Visit Your Local PBS Station PBS Home PBS Home Programs A-Z TV Schedules Watch Video Donate Shop PBS Search PBS

SUPPORT PROVIDED BY

Support ANTIQUES ROADSHOW by supporting public television! Give Today
  • ON TV
  • ON TOUR
  • WATCH ONLINE
  • WEB EXCLUSIVES
  • RESOURCES
  • SHOP
  • The Roadshow Archive

    Desk Attributed to Allen and Brother, ca. 1885

    Appraised Value:

    $7,000

    Appraised on: June 12, 2010

    Appraised in: San Diego, California

    Appraised by: Brian Witherell

    Category: Furniture

    Episode Info: San Diego, Hour 2 (#1505)

    Originally Aired: January 31, 2011

    slideshow IMAGE: 1 of 2 Next 

    More Like This:

    Form: Desk
    Material: Wood, Ceramic
    Period / Style: 19th Century
    Value Range: $7,000

    Related Links:

    Understanding Our Appraisals
    Useful tips to keep in mind when watching ANTIQUES ROADSHOW

    Comment

    Appraisal Video: (2:16)

    appraiser

    Appraised By:

    Brian Witherell
    Furniture

    Witherell's

    Appraisal Transcript:
    GUEST: My mother gave it to me and it was her great-grandfather's. I know it's a Philadelphia piece. My great-grandfather lived in Camden and sometimes Philadelphia. Probably he bought it in the 1870s. I think the desk was built by Allen Brothers cabinetmaker, but I don't know the artist that worked for Allen Brothers.

    APPRAISER: The desk is clearly from the Philadelphia school of furniture making from that 1850s to turn-of-the-century period. Allen & Brothers was a very prominent cabinetmaker, which is different than a manufacturer. A cabinetmaker would be making custom-made furniture. There are about three of these desks that we know of to date. We did look up the artist of the central tile and could not find anything else about it outside of the fact that we assume that he's a German based on his name. These are all ceramic tiles, English or French, and I think what's interesting about Allen & Brother is that they were really producing fashionable furniture of that time period, which sometimes today we refer to as Aesthetic Movement, or art furniture. So in this case we incorporate a lot of the themes that are going on in the day, for instance, architecture, literature and theatre. This piece is attributed to Allen & Brothers, and there's two things that make us think that outside of its overall design and stance. But the primary reason is the locks are marked "Shannon, Philadelphia." One of the versions also retains its original key, which incorporates an "A" in the escutcheon.

    GUEST: Right.

    APPRAISER: Which is probably the thing that tips it over the scale in terms of giving a firmer attribution to Allen & Brothers because there were other cabinetmakers working in Philadelphia at the time period. This probably dates to 1880 to 1885. In terms of value, you really have to make it an attribution. We just don't know enough about it.

    GUEST: Yes.

    APPRAISER: But it would be a very difficult thing to replace, so I think for insurance purposes, we would estimate it at $7,000.

    GUEST: Wow, thank you.

    APPRAISER: You're welcome.

    GUEST: I'm excited.





    WGBH This website is produced for PBS Online by WGBH Boston. ©1997-2013 WGBH Educational Foundation.
    ANTIQUES ROADSHOW is a trademark of the BBC and is produced for PBS by WGBH under license from BBC Worldwide.
    WGBH and PBS are not responsible for the content of websites linked to or from ANTIQUES ROADSHOW Online.
    PBS is a 501(c)(3) not-for-profit organization.

    ROADSHOW on Facebook ROADSHOW Tweets ROADSHOW on YouTube