After more than a decade in business, the online furniture emporium 1stdibs is well known for providing dealers with a wider market for, and buyers a wider selection of, coveted antiques and modern furnishings. The site's founder, former real estate agent Michael Bruno, has translated the site's success into a stellar collection of prime New York metro real estate. Meanwhile, 1stdibs has gone from a one-off business selling Parisian antiques online to a company doing $650M a year in sales, partly on the back of some truly absurdly expensive items. Fit for $88M Central Park West apartments or $120M London rowhouses, the highest-priced 1stdibs furniture offerings are jaw-droppingly expensive, at least for those of us who can't afford nine-figure homes. Details on the five most expensive, below.
? Originally designed for the now-demolished Philadelphia Municipal Auditorium, these French-made Art Deco hanging lamps are asking $750K, per lamp. The full set of four, dubiously described as "possibly the only set of this style of Art Deco hanging lamps in existence," would therefore set a buyer back a whopping $3M. Of course, at a towering 14-feet tall, the lamps won't even fit in most human-scaled rooms. Redoing the Hoover Dam as your private, tastefully furnished domain? These might come in handy.
? Eighteenth-century Italian writing desks are rare enough, but this particular model, a secretaire that was nearly completely covered in fine tortoiseshell underlaid with 22-karat gold has to be one of the rarest and best preserved of its era. Striking a rather conventional silhouette when closed, the front panels open to reveal an intricately inlaid interior, complete with a pilastered niche, spiral columns, and a litany of drawers and shelves. The fine detailing rarity may help to explain the eye-popping $1.25M price tag.
? The only known remaining example of a Murano glass chandelier designed by legendary 19th-century Venetian glassmaker Giulio Salviati, this gold-tint crystal chandelier was removed from the Salviati Museum sometime in the late 1970s, and hung for 30 odd years in the dining room of a fine Venetian palazzo. Said to be in "mint condition [...] with no pieces missing," this "fully functional" chandelier is listed for $1M.
? Value can be found in this $985K bedroom set that once belonged to Egypt's King Farouk. Sure, it's expensive—at least $983K more expensive than the average bedroom set—but buyers get the intricately detailed bed frame and seven additional matching pieces from the workshop of renowned Parisian Antoine Krieger. Some sense of the sort of buyer these extravagant pieces attract: "A similar bedroom suite was acquired by circus magnate John Ringling to adorn his bedroom at Ca d'Zan," a 56-room Venetian-inspired mansion in Sarasota, Fla.
? Similar lines of reassuring provenance are found in the listing for this sideboard, once part of a pair constructed in Lyon at "the height of the French Renaissance," c. 1580. The matching piece, separated from this one in the 1840s, ended up in the collection of Gilded Age industrialist Henry Clay Frick and now is "a prized possession of the famed Frick Collection." Superlatives abound in the listing, which describes construction by the "most skilled artisans ... during the very first period of decorative furniture." Which all sounds a little ridiculous until one comes across the $985K price tag.
· A Collector's Approach to Property [WSJ]
· A Unique Set of 4 French Art Deco Glass & Bronze Ballroom Lights [1stdibs]
· An 18th c. Italian Tortoiseshell & 22k Gold Leaf Secretaire [1stdibs]
· 1 of a Kind Crystal Chandelier From The Salviati Museum Venice [1stdibs]
· Egyptian King Farouk Empire Bedroom Suite [1stdibs]
· Francis I Renaissance Sideboard [1stdibs]