Queen Anne Highboy, ca. 1770
Appraised Value: $30,000 (1997)
IMAGE: 1 of 5
Appraisal Video: (2:58)
APPRAISER: I saw this...this piece. It stood out, as a Yankee from the North.
GUEST: That's right.
APPRAISER: It doesn't have a Southern accent; it's a Northern piece. But you have a Southern accent. Tell me, how did that happen?
GUEST: Well, my brother gave it to us about 50 years ago and he got it in New York City.
APPRAISER: I was very excited to see it because we look at a lot of furniture, but this epitomizes the 18th-century Connecticut, Connecticut River Valley piece from about 1750 to 1780. What do you like about the top when you look at this bonnet?
GUEST: Well I think it's just gorgeous because it doesn't have any places on it. It's just perfect.
APPRAISER: You like the curve.
GUEST: And I like the little flame finials-- I think they're lovely.
APPRAISER: Typical Connecticut finials, also. It's an extra- strong bonnet. You have this case with this fan flanked by these wonderful drawers with the original Chippendale brasses.
GUEST: That’s right.
APPRAISER: You come down the front to the skirt, you have this carved, typical mid-18th century-- 1750 to 1780-- Connecticut fan. What's totally typical of Connecticut River Valley-- Connecticut furniture-- from the mid-18th century and that's this whimsical skirt. This is a cyma curve here that comes around, and as you come around the side, it has this beautiful serpentine shape, which is typical of Wethersfield, Connecticut, furniture. We can't definitely attribute it to Wethersfield; we just know it's Connecticut. It's made of cherry wood. You had mentioned before that you had, um... you had had it cleaned at some point. When did you do that, may I ask?
GUEST: Shortly after we got it.
APPRAISER: So about 50 years ago.
GUEST: So about 50 years ago.
APPRAISER: Can you tell me what it looked like when... before it was cleaned?
GUEST: When we got it, I think that... they said that they tried to make all the older furniture look like mahogany and it had a sort of black look on it, sort of a crackledy look. And it really wasn't very pretty.
APPRAISER: It wasn't pretty to you.
GUEST: So we decided we wanted it refinished and...
APPRAISER: So you refinished it to this state.
GUEST: We did.
APPRAISER: I'll tell you, when... to American furniture collectors an old, grungy finish is really, really good. If this piece were in the black like it was 50 years ago when your brother gave it to you... You don't have a place to sit down. I don't want to...I should have you sit down, but I...
GUEST: That's okay.
APPRAISER: It would be worth in the neighborhood of about $230,000 if it were in the black. Now, I'm going to tell you what is worth. I have to. It's still valuable, but it's worth about $30,000.
GUEST: Oh, is that all?
APPRAISER: Because the collectors of Connecticut furniture especially love the things in the black and it takes out a whole group of collectors. But you still have a lovely piece. Your brother gave it to you as a sign of his affection and love. You could still go on a pretty big vacation if you want to someday.
GUEST: That's right.
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