Nadeau's sells more Margolis and Fineberg Furniture than anyone in the country. Please contact us if you would like a free estimate of your item
The highest priced piece of Margolis ever sold at auction
Custom mahogany inlaid sideboard raised on 8 square tapered legs, signed Margolis, January 1, 2005, REALIZED PRICE $21,850.00
The Second Highest Priced Piece of Margolis Furniture Ever Sold at Auction
Chippendale style mahogany lowboy, in the style of Philadelphia, Nathan Margolis, 1921, Hartford Connecticut, January 1, 2003 - REALIZED PRICE - $14,950.00
The Third Highest Priced Piece of Margolis Furniture Ever Sold at Auction
Baltimore style, mahogany inlaid sidebaord, by Margolis, Hartford, Connecticut, March, 1997 - REALIZED PRICE - $14,850.00
Charles J. Post one time worker for Margolis
Chippendale style lowboy, incised "Made for Ida Becker Cion by Charles J. Post", November 4, 1989, realized price - $12,500.00
Custom mahogany carved Chippendale style open armchair, Margolis, Hartford Connecticut, January 1, 2005 - realized price $2,400.00
Custom mahogany Chippendale style highboy, by Fineberg, Hartford Connecticut, January 1, 2004 - realized price - $4,800.00
Custom mahogany Federal style inlaid mahogany sideboard, Margolis, Hartford Connecticut, January 1, 2005 - realized price - $12,650.00
Custom mahogany Federal style 5 drawer bowed front chest, made by Fineberg, Hartford Connecticut, January 1, 2004 - realized price $6,037.50
George III style carved mahogany extending dining table, Margolis, Hartford Connecticut, January 1, 2004 - realized price $7,187.50
The Nathan Margolis Shop
The Antiques of the Future, Margolis of Hartford, Connecticut
By Charles Nathan Margolis
Nathan Margolis was born in Yanova, Russia in 1873, the son of Charles and Eva Margolis. His father was a cabinet maker as were his brothers Abraham, Simon, Jacob and Reuben. He immigrated to Hartford about 1892. It is interesting to note that the famed Israel Sack was also an apprentice in Yanova.
Upon his arrival in America, Nathan dealt in the sale and restoration of antique pieces, but he soon became a specialist in fabricating authentic reproductions of antique furniture. Wallace Nutting once referred to Nathan Margolis as the "best cabinet maker in America."
The Nathan Margolis Shop, as we think of it today, opened in Hartford in 1894. Business was good and Nathan's workmanship found its way into the homes of many prominent families. Father and brothers were sent for and came to work in the shop.
Jacob Margolis relocated to New York and became an antique dealer of national reputation. Reuben was also an antique dealer in the Hartford area and bought both locally and abroad for many old line Hartford families.
Nathan died on February 8, 1925 and was succeeded in business by his son, Harold D. Margolis. Harold, in turn, was commissioned to fabricate antique reproductions by many discriminating private clients, among them the Connecticut Historical Society, which undertook the task of restoring the Old State House. He restored 13 arm chairs and window stools (made by Kneeland and Adams of Hartford) and handcrafted 12 additional chairs and 8 window stools and designed and built all the missing Senate tables. It is difficult to tell the old from the new, they were so well done.
Harold Margolis continued to operate the shop until approximately 1973. The high cost of materials coupled with the scarcity of skilled labor caused the shop to close its doors at this time. Thus an era of eighty years was brought to a close.
Before the death of Harold Margolis, the shop records and patterns were sent to the Henry Francis DuPont Museum in Winterthur, Delaware, where they remain today.
Hand written Paper Label
The earliest known date is 1908. This type of label was used until 1925. This was the first method of making Margolis furniture. Please note, the majority of pieces made from the beginning to some time in 1925 left the shop un- signed.
The brass plate was used during the years 1925-1930. The use of the brass plate was discontinued because it was very easy to remove or to put on furniture not made by Margolis. It was also a simple matter to counterfeit this item.
Printed paper Label
The printed paper label was usually attached to the inside of a drawer or to the bottom of a drawer. It was usually accompanied by a burned brand. This example is in the drawer of a Pembroke table along with a Margolis 1936 burn.
Margolis Burn with Date
The burned stamp with date below came into use about 1930 and remained in use until 1938.
Burn without Date
The Margolis burn without a date was also used during the years of 1930 - 1938. The date was eliminated when the brand was used in a tight location such as the rabbit of a slip seat. During the years of the great depression customers would seek price reductions on floor pieces having dates of the previous year. This practice caused year dates to be dropped shortly before years end.
Brand with Border Variation # 1
This brand with border but without the signature of Harold D. Margolis came into use about 1937 and remained in use until 1941.
Brand with Border Variation # 2
This burned brand with signature acme into use about 1941 and remained in use until the Nathan Margolis Shop closed.
Fineberg Furniture of Hartford
Abraham Fineberg came to Hartford in 1929. Like Nathan Margolis, he was born in Lithuania. After a brief sojourn in London he arrived in the United States at the age of 16, working first in Portland, Maine. From 1929 to 1932 he worked on and made furniture in the Southern New England Ice House building on Farmington Avenue. The Winick brothers’ father, Samuel Winick, operated a store located next door.
In 1932 Fineberg moved to the upper floors of a three-story building on Church Street on the site of the present Hartford Stage Company.
Abraham Fineberg and his son, Israel, made fine pieces of furniture to order. Clients would select designs, often from Lockwood’s and Nutting’s books, and Fineberg would make sketches to come up with a suitable design. Pieces were often scaled down from the originals to conform to contemporary needs. Pembroke tables, for example, are downsized to serve effectively as lamp or end tables; the original are somewhat bulky for this use, being essentially tea or breakfast tables.
Israel Fineberg today describes his father as a painstaking craftsman who took great personal pride in his work and strove for perfection. He would work long hours to get things right and then felt reluctant to part with his “children”.
The furniture produced by the two Finebergs is rarely marked in any way to distinguish it. Only people that know their work recognize the cabinet work of A. Fineberg.
Abraham Fineberg passed away in 1963. His son Israel then took over the business. Israel passed away on October 26, 1997.