Folk Marquetry Desk, ca. 1880
Appraised Value: $2,500 - $3,000
IMAGE: 1 of 1
Appraisal Video: (2:55)
GUEST: It's been in the family since it was made-- between 1863 and 1882.
APPRAISER: So that's what the family history's always said. Okay, 1863 to 1882. What other info do you have?
GUEST: Well, they're... It was made by Carrie Facklia's father. When she married J.B. Matthews, it was a wedding present for them.
APPRAISER: How did it end up in North Dakota here?
GUEST: When Mr. Matthews had to move, they couldn't pack it. So they sold it to Mr. Matthews' mother. It went to Iowa,
APPRAISER: Yes. Okay.
GUEST: and from Iowa, it came to North Dakota by wagon. And it was put in a claim shack.
APPRAISER: A claim shack? What is that?
GUEST: It's a little black shack that they used to build, because they had to have a house on their claim. So they built it really quickly.
APPRAISER: And it was kept out there in the shack in North Dakota-- isn't that neat? It's a secretary bookcase. It's folk marquetry. They're using different-colored wood. It's a slow, additive process to make a piece of furniture. Here at the top is an ogee molding, which really crowns the whole piece, and it has this wonderful varnish on it, which covers the whole piece, this nice crackled, 19th-century varnish. And this door is almost like a gothic motif right here. This glass, do you think it's original?
GUEST: Uh, I was going to ask you because you know what-- it's different, it's wavy.
APPRAISER: You know something? It has this wonderful waviness, and I think it is original. The original big pane of glass.
GUEST: Oh, how wonderful.
APPRAISER: And I love the pattern on here. This is contrasting wood. Again, folk marquetry on the lid. He really went all out doing this. And then the drawer in front has this nice stringing. And if you come down in the middle, again, this gothic arch, and they've actually used rosewood veneer. And one way that we can tell that this is made by someone who's not a real trained artist is that they're using... old bits of wood and putting them together. And on the side here, there's no dovetail. It's just some nails to attach the sides to the front. And when we look inside the drawer, here you can see the posts from the brasses coming through the drawer front, and they're the original nuts. They're Chippendale-style brasses that Mr. Fackley probably would have ordered from a catalog. You know, they're in the style of the 18th century, but they're made probably in the 1880s. And that's when this piece was made, probably right in the 1870s or 1880s. This was probably made somewhere in the Midwest and probably could have been made right in Iowa, you know?
GUEST: In Iowa. Okay.
APPRAISER: And they made pieces like this in the Dakotas as well. But it's just nice to come out here and see a piece of Midwestern furniture. Because we don't see a lot of it. And I'd say that this piece, because it has this folk appeal, would be worth in the range of $2,500. Even... maybe even $3,000.
GUEST: Okay. Well, that's wonderful. (laughs) I learned a little bit more about it than I knew before.
APPRAISER: I'm glad.
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