19th-Century Chair Owned by Chang Bunker
Appraised Value: $10,000 - $12,000
IMAGE: 1 of 1
Appraisal Video: (2:27)
GUEST: This chair belonged to my great grandfather, Chang Bunker and his twin, conjoined twin, Eng Bunker. This came to me through my grandmother, who was Chang Bunker's daughter. It had been in the family all these years. And as you can see, it's made for two who had to sit very close together.
APPRAISER 1: Right.
GUEST: There was another similar chair at Eng Bunker's house. This one's from Chang's. And I've had it for a number of years, but it was at my grandmother's house all during my childhood.
APPRAISER 1: Well, it's an incredible story about these two conjoined twins. They were born in Siam-- which is now called Thailand-- in about 1811 to a very, very poor family. Later on, at age-- I think in their teens, they really became a sensation, and they went to Europe, and they really were the toast of the town. And they were examined by doctors and surgeons, and they actually signed affidavits proving in fact, they were conjoined. There was a lot of skepticism. There hadn't been that many Siamese twins born.
APPRAISER 2: Yeah, I think, as Leslie said, the twins were a sensation to the whole world, really. In every country they went, they saw royalty. Right?
APPRAISER 1: That's right.
APPRAISER 2: They came here... and as you know... I'm just recounting your family's story, in 1843, they married two Southern gals. It was Sarah and Adelaide Yates. And Adelaide, of course, as you know, was your great grandmother.
GUEST: Great grandmother.
APPRAISER 2: And they moved into houses-- and you told us this story earlier. There were two houses near each other, is that it?
GUEST: Yes. Uh-huh.
APPRAISER 2: That they shared?
GUEST: They spent three days at Chang's house and three days at Eng's house.
APPRAISER 2: Okay. And here are the twins actually here. I'm going to show this illustration first of the conjoined twins. This one done in 1839 when they were 28 years old. But I wanted to show-- and you showed us this-- Eng's chair. So this is Eng's chair that was on the other side of the family. Of course, here's Chang's chair, which really hasn't been published. And here's Chang and Eng with Adelaide and Sarah. So they were happily married, and had how many children altogether?
GUEST: Twenty-one children.
APPRAISER 2: Twenty-one children.
APPRAISER 1: Twenty-one children. That's amazing.
APPRAISER 2: And you've brought this chair, which really has its original seat, and that's what really brings us closer to the history. This splint seat here is original. You can see them sitting here, and it has wonderful turnings and a nice triple-slat back.
APPRAISER 1: Beautiful lemon turnings here on the top. It's in nice, preserved condition.
APPRAISER 2: So we've thought about the value, and a piece like this has a very small group of people who are very interested in something like this. It's an important part of history.
APPRAISER 1: But right now there is actually a lot of interest in conjoined twins. There is this book that recently came out. The value is probably right in the range of probably $10,000 to $12,000.
GUEST: Well, that's interesting to know, but it will never be for sale.
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