Boston Sewing Table, ca. 1820
Appraised Value: $1,500 - $2,000
IMAGE: 1 of 1
Appraisal Video: (3:21)
Decorative Arts, Folk Art, Furniture
GUEST: It's been in my family since it was made in, I guess, 1800, and it sat in my grandparent's house for about 140 years, so it's been in the family a long time. We just got it at our house. We just brought it home about a year ago.
APPRAISER: I see. Now, where were your grandparents from?
GUEST: Selma, Alabama.
APPRAISER: Well, it's obviously been treasured for a long time. I guess maybe your grandmother took this photo.
GUEST: I'm not sure. We found it in the table.
APPRAISER: Well, it's not just anyone takes a photograph of a piece of furniture in their house, so clearly, it was very important. And also with it, you have this typed piece of paper that talks about its history. Says it came over from England in 1800 and was given on the birth of a girl. Along with the great photograph and the little card that you have, there's a great early poem that somebody wrote about this table and about a young girl sort of growing up beside the table. And that poem is signed by Anne Seymour Ames. Now, was that maybe a great-great-grandmother?
GUEST: It... possibly. I'm not sure. I know we had a writer in the family, and I'm not sure who it was.
APPRAISER: Okay, what's interesting to me about that is that Seymour is a name that, those of us in the furniture world, recognize as an important Boston name. And also the last name Ames is a very important early family in the Boston area. And I just... I don't know where that connects in to your family, but I think this table was made in Boston, and I think it was probably made around 1820-- so a little bit after the period that your family thought. Now, John and Thomas Seymour were very important cabinetmakers in the Boston area about 1820 and earlier. I don't know if this came from the Seymour shop, but it's interesting to me that there's this family connection there. The other thing the little card here mentions is that the cut glass knobs have gold leaf behind them. And I think that's true. You can see they're the original knobs, and they do kind of sparkle. And oftentimes, they would put some sort of silver or gold foil back there to really bring some more life into the piece. Now, as we look further down on the table, there's something that caught my eye on this base, and that is, there's something on that that's not on the base that's on the table in the photo.
APPRAISER: The little turning on the base of this table is not on the base of that table, which makes me think that somewhere along the line, the legs probably got broken, but this was such an important table to your grandparents or great-grandparents, that the legs were, I think, exactly copied from the originals. And they even took the original brass casters off the broken legs and put them back on this table. That obviously happened after this photo was taken, which was maybe 1900 or 1920. The replacement of the legs ... is a big hurt to a table like this. But the way they're made often means that they're going to be broken, so we see that happen a lot. In the current condition, it's probably, at auction, worth $1,500 to $2,000.
GUEST: Oh, wow.
APPRAISER: If it had its original legs, it would probably be worth $6,000 or $8,000.
GUEST: Oh, wow.
APPRAISER: So it's a great early table, and a great thing to pass on to your next generation. Thanks so much for bringing it in.
GUEST: Thank you.
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