Picking a casket is kind of like choosing a car. Some people prefer the deluxe model with a plush interior, while others are happy with a basic model that accomplishes the task.
Jump ahead to these sections:
- What’s a Mahogany Casket?
- How Much Do Mahogany Caskets Cost?
- Are Mahogany Caskets Worth the Price?
- Types of Mahogany Caskets
- Where Can You Purchase a Mahogany Casket?
You may be the type of person who enjoys the finer things in life if you’re looking for a solid mahogany casket. While mahogany caskets are not necessarily the most expensive caskets on the market, they certainly are not the cheapest.
Let’s discuss this type of casket. We’ll give you an overview of how much mahogany caskets typically cost and give you a list of the kinds of mahogany caskets available on the marketplace.
What’s a Mahogany Casket?
A mahogany casket is made from the wood of a mahogany tree. These trees grow mainly in South America, Central America, and Africa, and have been a popular material for the construction of fine furniture. In fact, the use of mahogany was so widespread that dining room furniture began to be known as “the mahogany” in some circles of the country.
Mahogany wood is popular for its wide board widths, dark color, and beautiful grain and texture. It is also a highly durable hardwood.
Besides being famous for its beauty and quality, mahogany is less widely available than other types of wood. This means that the cost of mahogany caskets is often more expensive than pine, willow, poplar, or other widely available varieties.
How Much Do Mahogany Caskets Cost?
Mahogany caskets range from $2,500 to $10,000. The quality of the wood and the accessory pieces determine the cost. Artisan-made caskets are often more expensive than caskets that are mass-produced.
Are Mahogany Caskets Worth the Price?
Ultimately, only you can answer this question.
Mahogany caskets are some of the highest-priced caskets on the market, especially if the product was hand-made by artisans. Some would consider a mahogany casket to be a luxury item because you can easily purchase a casket made with less expensive material that would fulfill the same purpose. After all, a budget-friendly, cloth-covered casket would fulfill the same need.
Mahogany is classified as a “tropical hardwood.” However, this fact doesn’t mean that the casket will last significantly longer than those made with less pricey wood. All wood will eventually decompose.
If you’re interested in buying a casket with a long lifespan, you should purchase a steel casket. Keep in mind that the casket will be placed inside a concrete vault at the time of burial, so there will be another layer of “protection” between your loved one and the surrounding earth.
Most families would choose a mahogany casket because of its beauty. A mahogany casket could be considered a prestigious item by many. Having your loved one laid to rest in a mahogany casket may give the impression to others that “money is no object.”
With that said, some families wish to honor their deceased family member by buying a beautiful casket for the open-casket visitation. If it’s important to honor your loved one in this way, then mahogany caskets are worth the price.
However, if you’re planning a funeral on a budget, and a mahogany casket is more than you can afford, you might need to honor your deceased loved one in another way. Ask yourself this question: would your loved one want you to go into debt to purchase a high-priced casket for their funeral? If not, you might want to purchase a less pricey alternative.
Types of Mahogany Caskets
If your loved one chose to be buried, you will need to pick out a casket as part of the funeral planning process. Here are some types of mahogany caskets to choose from for your loved one or yourself.
1. Veneer mahogany casket
If you like the look of mahogany but you’re on a budget, you may consider purchasing a veneer mahogany casket.
A veneer is a very thin piece of wood attached to the top of less-expensive wood. Technically, it is considered real wood, but the veneer may be less than ⅛ inch wide. You may be able to cut the casket cost by $100 to $200 by purchasing a casket with a veneer.
2. Dark mahogany casket
Mahogany can be stained a variety of colors, but most mahogany is stained dark, like this half-couch mahogany casket. You may be able to find a dark mahogany casket that almost looks black.
3. Full couch mahogany casket
Whether it’s made of cherry or pine, every type of casket can be purchased with either a full couch or half-couch lid. A full-couch mahogany casket opens as one entire unit. The full body of the deceased will be revealed if a full-couch casket is used during an open-casket visitation.
For this reason, many people who choose to have a closed-casket funeral choose a full-couch casket since there is no need to have the lid split in half.
Although this is not necessarily typical, there is nothing wrong with choosing a full-couch casket for an open-casket funeral.
4. Half-couch mahogany casket
Most people who choose to have an open-casket viewing during the visitation or wake will choose a half-couch casket. Mahogany caskets come in this style.
5. Eco-friendly mahogany casket
Theoretically, you can purchase an eco-friendly mahogany casket. To be considered environmentally friendly, it must not be covered with any varnish or stain. The casket must not have any metal handles or decorations, and it must be constructed without metal screws.
While this meets most people’s qualifications for an environmentally friendly casket, mahogany is a hardwood. It will take decades or even hundreds of years to deteriorate into the soil.
Most people who wish to have an environmentally friendly casket would choose pine or another material that would break down quickly. Of course, the casket material doesn’t matter if you choose a cemetery that requires the use of a vault.
6. One of the most expensive caskets in the world
We already mentioned that mahogany is one of the most expensive materials to use for a casket.
One of the most costly caskets on the market is one that is popular with Chinese business people and government officials. This mahogany casket features a velvet lining and costs close to $40,000.
7. Kosher casket
Orthodox Jews often choose what is referred to as “kosher” caskets. Although the word “kosher” typically refers to food, it can also be used to describe anything prepared according to Old Testament principles and laws.
A kosher casket is made without metal or harmful adhesives. Elizabeth Taylor had a mahogany kosher casket for her burial.
8. Mahogany coffins
Some people use the words “caskets” and “coffins” interchangeably. Still, if you are looking for a specifically designed coffin, you may need to be careful in your description and wording of the product.
While a casket is usually a rectangular-shaped box, a coffin may taper in at the head and/or the foot. You can purchase mahogany coffins made in this unique shape that is somewhat reminiscent of coffins of the Old West.
