Justin Miller has a keen eye for design. And it just paid off for him in a big way. As a home design content creator, every day he spends a bit of time on Facebook Marketplace looking for interesting finds. In February, a rundown leather chair being sold for $50 by a family in Beverly Hills caught his eye, and he decided to snatch it up.
“When I first saw the chair, I loved the color of leather and I thought it had a really interesting shape,” Miller shared. “As I was messaging the seller to arrange a time to pick up the chair, she said something along the lines of ‘If you repair the chair, it’s worth a lot.'”
After the exchange, Miller was curious to learn more about his new chair. And a quick search online told him that his $50 purchase could be worth up to $100,000. What Miller discovered was that his $50 find was a rare high-back wing chair by the renowned Danish furniture designer Frits Henningsen.
Known for his perfectionism and dedication to creating handmade pieces, Henningsen has a dedicated following among design lovers. It turns out that Miller's chair dated to around 1935 and was only one of 50 ever made. After posting his discovery on TikTok, he followed the advice in the comments and contacted Sotheby's.
The auction house was very interested in Miller's chair and was willing to do the necessary repairs to put it up for auction. So, Miller shipped his chair off to New York and waited patiently until it was time to sell. That day came in early June, when the chair was part of Sotheby's Important Design auction.
Over the course of three minutes, a bidding war ensued, pushing the price will beyond its original estimate of $30,000 to $50,000. In the end, Miller's chair sold for $85,000 ($107,950 after buyer's fees) and the designer could not hold back tears as he broadcast the moment on TikTok.
“We are absolutely delighted that Justin’s chair achieved this outstanding result,” Carina Villinger, head of 20th Century Design at Sotheby's, told TODAY.com. “From the moment he contacted Sotheby’s to restore and sell his armchair, we’ve enjoyed learning about his discovery, which achieved a record price for this model by Frits Henningsen.”
Miller will be using his profit wisely, but purchasing something small for himself and putting the rest in savings to use in the future for a down payment on a home. The whole experience has been highly rewarding and only encouraged Miller to continue his online thrifting, which he documents on TikTok.
Justin Miller purchased a $50 chair on Facebook Marketplace, only to discover it was worth $100,000.
@miztermiller Can’t believe I just found this amazing designer chair on Facebook Marketplace for $50! Could be worth $100,000 #homedecor #interiordesign #diy #homerenovation #thrifted #vintage #thrifthaul #facebookmarketplace #antiques ♬ love nwantinti (ah ah ah) – CKay
Created by Danish furniture designer Frits Henningsen, the chair is quite rare, and so Sotheby's took an interest.
@miztermiller Replying to @minnymau5 UPDATE on the $100k chair, and answering some questions! #homedecor #interiordesign #diy #homerenovation #thrifted #vintage #thrifthaul #facebookmarketplace #antiques #sothebys ♬ love nwantinti (ah ah ah) – CKay
@miztermiller The day we’ve been waiting for is almost here! My chair goes to auction with @Sotheby’s Wednesday morning, June 7th. This has been such a fun journey! #homedecor #interiordesign #diy #thriftfinds #thrifted #facebookmarketplace #sothebys #auction #antique #rarefind ♬ Hip Hop Background(958742) – Pavel
After the auction house repaired the chair, it went for auction and sold for $85,000, much to Miller's joy.
@miztermiller Replying to @harryjowsey I CAN’T BELIEVE IT!! My chair finally went to auction. What you see here is the hammer price, the buyer ended up paying $22k more on top of this. Thank you to the @Sotheby’s team for their hard work. CRAZY! #homedecor #interiordesign #diy #thriftfinds #thrifted #facebookmarketplace #sothebys #auction #rarefind #antique ♬ original sound – Mizter Justin Miller
If you're curious about Miller's profit, he shared a breakdown of what he actually pocketed.
@miztermiller Replying to @zzzachariah Hopefully I was able to answer all your questions about my recent @Sotheby’s auction. If you have any other questions, let me know! #homedecor #interiordesign #diy #thriftfinds #thrifted #facebookmarketplace #sothebys #auction #rarefind #antique ♬ original sound – Mizter Justin Miller