American Cabinet, ca. 1870
Appraised Value: $2,000 - $3,000
IMAGE: 1 of 1
Appraisal Video: (3:00)
GUEST: It's an inherited piece through my wife's family. Her mom passed away not too long ago. She was in Pennsylvania, and she was a collector of antiques, mostly chinoiserie type of pieces, but this was a piece that was still in her home after her passing, and my wife shipped it out here actually very recently. We really don't know too much about the piece, and I was looking to find out what the period was, where it was made, that type of thing.
APPRAISER: Okay. It's difficult to determine origin for pieces of furniture made in the 19th century. America experienced a tremendous amount of growth from 1850 to 1900, and there was furniture factories virtually from California to New York. So, some of the things we look for can indicate the region in which a piece was made. And in this particular piece, we can see that it has a lot of decorative elements and a level of quality that's consistent with furniture produced along the Atlantic seaboard. First of all, when we open up the drawer, you can see that this is all birds-eye maple lined interior, which is consistent with furniture made in New York, but also shows up in furniture made in Philadelphia. It's done in the Neo-Grec style, which is kind of an amalgamation of multiple design elements from previous eras-- French styles, Renaissance revival styles. And you can see some of the elements here that make this a little bit extra special from typical furniture-- the ebonized detail along the molding here, the gilt wood columns. And what I kind of liked especially is this brass inlay. A lot of it's missing, but you can see it evident here. And then this wonderful marquetry panel in the center, which was probably an imported piece from France.
GUEST: What type of wood is this?
APPRAISER: This is all thin, veneered walnut. This is a very special grade of walnut you can see throughout the whole case piece. There was a number of different people that made furniture-- furniture factories, furniture manufactories, and cabinetmakers. Cabinetmakers were the elite of furniture makers. In New York alone, there was 5,000 cabinetmakers operating, so it's very difficult to put a name to something like this, but I think that we feel safe to say that it was a very skilled cabinetmaker working in the mid-Atlantic region, probably New York.
GUEST: And you figure mid-19th century?
APPRAISER: About 1870, 1875. Despite the fact that this has a lot of elements that make it a special piece compared to its counterparts from the period, the market doesn't necessarily reward it monetarily. It's a superior piece of furniture, but today's market, value on it at auction would be about $2,000 to $3,000, taking into account its condition.
GUEST: That's actually more than I was anticipating.
APPRAISER: Oh, that's good.
GUEST: In fact, I was actually expecting you to say that it was a European piece, judging by its ornateness. And so I'm kind of pleasantly surprised that it's American-made.
APPRAISER: The market's probably softened. A few years ago, I would have probably given this an estimate of $3,000 to $5,000, $4,000 to $6,000.
GUEST: Well, it's a great memory of a great person. Thanks so much for your time and your expertise.
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