Q: About 10 years ago, my wife and I bought four cafe-style bentwood chairs marked “Mundus, made in Poland, fabrique en Pologne.” There’s a patent date, “Sept. 22, ’14,” on the metal leg brackets. The dark finish appears to be original. We paid about $100 for all four chairs. We’re curious about the chairs’ maker and their value.
A: Mundus was a German conglomerate formed when Leopold Pilzer (1871-1959), an Austrian banker, consolidated 16 small chair manufacturing companies around the turn of the 20th century. It competed with Thonet and Jacob & Josef Kohn, two large chair companies that later merged with Mundus (Kohn in 1914 and Thonet in 1923). Your chairs were made before the Kohn merger, so they date from between about 1900 and 1914. If they’re in excellent condition, each one could sell for a few hundred dollars.