The most expensive piece of furniture in the world, and you don’t even know it.

It cost the effort of 30 craftsmen for 6 years and almost 30 million euros.

One of the things that make a piece of furniture worth a fortune is its age, so we can say that The Badminton Cabinet more than delivers. In fact, it has already twice broken the record for the most expensive piece of furniture in the world.
Henry Somerset, 5th Duke of Beaufort, commissioned this piece of furniture to be built in 1726 at the age of 19 (think there was no Instagram and something to spend his time on) as a token of his Badminton, Gloucestershire lineage in England; hence the name.

The Badminton Cabinet

Translated into English, the Badminton cabinet was built by 30 designers (cabinetmakers, carpenters…) who worked on it for 6 years. It is considered the last piece to be patronized by the Medici, a very influential Italian family in the Renaissance period.


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This cabinet could store shoes, instruments and other personal items. It is built with ebony wood and semiprecious stones such as amethysts and quartz. It is 3.86 meters high and 2.32 meters wide.

At the top, the clock whose dial is decorated with mother-of-pearl fleurs-de-lis is striking. On both sides, it is guarded by two golden statuettes and, at the top, a coat of arms.

The diamond-shaped legs (4 at the front and 4 at the back) are made of hardstone , a technique widely used at the time. The cabinet is divided into three horizontal parts with integrated drawers that surround the central part: the closet (just like the ones nowadays, eh).


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Evidently, nothing to do with it. This type of furniture differs from the rest because of the quality of its materials, its elegance and, as I mentioned before, its antiquity, and that is why it is called luxury furniture.

But what is luxury furniture?

If you can say“no two are alike,” then you’re looking at one. These pieces usually take a completely different process of creation, design and production, and that makes the price so high.

The quality of the finishes and materials or the work and qualifications of professional craftsmen are some of the aspects that make them unique pieces. But you have to be careful, as they can often pull the wool over our eyes, especially with antique furniture.


How to know if an antique piece of furniture is good

To differentiate whether a piece is an original or a copy, you can look at the following:

  • Quality of the materials, such as the upholstery (thicker to support the weight), denser foam padding, how the fabric is (velvet), etc.
  • Age of wood: if the interior is chipboard, forget about it. Just think that before the Industrial Revolution, furniture was handcrafted and individualized. A sign of this will be irregular edges, saw marks on the bottom of the drawer, wooden frames under the chair, irregular cuts, regular and continuous planing of the wood, wood wear…
  • The patina (or varnish) of the wood: antique pieces are treated with virgin beeswax and solvent or gum arabic. For this reason, they are of lighter tones, which is not so easy to achieve with new or industrially stained woods.
  • Furniture details: cotter pins, thick-headed nails with square section (widely used from the 17th century onwards) or trims, handles, hinges… made of worn or rusted metal.

But let’s not lose our way

In 1803 Henry Somerset died, so his descendants inherited the furniture. But, as it usually happens in these situations, the relatives didn’t want it (that, or there was some influencer niece who had too many clothes and they didn’t fit).

In any case, in 1990 it was sold to the art collector Barbara Piasecka Johnson, for no less than 10 million euros.


barbara piasecka johnson

Almost 15 years later, it must be that with the arrival of another influencer, it was auctioned again, this time by Christie’s. And it was then Johan Kraeftner, director of the Liechtenstein Museum, who bought it for (hold on to your seat) 27.5 million euros!

But, as they say, there are no twos without threes. So we’ll have to wait and see who beats him.

In the meantime, keep the name of some of the most expensive furniture in the world, in case they appear on TV or you plan to make an investment 😛


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John Goddard’s desk

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If you can’t afford the investment

Don’t worry; what you invest in your furniture is not as important as what drives you to buy it.

Do you want to know?

Visit my section on House Coaching and let’s discover it together.

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