Late 17th-Century European Table Cabinet
Appraised Value: $30,000 - $35,000
IMAGE: 1 of 2
Appraisal Video: (2:32)
Books & Manuscripts, Decorative Arts, Furniture, Pottery & Porcelain, Silver
GUEST: It was purchased by my grandfather in 1949. He was a mineralogist, and I think fell in love with the beautiful detail and the minerals in it. And we believe it's a Russian chest because my grandfather purchased it from an individual who bought it at an estate sale from a businessman in Pasadena that frequently went to Russia.
APPRAISER: It's not Russian and actually is Italian. Imagine that you are a wealthy person in Italy and you need a place to hold your jewels and whatnot. This is a table cabinet, and it primarily is made up of parts that were made in 1650 to about 1700.
APPRAISER: Now, it is covered with these beautiful panels. You have malachite, lapis lazuli, this is chalcedony up here and this is quartz. It's rosewood, ebony with ivory inlay. If you look at the side panels here, the side panels originally were actually the front panels. So somebody decided that they did not want to necessarily enclose this piece. And, actually, if you look in here-- see that little spot there?
GUEST: I do.
APPRAISER: That's where the lock went.
GUEST: I'll be darned.
APPRAISER: And this central panel, which is really quite lovely, is made of what we call pietra dure, and it's stone inlaid on stone. This was certainly important enough and well-made enough to have been specifically commissioned by someone at the time. So what we've established is this is an Italian cabinet that was probably made in the second half of the 17th century.
APPRAISER: That having been said, what happened was someone probably purchased this in Italy and perhaps brought it back to Great Britain. Because as we move to the bottom part of the cabinet, there's a lock that says "V.R." And the V.R. stands for Victoria Regina-- Queen Victoria. So what's happened is somebody had the stand made for it in the same way... and you notice that the malachite doesn't match up and the lapis is a little different. So you've got a very nice early cabinet on a slightly later stand. Now, you say your grandfather purchased this. How much did he purchase it for?
APPRAISER: And then he had it appraised before it got moved?
GUEST: He did.
APPRAISER: And what was it appraised for then?
GUEST: It was appraised for $5,000.
APPRAISER: And that was in 1955?
GUEST: It was.
APPRAISER: What do you think it's worth today?
GUEST: Well, based on that appraisal, I'd say maybe around $10,000.
APPRAISER: At auction, I'd say maybe $30,000 to $35,000.
GUEST: Unbelievable. And exciting. Thank you.
APPRAISER: It's a very good cabinet.
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