The sale in New York featured six rare examples which each achieved impressive six-figure results.
Vintage Contour Chairs are original chairs designed to fit to the contours of the human form.
Brief history and description
Contour Chairs are regarded by many as a great combination of form and functionality.
Production of contour chairs by the Contour Chair Company began in the mid-1950s and did not end until the late-1980s, operating from their factory in St. Louis, Missouri.
The chairs were particularly notable for being custom designed to suit the needs of each individual customer, and were intended for lounging in comfort, with highly adjustable features.
Contour chairs have an unusual shape, and earlier models, sometimes made in wood, include a lever which when pressed will recline the chair to suit the customer’s intended level. A particularly unusual feature of the contour chair is in this design, which is intended to support the whole body.
Guide for collectors
Vintage contour chairs have appeared at both mainstream and specialist auctioneers, and the chairs are also available at online auctioneers such as eBay, though as with most online purchases, collectors are advised to seek professional opinion if they are in doubt as to the date of the piece in question.
Vintage contour chairs, like many objects of their type, are highly collectible, but available at widely varying prices.
At the higher end of the price scale, a Vladimir Kagan contour lounge chair dated from 1953 auctioned from Wright on 6th October 2011 for $8,000.
On 25th June 2005, a brown contour chair by the Contour Chair Company (dated from 1957) auctioned from Skinner for $325.
Towards the lower end of the price scale, a contour lounge chair dated from the 1970s sold from Uniques & Antiques, Inc. on 15th February 2011 for $110, whilst a leather and moulded plywood mid-20th century contour chair sold for $100 from Stephenson’s Auction on 2nd May 2008.
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