Appraisal Video: (3:54)
GUEST: This chair, as far as I know, originally belonged to Jonathan Edwards back in the 1700s, and it was, uh, passed down through his family, and then on to my family through my great-great-grandfather. So I'm not directly related to Jonathan Edwards.
GUEST: It was a stepmother...
APPRAISER: A stepmother.
GUEST:...that gave the chair to my great-great grandfather.
APPRAISER: You now own it, you've inherited it, right?
GUEST: Yeah. It sits in my bedroom.
APPRAISER: It sits in your bedroom. Do you sit in it once in a while?
GUEST: Uh, no.
APPRAISER: Okay. Well, Jonathan Edwards is one of the great mid-18th century American philosophers and theologians.
APPRAISER: He was absolutely one of the most incredible orators. He gave a lecture called "Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God" in 1741. He was very famous during his own time, he's very well known.
GUEST: Right, right.
APPRAISER: So the fact that he owned this chair, okay... As far as we... As far as you know. I mean, it came down through your family.
GUEST: Right, absolutely.
APPRAISER: Directly through your family, I think, is really great.
APPRAISER: This was made in Boston.
GUEST: Oh, wow.
APPRAISER: About 1740 to probably 1755. Okay. So he lived from 1703 to 1758, as you know.
GUEST: Right. Fifties, yeah.
APPRAISER: So he would have had this towards the end of his life. It is a classic Boston chair. The way we know it's old is to flip it upside down and look at these tool marks. Do you see, even though some varnish is coming over...
APPRAISER: ...over the edge, these nice, uneven tool marks?
APPRAISER: And this chair was made by one of probably 25 to 30 chair makers working in Boston, somewhere in between 1730 and 1750. We have a Queen Anne back here with this yoked crest rail, which is attached to these stiles on each side. This vase-shaped, elongated splat, which is classic Boston.
APPRAISER: Now, this type of chair made in Boston during this time-- mid-18th century-- had two types of seats you could have. You could have a rectilinear seat-- one that's rectangle. Okay. Or the compass seat. This is a compass seat. You see how it's curved, it kind of rounds?
APPRAISER: And that was the more expensive model. If you come down to the legs, it has these nice, shaped brackets, these cabriole legs and these beautiful pad feet. All joined by stretchers with arrow-turned ends, here at terminals. This is a replaced seat cover, right?
APPRAISER: What's the story?
GUEST: Uh, my grandfather wove this to cover the, um, seat cover that was already on there.
APPRAISER: Okay. I asked you before if I could possibly make a little cut somewhere, right? And you said it was okay?
GUEST: Okay, as long as it didn't show.
APPRAISER: You can't see it from here, right?
APPRAISER: I did make a cut. Now you haven't seen this yet, I know, right?
GUEST: My mother is going to kill me. !
APPRAISER: Close your eyes. Okay, okay, so, no, it's okay. But you know why? Because you're not going to be able to see it. But I did make, see a little cut. You can see here that underneath, it does not have, unfortunately, the original covering. Oh, okay. Somewhere, that might... The cover might be in your family. Okay. You might want to look for it. This is chair number four. You see this? See this four right there? And this maple frame that's under here-- if it's maple, if it's original-- would also have a four there that would match and show that it's from the same set. Now, do you mind if I make a little tiny cut right there and look at the frame?
GUEST: Well, I can replace this part, right?
APPRAISER: I make a little incision right here and peek. Do you want me to do it? Is it okay?
GUEST: I do want to know.
APPRAISER: You want to know.
GUEST: Sorry, sorry, Grammy.
APPRAISER: Do you want to know? Okay, we're going to do it. I'm going to cut really, really carefully. We're going to take a peek and see if that's the original maple frame. It is. You see that beautiful color?
APPRAISER: That's period 1740, and that helps the value. And probably somewhere on there, if I were to cut it more... There it is. Look at that. Look, Megan. One, two, three, four.
APPRAISER: Matching that one, two, three, four on the chair!
APPRAISER: Original seat frame.
APPRAISER: If it didn't have the provenance, it would just be a nice basic chair, probably, I'd say, in a shop, $3,000.
APPRAISER: With the provenance of Jonathan Edwards, it probably is upwards of $5,500, and maybe even a little more...
APPRAISER: ...because it's this great history, okay?
APPRAISER: Would you like to know what it'd be worth if you had... if you could find the original cover?
APPRAISER: You could probably add another $20,000.
APPRAISER: So maybe that's somewhere in your family. Look in the attic, okay?
GUEST: I'll ask again.
APPRAISER: Oh, yeah. Ask again, okay?
GUEST: Yeah. Okay.