Furniture designers have been using marble has been used for centuries to luxuriously furnish homes. In the centuries since, many gorgeous tables have graced homes around the world. Whether you want to learn more about a lovely family heirloom or are shopping for the perfect accent for your living room, it's important to understand the styles available and how these tables are valued.
Valuation of Your Marble Table
The value of a marble top table depends on several factors, including its age, condition, quality, and rarity. Style and size can also play a role, since these are functional pieces of furniture that must fit in with other decor.
Era or Age
Age can have a significant impact on value. For example, a marble and inlaid semi-precious stone table from about 1600 to 1620 sold at Sotheby's for 3,509,000 British pounds in 2015. This was a very fine and rare example, but being four centuries old increased its value significantly.
While you aren't likely to find something as old as this table in your local antique shop, you will encounter examples dating back to the 1700s and 1800s if you look carefully. Tables from the Victorian era are common, though still valuable. For instance, an Eastlake-style Victorian marble table from the 1880s sold on eBay in 2018 for $465.
Tables from the early and middle 20th century also have value, especially to those who love to decorate with the simpler lines of this era. You can find examples for a few hundred dollars, such as this vintage Art Deco cast iron and marble table on Etsy. It features a simple, round white marble top and retails for about $250.
Condition, Quality, and Rarity
The materials used in a table can have a huge effect on how much it is worth. Something that started out as excellent quality will still be excellent quality centuries later. For example, in 2018, a black Egyptian marble table with a rosewood base and delicate gilt stenciling sold at a Sotheby's auction for $112,500. At the time it was commissioned in about 1825, the rarity of the black marble and the fine rosewood would have made this a costly purchase. Time has only added to its value.
Condition will also impact value. A table that's in nearly perfect condition or excellent shape for its age will fetch top dollar. However, marble is a delicate material and is prone to staining, cracking, and pitting. If time has taken its toll, you can expect to see a drop in value. The amount will depend on the extent of the damage.
Type of Table
The type of table will also contribute to its value. In general, larger tables are worth more money, but there are lots of other factors to consider.
- You can find an end table or nightstand for as little as $10 at a garage sale, although many sell in the range of $250 and up.
- Console tables are also a hot item for today's homes. Many retail in the range of $300 to $700, but exceptional examples will fetch more. For example, a rosewood and marble console table from 1860 sold on eBay in 2018 for almost $2,000.
- Marble coffee tables and parlor tables are additional options. You'll often see them for sale for several hundred dollars, even into the thousands, like a Victorian 1850s parlor lamp table for about $1,700.
- While they aren't as common, marble-topped dining tables are lovely and valuable too. Depending on size and condition, you can find examples for around $1,000, such as this Victorian hexagonal marble dining table, which sold on eBay in 2018. However, they often sell for several thousand dollars.
One of the oldest known Italian marble tables is the Farnese table, which can be seen in the Metropolitan Museum. This table was designed by architect Giacoma Barozzi da Vignola (1507-1573). It was created with marble as well as alabaster and semi-precious stones.
Thomas Jefferson was reported to have four marble topped tables that he brought from Paris in the 1790s. While many people think of antique marble tables as being specifically Victorian, obviously, this is not the case. They were popular during the 1700s as well.
Rococo Revival style is one of the earliest Victorian styles. It had heavily carved, rounded decorations and lines. Many of the Rococo Revival style tables have marble tops. This style came into vogue in the 1840s. An excellent example of a marble topped Rococo Revival table can be seen at PricesForAntiques.
What to Look For When Buying
You should carefully check the antique table in which you are interested. Keep these tips in mind:
- Don't just look at the top. Check the attachment of the top to the base and the overall condition of the item. The base should be sturdy.
- Look for stains, chips, and cracks in the marble because these will have an effect on the value. Of course, an antique item can be expected to have some wear, but be sure it is not extensive or hasn't caused a weakness or flaw to the piece.
- Check with the dealer about delivery. Marble can be difficult to transport, and it is best to have the dealer deliver it if possible. That way if the marble cracks or breaks, you will not be out the cost of the item.
Cleaning Your Marble Topped Table
Marble is quite durable, but there are some things that can permanently mar the surface:
- Always be sure to clean spills up immediately. Acids from foods and other substances can permanently etch the surface.
- Placing a glass directly on the surface of the table can leave permanent rings.
- Marble stains easily, another reason to keep spills wiped up.
- Wash the table top regularly with warm water. Be sure to dry it well with a soft cloth.
- About two times a year, wash the top with a gently dish soap and warm water. Rinse it carefully and wipe dry.
- If your antique marble top has stains, then you will need to treat the stain according to the type of stain it is. Just use a soft, white cloth and moisten it with the suggested substance. Leave it on the stain for at least an hour or up to two days. You will need to keep the cloth moist.
- Coffee or tea stains can be cleaned with a 20 percent hydrogen peroxide solution.
- To remove oil, just spread with cornstarch to soak up the oil. Let it stand for 24 hours, reapplying the cornstarch if you need to soak up more oil. Wipe the cornstarch off and wash with dish soap and water or a little ammonia. Rinse and dry.
An Heirloom That Lasts for Centuries
Antique marble top tables can be beautiful additions to almost any room in your home. They are very durable and don't need a lot of care. With some basic cleaning, your antique table can be an heirloom that lasts for centuries.