1. Archive

The changing face of Nordic

Published Oct. 10, 2005

If you ask for "Scandinavian style" furniture, you are shown modern, light wooden furniture of simple plain designs. Many pieces designed in the 1950s are still being made and collected. However, the Scandinavian furniture of the 18th and 19th centuries was as ornate as the styles popular in other parts of Europe. Gilded French-style pieces, carved heavy oak chairs in the English style and even Islamic details were incorporated into the designs.

The overstuffed, fringed and ornate furniture was losing favor by the 20th century. After that, light, airy interiors with bright colors became fashionable. By the 1920s, designers were making pieces with lighter woods and less carving, but still in the shapes that were popular in the earlier years.

By the 1950s the very modern designs of Scandinavia had an international market. The 1920s pieces have been ignored by collectors as "transitional" and unimportant, but recent auctions have now revealed new interest. The furniture was handmade of fine woods and blends with the old and the modern.

Current prices

Current prices are recorded from antiques shows and auctions throughout the United States.

Hanging lamp, brass, cylindrical, mounted on iron hook, stamped "L.P. Fries, St. Louis, Mo.," 11 in.: $25.

Donald Duck Coffee bank, Free Sample, tin, slit in top: $220.

Baseball, 1927 or 1928 Yankees, signed by Babe Ruth, Lou Gehrig, others: $2,640.

Send questions to: Antiques, Ralph and Terry Kovel, c/o The St. Petersburg Times, P.O. Box 22900, Beachwood, Ohio 44122.