Sitting on a gold mine: The 33-year-old LA furniture designer bought a 1930s wingback chair for $50 on Facebook Marketplace — and then sold it at Sotheby’s for $85,000
- Justin Miller, 33, found a leather armchair on Facebook Marketplace that was being sold by a homeowner in Beverly Hills
- He looked at the chair and thought it was impressive: research showed it might be valuable, but he had no idea how much
- On June 7, Danish designer Frits Henningsen’s 1930s chair was auctioned at Sotheby’s, fetching $85,000
A Los Angeles-based furniture designer celebrates after buying a leather chair on Facebook Marketplace for $50 and then selling it for $85,000.
Justin Miller, 33, said he thought the 1930s Danish wing chair was worth more than sellers wanted, but he didn’t think it would be worth 1,700 times the retail price.
“I create home content for TV and social media, so I spend a lot of time on Facebook Marketplace to find articles for projects I’m working on,” he told Newsweek.
“Whenever I find something that looks unique and well made, I look online to learn more about it.”
The brown chair was designed by Danish designer Frits Henningsen.
“When I first saw the chair, I loved the color of the leather and thought it had a really interesting shape, so I wanted to know more about it,” Miller said.
Justin Miller, 33, found this chair at a home sale in Beverly Hills through Facebook Marketplace
Miller posted a TikTok showing Sotheby’s auction in real time
He found it when a Beverly Hills family put their furniture up for sale, and when he personally viewed it, the owners said it was “worth a lot of money.”
Henningsen is known for his “extraordinary craftsmanship and innovative approach to creating beautiful furniture”. Sotheby’s – who auctioned the chair on June 7th.
They described the chair as “a rare and important example of his work”.
“Learned by generations of furniture and carpentry craftsmen in his family, Henningsen used quality materials and traditional manufacturing techniques to create a strong and durable chair,” wrote Sotheby’s.
“The curved lines combine with the historic wingback shape to create a visually innovative yet elegant design.”
“The present chair, probably one of only around fifty examples known to have been made, has retained its original leather and offers a unique opportunity to acquire a peerless object that has become an icon of Danish design.”
The leather was damaged, but Miller said Sotheby’s had secured it and buyers would properly restore it.
“The prospective owner will likely take it to a restorer and have it repaired properly and seamlessly.” “It’s crazy what these leather restorers can do,” Miller added.
Miller said he frequently buys and sells furniture online
The chair eventually sold for $85,000 — the unknown buyer also has to pay $22,000 in fees
He filmed a TikTok of the auction showing the moment the gavel fell.
Miller said he hoped it would reach $40,000, but had no idea it would cost more than double that.
The “hammer price” for the chair was $85,000, but the seller had to pay an additional $22,000 in fees, bringing the total price to $108,000.
“I found some great pieces on Facebook Marketplace,” Miller said.
“Definitely a few that could sell for a few thousand apiece, but nothing quite like it.”