Appraisal Video: (3:06)
Senior Vice President & Director, American Furniture and Decorative Arts
GUEST: I've traced it back to probably around 1750, 1760.
GUEST:And it's been in the family ever since.
APPRAISER: And where were they from then?
GUEST: Taunton, Massachusetts.
APPRAISER: Taunton, Mass.-- so sort of closer to Cape Cod, over there?
GUEST: Right-- New England area.
APPRAISER: I have to say, I love the legs. You've got these delicate bandy legs-- it looks like it's going to walk away-- this beautiful waist or mid-molding, and then this... this beautiful cornice. Well, I, at first, thought this high chest was actually made in Rhode Island. Back in the 18th century, they were a very important part of the household, and stylistically, with this mid-molding here attached to the top section-- if we lift this, it's in two parts-- that's a Rhode Island feature. And these bandy legs with pointed, pad-slippered feet, these delicate legs are very Rhode Island. But I started looking at it and looking at the chestnut secondary woods-- a Rhode Island tree-- and thinking this is Rhode Island, but you know what? Taunton is right over the border from Rhode Island. It's right there within about 20 miles, so it probably was an itinerant cabinetmaker who came over and settled. And when I first started pulling the drawers out on this, I thought, in fact-- and it's one of the first things we do-- I took out this drawer and I saw the chestnut secondary wood, and then I took out the upper section. Pulled out the drawer in the upper section and I saw white pine-- two different woods on a two-piece highboy, and I thought this is what we call a "marriage," a marriage in unholy matrimony. You know, years ago, maybe someone just married two different highboys together, and it would have a drastic effect on the price. You can make a piece worth a fraction of what it would be as an original two-part piece. But then I started to look a little bit more, further at the piece, and in fact there are inconsistencies even in the lower section. So this cabinetmaker was consistently inconsistent. Even on the bottom, we have a rounded top here and right next a flat. There are different thicknesses throughout. So I absolutely think it's absolutely original and the top did go with the bottom, which is really important. And really, the most important feature-- this has a very unique construction practice here, which are through-tenons, which go through and support the drawers in the top and the bottom, and only this cabinetmaker did that, so that makes. There's no question that the top went with the bottom. This is about 1760, probably made right in the Taunton area. It has an interesting provenance. It's got nice proportions. The brasses are Federal brasses. They're not the right period. They've been replaced, but that happens with most pieces.
GUEST: Well, that I knew.
APPRAISER: With these feet, I mean, my feet would be chipped if they were this old, you know? And sure enough, there's a tiny chip or patch to this delicate slipper-pointed pad foot. But you know what? It's not that serious. That doesn't affect the value too much. What do you think this is worth, about?
GUEST: I'm thinking maybe between $10,000 and $15,000.
APPRAISER: Well, actually, if I was insuring this, it would be about... probably about $18,000. So you're about right, and, uh, you're taking great care of it and, uh, it's a beautiful piece.
GUEST: I love it.
APPRAISER: It looks like it wants to dance with us. Look at those legs. Aren't they beautiful?