to the younger modern generation. Although the company's new look and lines fit more with the style of many modern and minimalistic interiors, vintage Drexel Heritage Furniture remains popular today as well. It reigns the second-hand market, as its pieces often age very well, or one can refresh them with minimal effort due to the high quality of the materials used.

A Drexel Heritage walnut writing table, walnut desk, Louis XVI

A Drexel Heritage walnut writing table, in the Louis XVI taste, third quarter of 20th century. Image: Value My Stuff

How To Date Drexel Furniture?

Drexel furniture serial number lookup

Each Drexel furniture is marked with a serial number. If you know the number, it will be easier to identify the year of production of your furniture. By supplying the serial number to your Drexel Heritage dealer or antiques dealer, they will be able to tell you more about the value of your piece. There are also various websites that can provide you with information if you type in the serial number.

How To Read Drexel Furniture Serial Numbers

Drexel serial numbers are usually placed on the back or at the bottom, depending on the kind of furniture. For wardrobes and chests of drawers, you may look for the number on the less visible parts of the furniture on the back. Dining tables and chairs were usually marked on the underside. Always ensure you are in a safe environment while moving or turning the furniture upside down because Drexel pieces are pretty heavy.

An identification number is usually a three-digit number, followed by a dash and three more digits. If your piece of furniture has a stamped numeral in a different format, it may indicate that your piece was made before 1971, which was the year Drexel Heritage standardized its identification numbers.

Drexel furniture identification number example

Drexel furniture identification number example. Image: Value My Stuff

The Condition of Drexel Furniture

The first aspect of your Drexel furniture to take into consideration when endeavouring to find its value is its condition. As Drexel furniture products were primarily factory manufactured, there are sure to be a multitude of pieces just like yours on the market, and if the condition of your piece is not up to par, it will be left with very little value. It is essential to search every part of your furniture, including the insides of drawers and cabinets, for signs of damage. One must be careful to look out for scuffs, scratches, chips, missing handles or knobs, discolouration, warping, and any other such compromises in quality. However, if your piece has a knick or two, this is not the end of the world in terms of its value. Furthermore, if your piece is damaged, it may be worth looking into having it repaired by a professional; however, it is crucial to never make any changes to any collectable item before consulting an expert first.

Drexel Heritage side table, with chinoiserie, georgian style, wooden furniture

A Drexel Heritage ‘Covington Park Collection’ chinoiserie side table / server in the Georgian style, last quarter of 20th century. Image: Value My Stuff

Drexel Furniture mahogany table, wooden table

Drexel Furniture mahogany occasional table, second half of 20th century. Image: Value My Stuff

Rare Drexel Furniture Pieces

The next feature of your furniture to account for is its age and rarity. This factor is what will distinguish whether your item will be worth simply a few hundred pounds or a few thousand. As with any sector of the collectable market, some pieces will be rarer and more sought after than others. For example, the 1930s "Touraine" bedroom set, inspired by Louis XV, was one of the company's most successful designs and remains highly coveted by buyers today. Certain pieces from the company's "Avenue" line of designs, such as burl wood and brass chinoiserie nightstands, can be worth up to thousands. However, it is essential to consider that even if your piece may be scarce, the ultimate determining factor is whether or not someone is willing to buy it on the market; if the demand for a piece does not at least meet its supply, it may take some time to sell.

Where To Find Out The Value of Drexel Furniture?

The most crucial step to take when seeking to find the value of your item is to consult an expert. Only an expert in the field will be able to determine the most accurate estimate, as they will be able to use their years of knowledge and expertise in order to reduce the margin of error as much as possible. Especially with a niche of an area of the market as Drexel furniture, seeking the opinion of a specialist is essential. Luckily, there are professionals in the field available here at Value My Stuff who can assist in your valuation needs so that you can find out how much your Drexel furniture is worth today! Start a valuation of your Drexel Furniture here!

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