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    John Quincy Adams' House of Representatives Chair

    Appraised Value:

    $4,000 - $6,000

    Appraised on: August 8, 1998

    Appraised in: Rochester, New York

    Appraised by: Wendell Garrett

    Category: Furniture

    Episode Info: Politically Collect (#1219)

    Originally Aired: November 3, 2008

    slideshow IMAGE: 1 of 1  

    More Like This:

    Form: Chair
    Material: Wood
    Period / Style: 19th Century
    Value Range: $4,000 - $6,000

    Related Links:

    Slideshow: Andrew Wyeth Watercolor "The Trammel"
    The Mass. Historical Society has digitized 51 volumes of Adams' personal diary, which he kept for almost 70 years. The archive offers a timeline of events to help users find sections of interest.

    Understanding Our Appraisals
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    Appraisal Video: (2:25)


    Appraised By:

    Wendell Garrett
    Decorative Arts, Furniture

    Appraisal Transcript:
    GUEST: I bought it a few years ago in auction. It was sold as a mid-1800s Senate chair.

    APPRAISER: United States Senate?

    GUEST: Yeah, yeah. And then I got more curious about it and I sent a letter to the previous owner, asking if they knew anything about the item. About eight months after that, I got a phone call out of the blue from one of her relatives. She was very excited. She called me up and said, "Well, let me tell you about the chair." She said it was the one that was issued to John Quincy Adams in the House of Representatives and it's the one he actually died in. For fear of bad luck, they wouldn't put it back on the floor. So it ended up in the sergeant at arms' office, and he just happened to be from Wellsville, New York. When he retired, he brought it home with him and then he donated it to the family that had this chair. She was part of the D.A.R. and a local historian, and there it sat through all of her generations.

    APPRAISER: So that it was the sergeant at arms of the United States House of Representatives who brought it home with him to Upstate New York?

    GUEST: Yes, yeah.

    APPRAISER: John Quincy Adams died in the House of Representatives in 1848-- February 23, to be exact-- our only president who went back to the House of Representatives to serve after serving in the White House. He began keeping a diary when he was 11 years old. That diary he kept going for 70 years. Fell in the House of Representatives as an old man, dislocated his arm, but continued to write the diary with his left hand. When it's published by the Massachusetts
    Historical Society, it will be the longest diary ever published. He is a remarkable man, and it's very interesting to have this object that has such close connection with history. The chair that Abraham Lincoln was killed in is now at the Ford Museum, so you're very fortunate to have a chair so involved with history. You bought this chair at auction?

    GUEST: Yes.

    APPRAISER: And how much did you pay for it?

    GUEST: I paid $400 for it.

    APPRAISER: $400? Because it was the chair that John Quincy Adams died in of a fatal stroke in February 1848, this is the kind of chair that on the market today would bring between $4,000 and $6,000.

    GUEST: Oh, wow. That's fantastic.

    APPRAISER: This is a piece of history, and thank you for bringing it in and sharing it with us today.

    GUEST: Thank you very much, Wendell.

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