The Nearly Extinct Formal Dining Room

“What's It Worth” Antiques Minute

June 8, 2018

When I teach my Home Downsizing Program, I often ask the class this question: “I’ve never been into your home, but let me guess. You either have, or had, a formal dining room. In that dining room you have an extension table with leaves, 4-6-8-12 chairs, a sideboard, and a hutch that is either open-top or with glass doors. On the top hutch shelves are your items of pride, including Limoges china, Waterford crystal, Hummel or Lladro figurines, family mementos, and other similar items. Hidden beneath is a set of rarely-used china, platters, candles and candelabras, napkins and napkin ring holders, flatware, silverplate, and wedding gifts from many years ago, etc.”
“You’ve been in my home!,” the class jokes. As my generation ages, we’re typically selling our dining room contents as we prepare to move into smaller quarters. But the younger generation is not buying. They could care less about the formal dining experience, and many don’t even have dining rooms.
So when you’re ready to sell your formal dining room contents, try to focus on the many years of fond memories it provided and not the depressingly soft prices things are selling for today.
What’s it Worth? A client’s Pennsylvania House cherry dining room set, in excellent condition, complete with table and leaves, sideboard, and hutch, sold for $325, at a very reputable auction house. After auction commission and delivery expense, they netted around $200 for the entire set.
Mike Ivankovich is an auctioneer, appraiser, home downsizing expert, and host of the "What's It Worth? Ask Mike the Appraiser" radio show that airs live on Friday mornings from 9 to 10 a.m. on WBCB 1490 AM in the greater Philadelphia area. It is available on the internet at His show also airs in Denver, Co., on KEZW Cruisin 1430 AM on Saturdays from 3 to 4 p.m. MST and Sundays from 11 a.m. to noon MST, and on the internet at
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