Late 19th-Century Renaissance Revival Sideboard
Appraised Value: $2,500 - $3,500
IMAGE: 1 of 3
Appraisal Video: (2:52)
GUEST: I was in need of some furniture when I moved out of a house trailer into a great, big, old "shotgun"-type house. And so I went to my grandparents, asked them if they had any things that they weren't using, because I knew they used to have an old secondhand furniture store. And this was one of the pieces that I was able to get. This is my great-grandfather, who bought this piece back in 1880. We don't know anything more about the history of the piece, other than after we got it, in... probably in the mid-'50s, we thought, well, maybe it needed to be refinished or taken care of in some way, so we asked a person that did that type of work in the area to come in, and he said it was too valuable. He wouldn't touch it with a ten-foot pole, was his expression.
APPRAISER: Yes, very wise.
GUEST: We use it as a china cabinet. Wife keeps all sort of china and doilies for the table and tablecloths and things in it.
APPRAISER: Sure. What would you like to know from us about it?
GUEST: I would like to know, you know, just how old maybe it is.
GUEST: Maybe something of the value, not that we would want to sell it, but...
APPRAISER: Sure. Well, as you probably know, it's made out of oak. Many of these are walnut, but this one happens to be oak. Made in America. This was made in the period that Mark Twain called "the Gilded Age," and what is interesting is that he talked about these massive, ostentatious pieces of furniture in "Huckleberry Finn," published in 1884. We think it was made in that period of 1870s, 1880s, because of the 13 stars in the little shield at the top. 1876 was the great centennial of the American nation. Also, after the Civil War, people wanted to reunite the country, bringing them back together again. It is a dining room piece of furniture, for display.
APPRAISER: On these marble tops, they would put silver, cut glass. People were ostentatious-- they wanted to show off what they had. Thorstein Veblen
called it "the... the era of conspicuous consumption." Now it was cheap and easy to cut marble by these great powered saws, so we have a marble top on which the things would be displayed with this machine-cut trophies of fruits and vegetables. They often did it by machine and then finished it off with hand-carving. We think that there's some decorative elements here at the top that have come off because of the holes on the piece. In fair-market auction, it would bring about 2,500 to 3,500.
APPRAISER: Thank you for bringing it in.
GUEST: Thank you.
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