Several months back during one of our editorial meetings, the team here went deep into the bizarre, frequently headscratching, occasionally rewarding process of searching for furniture online during COVID. Like many of you, we were pretty active on the nesting front. And like a few of you, we frequently lost ourselves in the bananas world of Facebook Marketplace and Craigslist in search of that perfect piece that had been overlooked by everyone, but that was just waiting for a sand, and maybe a quick coat of paint to bring it back to its glory. 

Quickly the talk pivoted from quests for the Holy Grail to our utter astonishment over what people will try to sell…and what they’ll try to sell them for. We one-upped each other with tales of those who paid $450 for a chair, used it for 3 years and then wanted to sell it for $400 (always noting that you saved the taxes they paid back in 2018). In the real world Ikea is a reasonably priced brand, beloved by students and offering everyone a jolt of Scandi cool at an affordable price. But in this online world Ikea is the gold standard€”the place where can buy a bunkbed, have two monsters beat the living crap out of it for half a decade and then sell it for $30 less than you paid. Well, $30…and you save on the tax. My colleague Alyssa went deep on the phenomena here

But there’s a flipside to this secondhand hustle. For every Malm bed that changes hands at 88% retail, there’s a piece of traditional furniture that lingers online forever like some awkward kid at high school dance. This is the story of one such piece.

READ MORE: How Much Can You Resell Your Ikea Furniture for?

In the history of American furniture, there are few names that loom larger than Henredon. Founded in North Carolina in 1945, it quickly became the top of the food chain for those wanting to buy high-end solid wood furniture. Higher end than almost everything other than custom, it nonetheless prospered by hiring such luminaries as legendary designer Dorothy Draper and Frank Lloyd Wright to design collections. When Ralph Lauren moved into high-end furnishings, it was Henredon that he chose as his manufacturer. I recall being a young man who had saved up for months to take my wife to the iconic Four Seasons Clift in San Francisco (I actually used a coupon from the back of one of those Entertainment books your co-workers try to push on you) and being in awe that the writing desk in our beside-the-service-elevator room was made by Henredon. But like many industries, the ability to keep manufacturing going in the United States was taxing and it’s more traditional offerings become less desirable to the moneyed-set who wanted all Italy, all the time. They were sold in 2018 and while they are technically still in business (here’s their sad presence on Wayfair), their website heartbreakingly says “Coming Soon.”

If you go on 1st dibs, there’s still plenty of pieces being offered for princely sums. You know where Henredon pieces aren’t fetching princely sums? Facebook Marketplace. There’s this armoire for $45, this sort of awesome slightly terrifying sectional for $300 and even this hopeful person in Victoria who’s trying to sell a dining room suite for $9,000 (which they probably paid $25,000 for). Oh yeah, there’s also some big-hearted sort trying to give away a solid wood hutch. For free. And he’s been trying to do this for 13 weeks. I am he.

To be fair, when I bought the piece a decade ago Henredon had already lost some (okay much) of its lustre. I bought the hutch and a table with 4 chairs for $650 I think. I shudder to think how much I could sell $650 worth of IKEA.

It’s tempting to chalk this up to a move away from traditional furniture, and while this is part of it, it’s not the entire story. We obviously skew more modern here at WL, but we still get our share of beautiful traditional homes that are wonderfully decorated. And unlike modernism€”there are no Ikea or Article options to get the look for less€”luxe traditional isn’t an easy look to hack. I think the major reason is that the kinds of people who buy this type of furniture aren’t interested in trolling Craigslist, and that the idea of saving a few bucks (or several thousand) by buying used furniture isn’t in their sweet spot.

But all of this adds up to perhaps one of the last bastion of deals on the secondary market.