Q: I bought this footstool for $5 when I was in college in the early 1960s. Twenty years later, I learned what I bought when a friend recognized the Gustav Stickley mark on the stool. At that point, I put it in a closet. It has never been refinished, but the roping is somewhat worn. Can you tell me what my $5 footstool might be worth today?
A: Gustav Stickley (1857-1914) was a famous maker of Arts and Crafts (also called Mission) furniture. He founded the Gustav Stickley Co. in Eastwood, N.Y., in 1898. Stickley introduced his Craftsman line of furniture in 1901. In 1906 "Craftsman" became the registered name of the company. Stickley's furniture was made of fumed oak, wood that had been exposed to ammonia fumes to give it an aged look. The mark is a joiner's compass with the words "Als ik Kan," Flemish for "If I Can," and Stickley's signature. Stickley made other styles of furniture, but none were as popular as his Arts and Crafts furniture. His company went bankrupt in 1915 and Stickley retired in 1918. You made a good investment. Stickley made several styles of footstools, and they sell for high prices today. Most were made with leather, not rush, seats. Stools sell for prices ranging from the high hundreds to more than $2,000. Your stool needs to be repaired, so it's not worth as much as a stool in good original condition.