Are you in charge of the clean up after an elder family member leaves home? Before you contract with senior moving services or pack items off to Goodwill, take stock of the home goods. While most estates won’t contain a Chippendale or Ming vase, there are many items from the Baby Boomer generation that are hot in the design world right now. The resurgence of the mid-century modern aesthetic has been the biggest home design trend in the last five years. Learn about how to spot and sell these items below to capitalize on the midcentury craze.

Mid-Century Modern Furniture

Defined as product design between post-World War II and the 1960s, the central features of mid-century modern pieces are clean lines and simple finishes that showcase the wood’s natural beauty. Pieces by Eames, Noguchi, and Nelson fetch the highest prices, but any piece that can be defined as mid-century modern has more market value than the average old desk. Pieces with short, tapered legs that float furniture above the ground are particularly trendy right now.

If you have these pieces to sell and are conducting an estate sale, be certain to include “mid-century modern furniture” in the listing. You’ll attract many additional buyers. If you have a particularly special piece, consider posting it on eBay. A buyer across the country may be willing to pay a significant price and the furniture shipping premium for the exact right mid-century dining table.

Vintage Beware

As mixology and classic cocktails have come surging back into popularity, there’s a big market for barware from the 40s, 50s, and 60s. Consider posting these items on eBay as well, or do a little research to see if there are vintage consignment shops in your area that would pay a nice sum for them.

Dorothy Thorpe and Georges Briard are the top names for vintage barware collectors. Thorpe glassware typically features wide silver bands or sandblasted floral motifs. Find out how to identify a Thorpe collection. Georges Briard was a fascinating man who was born in Russia and worked as an Army interpreter for General Patton in World War II. He was a painter as well, but his iconic designs for trays and barware are what made him famous. Finally, Couroc trays are another hot item right now. These inlaid black resin trays are easy to identify by the Couroc signature either inlaid on the back or on a gold sticker.

Wall Décor

Don’t throw away that pressed tin peacock! The wall decorations that your parents or grandparents purchased for their first home may look a little silly to you, but they could fetch impressive prices. Kitchen clocks from the 1950s are trendy right now, along with 1960s sunburst mirrors. Look for similar items on eBay or in vintage shops to gauge what price you should ask for in an estate sale or online.

Estate shipping and liquidation expenses can add up. Take the time to explore the value of mid-century modern pieces before giving or throwing them away. You might be surprised to find that selling Grandpa’s old lounge chair covers all of his moving expenses.


Why We Love Mid-Century Modern Design