1790 Federal Philadelphia Inlaid Card Table
Appraised Value: $10,000 - $20,000 (2013)
IMAGE: 1 of 2
Appraisal Video: (3:38)
Senior Vice President & Director, American Furniture and Decorative Arts
GUEST: It's been passed down through the family for over 200 years.
GUEST: And it was my great-great-great-grandfather who made this for his youngest daughter in between 1810 and 1812.
APPRAISER: And her name was...
GUEST: Frances Vanderburgh. I was the oldest son, so I received the Vanderburgh table. It's always been known as the Vanderburgh table. He was appointed as a first lieutenant in the fifth regiment of the New York Continental Army. He was 16 years old; he was born in Troy, New York. He came to Vincennes, Indiana, in about 1788 and he married the daughter of one of the early French settlers. He went on to become appointed by Arthur St. Clair, who was a general in the Revolutionary Army, as the first judge of the Northwest Territory.
APPRAISER: The other thing we know about him from this table is he also liked to party a bit.
GUEST: Oh, really?
APPRAISER: He liked to play games.
GUEST: Oh, yes, it's a game table.
APPRAISER: This is a card table, exactly. And open up the top and swing out the leg... And back in the late 18th century and early 19th century, games like whist were really popular, which were four-person games of cards.
APPRAISER: And he would have kept the cards right here in this drawer. Well, the table itself is made of cherry wood, but it's not just your ordinary cherry wood; this is tiger-striped cherry wood. Look at that figure. This motif is striped tiger maple and walnut, contrasting against the cherry wood. So you see this figured area here is black walnut, which was a local tree, as was the tiger maple. But most games tables we see, or card tables, don't have inlay on the inside like this. This is pretty complex and just absolutely gorgeous. Now... This table wasn't made in Vincennes, Indiana.
GUEST: Oh, it wasn't? Okay.
APPRAISER: It was made in the Philadelphia area of Pennsylvania.
GUEST: Oh, I'll be darned. My gosh.
APPRAISER: And I believe this was made, in fact, for the mother: for his wife…
GUEST: Oh, okay.
APPRAISER: …not for his daughter, because this dates about 1790, which was when they got married.
GUEST: That's right, it was 1790.
APPRAISER: And in 1790, this would have been a gift that he could have and proudly display, really as a great status symbol in the living room. This would have been a pretty snappy table to have out on the frontier of Indiana.
GUEST: I'll be darned.
APPRAISER: It's one of the nicest games tables I've ever seen in the Antiques Roadshow.
GUEST: Oh, really?
APPRAISER: It really is amazing. The proportions on this are absolutely gorgeous. The ratio between the width of the frieze and the legs... How do we know also it's Philadelphia? This leg profile with this center section and these bead edges are classic Philadelphia. And this molded top is a signature Pennsylvania motif that's used. Look at how cloudlike and beautiful that swirled wood is. That was carefully chosen by the cabinetmaker. And there are these bone inlay initials. Brass handles are absolutely original.
GUEST: They are? Oh, good!
APPRAISER: Which is great. It also has its original finish. I would put an auction estimate range on this table of $10,000 to $20,000.
GUEST: Well, good. Well, thank you, that sounds great.
APPRAISER: It should be insured for about $20,000. It's a great table.
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