Rhode Island Federal Games Tables, ca. 1810
Appraised Value: $15,000 - $23,000
IMAGE: 1 of 2
Appraisal Video: (3:06)
Senior Vice President & Director, American Furniture and Decorative Arts
GUEST: They're from my mother's family. They've been in our family about 250 years. My mother is from Maine, on the coast of Maine.
APPRAISER: Okay, do you know how old they are or where they were made?
GUEST: The story is that they come from Boston. They've been in our family since the Revolutionary War.
GUEST: I don't know if that's true or not.
APPRAISER: Well, let me tell you about these tables. These tables were made after the Revolutionary War.
APPRAISER: In about circa 1810. And after the war, America grasped hold of this incredible new style called the Federal style. It was a reaction, really, against the Chippendale/Rococo style with all the curves and carving. We have these demilune perfect half-circles. Very balanced, aren't they?
APPRAISER: These are games tables, so this unfolds, as you know, and the leg swings out. And when you weren't using them, you'd put them against the wall and close it up.
GUEST: They go against the wall. They stand in the front hallway of my house.
APPRAISER: These oval paterae right there on the front, typical of Federal. That's beautiful satinwood inlay, tapered legs. I've never seen this fluted carving. Wonderful detail. Double cross...
GUEST: At the bottom, yeah.
APPRAISER:These tables are probably made in-- based on the construction and the design and this pattern-- this table here with this fluting is typical of Rhode Island, as well as the patera. Now, did you have either of these appraised ever?
GUEST: This table in '94 was appraised for $2,000.
APPRAISER: $2,000, okay. And how about that table?
GUEST: No one's ever appraised this table.
APPRAISER: No one's appraised the second table, okay. This got unwrapped first, then I looked at the second one. As the wrapping came off, I saw this inlaid sprig. It's a delicate little inlaid sprig. Now, that is characteristic of a maker named Howard-- Thomas Howard-- who worked in Providence-area Rhode Island. This is a Rhode Island table. And this adds quite a bit of interest to the table.
APPRAISER: I mean, it really does. Collectors love that little delicate sprig. Look at the wood. This again, beautiful quality. This inlaid edge adds a lot to it.
GUEST: Yeah, that's so beautiful.
APPRAISER: Which is your favorite?
GUEST: This is my favorite table.
APPRAISER: Okay, and look at this grungy finish on the top.
GUEST: Right. That's worried me.
APPRAISER: Now, you've never touched it?
GUEST: It's white, and on the in…then when you open it up, there's more of this white. And this wood is cracking.
APPRAISER: Okay, looks like some stains here... it was used.
GUEST: Right.... I don't even put furniture polish on it.
APPRAISER: What are these? These are sort of scratches there.
GUEST: I have a cat that sits on it sometimes to look out the window. Whenever I catch her on it, I stop it, I make her get off.
APPRAISER: So she scratched them?
APPRAISER: I hope you never touch them. This is the history of the table. And it's the original shellac from 1805, right around there. This original finish makes a difference. This table, the legs are a little bit wider, slightly lower, the proportions, and it doesn't have the sprigs. I would estimate this at $5,000 to $8,000 at auction.
APPRAISER: Now, this table, because of this incredible wood, because of the original finish, because of these sprigs, it makes a big difference. I put an auction estimate of $10,000 to $15,000.
GUEST: Wow, that's fantastic.
APPRAISER: It’s an incredible table. They both are.
APPRAISER: That's fantastic.
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