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Sitting on a goldmine: LA furniture designer buys 30s chair for $50: sells at Sotheby’s for $85,000


Sitting on a gold mine: LA furniture designer, 33, picks up 1930s armchair for $50 from Facebook marketplace, then sells it at Sotheby’s for $85,000

  • Justin Miller, 33, found a leather chair on Facebook Marketplace that was being sold by a Beverly Hills homeowner
  • He went to see the chair and found it impressive: research taught him that it could be valuable, but he had no idea how much
  • On June 7, Danish designer Frits Henningsen’s 1930s chair was sold at auction by Sotheby’s, reaching $85,000

A Los Angeles furniture designer celebrates after buying a leather chair for $50 on Facebook Marketplace — and then selling it for $85,000.

Justin Miller, 33, said he thought the 1930s Danish wingback chair was worth more than the sellers wanted, but he had no idea 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 items for projects I’m working on,” he told Newsweek.

“Whenever I find something that looks unique and well-made, I look it up online to learn more about it.”

The brown chair was created by the Danish designer Frits Henningsen.

“When I first saw the chair, I liked the color of leather, and I thought it had a really interesting shape, so I wanted to learn more about it,” Miller said.

Justin Miller, 33, found this chair at a Beverly Hills home sale through Facebook Marketplace

Miller posted a TikTok showing the Sotheby's auction in real time

Miller posted a TikTok showing the Sotheby’s auction in real time

He found it when a Beverly Hills family put their furniture up for sale, and when he went to personally inspect it, the owners said it was “worth a lot of money.”

Henningsen was known for his “exceptional craftsmanship and innovative approach to making beautiful furniture,” according to Henningsen Sotheby’s — who sold the chair at auction on June 7.

They described the chair as “a rare and important example of his work.”

“Learning from generations of furniture makers in his family, Henningsen used high-quality materials and traditional manufacturing techniques to create a sturdy and durable chair,” wrote Sotheby’s.

The curved lines combine with the historic wing shape to create a visually novel yet elegant design.

‘The current chair, probably one of only fifty examples known to have been produced, retains 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 secured it and buyers would restore it properly.

“The future owner will probably take it to a restorer and have it repaired properly and seamlessly. It’s insane what these leather restorers can do,” Miller added.

Miller said he regularly buys and sells furniture online

Miller said he regularly buys and sells furniture online

The chair eventually sold for $85,000 - the unknown buyer will also have to pay $22,000 in fees

The chair eventually sold for $85,000 – the unknown buyer will also have to pay $22,000 in fees

He filmed a TikTok of the auction, which showed the moment the hammer fell.

Miller said he hoped it would reach $40,000, but he had no idea it would reach 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 amount paid to $108,000.

“I found some great pieces on Facebook Marketplace,” Miller said.

“Definitely some that can sell for a few thousand each, but nothing like this.”

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