An auction held in Stockholm showcased the burgeoning value of vintage Ikea furnishings, fetching an impressive £32,000 for a selection of 122 items from the 1950s to the 1990s.

What once constituted affordable, flat-packed furniture has now morphed into coveted collector's pieces, surprising many with their newfound significance.

Stockholms Auktionsverk, renowned as the world's oldest auction house, spotlighted an eclectic mix of Ikea relics at their recent event. Ranging from tableware to mirrors and lights, the collection hailed from an era when Ikea crafted its furniture in Sweden. Notably, the assortment included porcelain tableware from a collaborative project between Ikea and Stockholm's National Museum in the 1990s.

Among the captivating sales was a red Impala sofa designed by Gillis Lundgren, the visionary behind the iconic Billy bookshelf. Originally priced at a modest £103 in 1972, it fetched a staggering £1,700 at the auction. Ulrika Ruding, Stockholms Auktionsverk's head of applied arts, highlighted the discernment behind their selection, noting items with unique stories or distinct qualities that attract design enthusiasts.

The auction's intrigue extended to leather-covered Natura easy chairs from the '70s, fetching over £1,000 each. Ruding pointed out their reinterpretation of classic Scandinavian furniture, signaling a resurgence of the 1970s aesthetic in today's market.

While Ikea is synonymous with affordable modern designs and sometimes criticized for durability issues, the retailer's earlier creations are experiencing a renaissance. As Ikea commemorates its 80th anniversary, collectors are rediscovering and valuing these vintage designs, evident in their escalating prices at auctions.

One such example, the shearling-covered Åke chair resembling Philip Arctander's classic "clam chair," sold for £1,538 in 2022. Notably, an auction in May set a record when Bengt Ruda's limited-edition Cavelli chair fetched around £15,000, a staggering increase from its original £23 price in 1958.

Reflecting on this unexpected trend, Li Pamp, the head of the auction house, expressed surprise at hosting an Ikea auction in a prestigious setting. She acknowledged Ikea's controversial history, marked by copying trends and environmental concerns, yet emphasized the standout nature of certain Ikea items that are gaining prominence in collector circles. Photo by Scanpix, Wikimedia commons.