The popular opinion for years is that they don’t make IKEA furniture to last. There’s a reason the pieces are so affordable right? Well, there’s one IKEA piece of furniture that has not only lasted, but just went for quite the high price. Via Design Taxi, we’ve learned that a 1959 Cavelli armchair, created by celebrated designer Bengt Ruda, was the pièce de résistance at Swedish auction house Stadsautkion Sundsvall’s most recent auction. It finally sold for a whopping 151,000 Swedish Krona—or $16,660. That’s one popular armchair.
Supposedly, this sixty-two-old IKEA chair’s sale set a new world record for the highest price spent on an IKEA piece of furniture. At least, that’s what reports from Barnebys and Sweden Culture have stated. But a few years back, tabloids like Daily Mail and The Sun ran stories that a totally different (but equally rare) IKEA chairs had sold for “up to £50,000,” or the equivalent of U.S. $66,000 dollars. All at an unnamed auction. But without further documentation of those, we’re going to have to go with the Cavelli chair being the record holder.
So why so dang much? Apparently, the Cavelli armchair is so rare because of just how expensive it was to construct. The IKEA Museum says that it ever produced only five units of the chair. Their founder, Ingvar Kamprad, liked to keep his material costs very low. A practice that continues to this day at IKEA. So they couldn’t mass produce this piece of furniture the way they would their other products.
In the 1959 IKEA catalog, the description for the armchair noted, “No expense has been spared and no stone left unturned to make Cavelli an aristocrat of the 1960s.” Come to think of it, its 1960s aesthetic is very strong. It practically looks like something in Don Draper’s home from Mad Men. Ten years ago, IKEA revived the design for a metal outdoor char. That one is probably not going for sixteen grand, though. But hey, maybe at some auction in 2062 it will. You just never know.