Appraisal Video: (3:04)
Senior Vice President & Director, American Furniture and Decorative Arts
GUEST: My wife found it in a little antique shop in the village where she grew up, which is not far from Newmarket, which is a big racecourse in England.
GUEST: And this actually sat in the Newmarket Jockey Club for several years. Part of the connection was that my grandfather worked for W & T Avery.
APPRAISER: Worked for the company?
GUEST: Until about or 1922 or ‘23. Don't know how old it is-- probably a hundred years, I don't know. It's a toy in our family room, basically. Guests come and they decide they want to weigh themselves. Unfortunately, it's painfully accurate. (laughs) It doesn't lie, so...
APPRAISER: Well, this is a jockey chair, jockey scale. It's incredibly rare.
APPRAISER: You don't really see them that much. And, uh, during the time period of the late 19th century when this was made, about 1895 to 1900, the W & T Avery Company in Birmingham...
APPRAISER: ...produced these chairs with leather seats, walnut primary wood, and secondary wood--we see English oak. We've got these spindles, all in the Edwardian style. The base has these wonderful moldings. And then this incredible cast-iron scale with beautiful gilt decoration, all original. And of course, then, these weights. And when the jockey sat in this chair, it was a serious thing, it was very serious.
APPRAISER: If a jockey didn't make his weight, he could not feed his family.
APPRAISER: These were chairs sat in by men who were incredibly strong, agile. Being a jockey is probably one of the most difficult and dangerous sports in the world.
GUEST: Yeah, yeah.
APPRAISER: And it still is today. I think this chair is absolutely fascinating. I love the fact that it has its original leather. So all this wear we know is probably mostly from jockeys over the years.
GUEST: Well, I think most of this damage has come from grandchildren.
APPRAISER: Would you mind sitting in the chair?
GUEST: I'm a bit big for a jockey. (laughing) So there we go.
APPRAISER: Let's give this a try.
GUEST: Feet off the floor.
APPRAISER: Now, each one of these, this is eight stones.
GUEST: Eight stones.
APPRAISER: So one stone equals...
GUEST: 14 pounds.
APPRAISER: 14 pounds.
APPRAISER: Now, this is the...
GUEST: 16 stone. I mean, I can't imagine a jockey would ever be 16 stones, but there we go. Okay, now, there's a fine adjustment here. That's another four pounds.
APPRAISER: There it is, right about...
GUEST: 16 stone...
APPRAISER: About there, a little bit less. 16 stone, half a pound.
GUEST: Just right there—so 16 stones, half pound.
APPRAISER: And that translates...
GUEST: To about 225 pounds.
APPRAISER: Now, may I ask you, do you know what this is worth? Have you ever had it appraised?
GUEST: No, as I say, it's a novelty at home, so we use it more as a toy than anything else. I paid about, by the time we got it here from the village in England, about $1,500.
APPRAISER: $ 1,500 U.S. Well, one recently sold at an auction down south for $12,500 U.S.
GUEST: Oh, you're kidding. (laughing)
APPRAISER: And that one had replaced leather. And I don't know whether it had the original weights, which is so amazing these have survived.
GUEST: That's right, yeah.
APPRAISER: And all the original paint. I would estimate this at auction between $10,000 and $ 15,000.
GUEST: Oh, my goodness. Well, I think the grandchildren will stay off it from now on. (both laughing)