Late 19th-Century Herter Brothers Sideboard & Table
Appraised Value: $100,000 - $150,000
IMAGE: 1 of 3
Appraisal Video: (3:16)
Decorative Arts, Folk Art, Furniture, Paintings & Drawings, Silver
GUEST: And they come from the Charles Myers estate, and he was on Millionaire's Row in downtown Cleveland. My great-aunt worked for him, and she was his chief cook and housekeeper. And when he died, he left her these pieces, and they came down through her brother, who was my grandfather.
APPRAISER: Well, as style changed, people relegated their furniture, even their high-style furniture, upstairs to the servants' quarters, and it was largely dispersed. Do you know a little bit about the furniture?
GUEST: Yes, the Herter Brothers actually were the furniture makers in the 1880s that also worked on the Vanderbilt mansion down in North Carolina, and they were well-known for their architectural interests. And Mr. Myers was the architect for the Terminal Towers here in Cleveland. So I think he probably appreciated some of the architectural and very ornate carved woodwork.
APPRAISER: He wasn't alone in that. In New York City, some of the titans of industry-- Vanderbilt, Pierpont, Morgan-- they all loved Herter Brothers. The Herter Brothers were the perfect combination to carve and develop this aesthetic style after the Civil War. These fantastic inlays that you see here emphasize the naturalism that the aesthetic style really was all about... these wonderful owls and birds, and the wonderful carving on the columns, this fantastic inlay on the panels, it was all about bringing that elaborate and naturalistic style into your living room. If you open up the door, you'll see that this is actually not just a sideboard, but it's almost fitted as a desk. And what's so exciting to me is if you walk over to this piece, this is, in fact, a library table, and so this was a suite of furniture. And what's so remarkable about this set of furniture is that it survives together. This finish on this piece has a wonderful old surface.
GUEST: Oh, yeah.
APPRAISER: And that actually is a premium.
GUEST: This finish was very much like that, but my mother had set plants on it, and my niece watered them, and the water from the plants totally... So we've had this refinished, see. This has never been touched.
APPRAISER: Well, this is an example where refinishing the top of the table certainly does affect the value, but not greatly because the piece is so rare. Sometimes the rarity of a piece will supersede the condition issue, and the condition is good. And, in fact, if it had been left alone, it would be terrific. It would be as great as the sideboard. But because of the rarity, it will only diminish it slightly. 20 years ago, a table like this would probably bring $8,000 to $12,000 in the marketplace.
GUEST: My goodness.
APPRAISER: Pretty good.
APPRAISER: The sideboard and the library table today probably are worth $100,000 to $150,000.
GUEST: Oh, my gracious... Well, my Aunt Ann would certainly be very proud of that, I'm sure.
APPRAISER: It's remarkable, isn't it?
GUEST: Yes, it is.
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