9. Overnight caskets
More consumers purchase caskets online. Since the purchase of a casket is somewhat time-sensitive, look for purveyors that promise delivery within 24 hours or overnight.
You may have to pay a rush fee to get the product quickly, but it still may be less expensive or of a higher quality than what you can get at your local casket provider.
10. Rental mahogany caskets
If your loved one wished to have an open-casket visitation before being cremated, you might be able to rent a mahogany casket for the short amount of time that it will be used.
The body will be transferred into a specialized, inexpensive container for the cremation, which you will need to purchase.
11. Personalized casket
Some casket purveyors offer personalization services on their products. Families can have the name of the deceased artfully engraved on the casket, as well as the deceased’s birth and death dates.
You can also add a verse or poem to the top or side of the casket as well as a religious or natural image such as a cross or Star of David.
12. Build-your-own mahogany casket
Some true do-it-yourselfers take great satisfaction in completing projects on their own. If you hate hiring someone to complete a task you can do yourself, you may consider building your own casket for your own eventual funeral. Keep in mind that storing such a large piece of furniture may be difficult, but you can save quite a bit of money if you can complete the process yourself.
You may also take satisfaction in building the casket for a deceased loved one. Skilled woodworkers can complete a basic casket within one day, but you may give yourself extra time if you are unfamiliar with the process or don’t have a lot of woodworking experience.
Most do-it-yourselfers probably would not use mahogany for their project, but it would not be impossible to use.
Where Can You Purchase a Mahogany Casket?
The easiest place to purchase a casket of any type is likely the funeral home that will be handling your loved one’s services. Most funeral homes have a variety of caskets in stock, or they can special order a mahogany casket from one of their suppliers.
There are some advantages to buying a casket from the funeral home. The cost of the casket will be conveniently added to your bill, so you don’t have to interact with additional companies during your time of grief. The funeral home also has a relationship with suppliers, so they know which items may be available and how fast a casket can be delivered if it’s necessary to order one for the service.
However, you must understand two things about purchasing a casket for a funeral. A funeral home cannot force you to buy a casket through their company. They also can’t charge a “handling fee” if you decide to buy the casket from another source.
You might be able to buy caskets from an online retailer cheaper than you can from a funeral home. This is not always the case, especially if the online company charges for shipping.
Some families are happy to pay a higher price for a casket from a funeral home because they don’t want to be inconvenienced by “shopping around” during such an emotional time. However, if you are pre-planning a funeral or working with a very tight budget, consider checking out some online casket retailers.
Make sure you read the fine print as you look for mahogany caskets online. For example, some caskets have a “mahogany finish” but are made with a less expensive wood like poplar. A less expensive version of a mahogany casket is one that is made from “mahogany veneer.” Also, make sure that the item can be shipped to the funeral home in a timely and cost-effective manner.
Trusted Caskets offers free shipping and a one- or two-day delivery. The company offers both a solid mahogany casket and one made of mahogany veneer.
Aptly named “Overnight Caskets” offers free overnight shipping to all 50 states. They sell a solid mahogany casket, a poplar casket with a mahogany finish, and a mahogany veneer casket.
Sky Caskets currently offers six mahogany half-couch caskets with different colors of stain. The price ranges from around $2,600 to $4,000.
Sky Caskets offers same-day delivery, as they have multiple distribution centers across the country.
Alternatives to Mahogany Caskets
If you don't find what you're looking for in a mahogany casket, consider these alternatives.
- Other hardwood caskets. As mentioned, mahogany is a type of hardwood. If the cost is too high, or you just don't like the look of solid mahogany, you might choose a different variety of hardwood. Poplar caskets, for example, come in a range of finishes and are typically less expensive than solid mahogany.
- Softwood caskets. Another option if you want a wood casket is a softwood casket. Softwoods include pine, fir, and spruce. Pine caskets are popular, and if made with exclusively natural materials, they can be considered eco-friendly.
- Wicker caskets. Wicker caskets are even more lightweight and "green" than softwood caskets. Wicker decomposes more quickly than wood, so it can help you leave a smaller footprint on the Earth.
- Metal caskets. If you'd like to go a different route, you might consider a metal casket. Metal caskets are typically made out of steel, and they come in a wide variety of colors and styles.
Other Things to Consider When Buying a Casket
There are many things to consider when purchasing a casket. The type of material used is just one consideration.
First, you may consider how much a casket weighs if you are going to transport the casket across uneven ground or without the aid of a church truck. Mahogany caskets are some of the heaviest, so if you know that the pallbearers will transport the casket on their own, you may want to choose a casket made with lighter wood.
Second, consider the cost of the casket. Some families tend to make emotional decisions during the throes of grief and they may purchase a more expensive item than usual. While there is nothing wrong with spending a lot of money on a casket if you can afford it, you may regret going into debt purchasing a luxury item for a funeral.
Third, be aware of the size of the casket. Most people fit into a standard-sized coffin, but they also come in larger and smaller sizes.
Finally, talk with the cemetery. Many cemeteries require the use of vaults. The vaults may only fit a standard-sized casket, so make sure you make the necessary arrangements if you need to purchase one that is larger than the usual.
Making end-of-life decisions is stressful for families. That’s why you should all take the time to do your own end-of-life planning. Decide what type of casket you would like to be buried in, whether it’s pine, mahogany, or made from another material. Pick out the clothing that you would like to wear for your open-casket funeral. Choose the songs to be played at your service, and pick who you would like to have serving as your pallbearers.
Planning your own services is one of the greatest gifts you can give to your family members. This will allow them to focus on sharing memories instead of making uncomfortable, difficult decisions.
- “Solid Mahogany Furniture Facts.” homeguides.sfgate.com