From the Worthologist’s File: Picasso Bistro Table & Chairs

One of the advantages of being an appraiser is the sheer volume of incredible things one comes across on a weekly basis. Not all are hugely valuable, antique, rare or even all that sought after. Often, their value is sentimental, but many times they come with priceless provenances. Our Worthologist filing cabinet is a treasure chest of such items, stuffed with appraisal requests from our clients asking about everything from stuffed aardvarks to folk art zithers, all of which I’ll cover here in this column.

A WorthPoint client wrote to us asking about a Picasso bistro/pub table and chairs set they had purchased in the 1990s. We were able to find what comparable items have sold for recently and pegged the general value for her.


Our Client Writes:

“I have a Picasso bistro/pub table and chairs set I purchased in Dallas, Texas in 1995, at a high-end furniture store for $1,500. The tags are all there, and they say Minson Corporation, the address in Montebello, California.

I did look up the company; they are still in business and at the same address in Montebello. The set is in excellent condition and has never been re-done. It is made of wood with a metal base and metal chairs, urethane, vinyl, foam, with a Picasso print top. It measures 35 inches across, 43 inches tall and 2 ½-inches thick.

Thank you for any help in value.”

Our Valuation

It’s my opinion this set was fairly new when purchased. While this set is based on the Art Deco style popular from the 1920s until the start of the Second World War (1939), it’s unlikely it predates the late 1970s. Sets like this have fairly high retail values when first sold, but take drastic drops in value once they leave the store. Values for these sets in the resale/secondary market today depend a great deal on their condition and quality of construction, but because there are so many pieces of it available in the current market, values tend to be modest for them.

Bistro sets like this still have modest values in the resale/secondary market, even if in good condition. Most used sets tend to sell through restaurant supply wholesalers and liquidators (restaurants have very high failure rates). Minson still produces furniture for this market under its “Pastel Furniture” line, the stools/chairs retailing (new) in the $200 to $400 range each.


A set of six Minson chairs, like this set, recently sold for $275.

According to data from our Worthopedia, at auction comparable sets of six Minson chairs, like the set above, have sold for $275. Comparable table and chair sets similar to yours, in very good condition, now sell most often in the auction market, where they go in the $450 to $600 range.

Mike Wilcox, of Wilcox & Hall Appraisers, is a Worthologist who specializes in Art Nouveau and the Arts and Craft movement. He can be reached through his website.

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