Miniature Queen Anne Desk, ca. 1750
Appraised Value: $5,000 - $7,000 (2013)
IMAGE: 1 of 7
Appraisal Video: (3:03)
Gary R. Sullivan Antiques, Inc
GUEST: Well, this is a miniature desk. It was my mother's and my mother was an avid antique collector and I don't really know much about it. It was just a piece. My father asked me what I wanted for Christmas this year and this was one of her miniatures that she had and this is the piece that I selected.
APPRAISER: And do you know how much she might have paid for it?
GUEST: I have no idea.
APPRAISER: Okay. Miniature furniture like this was made in the 18th century, it was made in the 19th century and it was made in the 20th century. We'd like to determine which one of those this is, so while the folks at home are trying to guess, let's take a look at it. So, the first thing I noticed when I saw it was this wonderful chased brass hardware. And I noted something interesting, that the hardware is held on with these cotter pins, which is an early feature. We tend to see that on 18th century furniture. We look inside, these are just wires that are bent over to hold the brasses in place. And that tends to be an early feature. On later examples, they would be posts that are threaded on with nuts. We also look at the age of the wood, the fasteners. This has nice, old square nails and nice natural oxidation here with hand-planed wood. It has an older look. It also has this handmade lock, which tends to indicate that it's an early piece. Take a look inside. The way the drawers are constructed. And that has nice early handmade rose head nails. So it seems to be a handmade piece. And again, what looks like a handmade lock, large size. They probably couldn't find one small enough for this. And let's take a look at the back. We see that the back is all hand-planed and it's got the wonderful age of an early piece. So looking at all these features and the handmade nails, I've come to the conclusion that this is, in fact, an 18th century piece.
GUEST: Oh, terrific.
APPRAISER: The piece, I believe, was made in Boston around 1750, or in the 1750s. It's constructed of walnut and the secondary wood is all white pine.
GUEST: What were these made for?
APPRAISER: This was probably made for a child. If it were a salesman's sample, it would have had four drawers in the front, which would be the full-size example. Since this only has three, it's not an exact copy of a period one. Do you have any idea of what it might be valued at today?
GUEST: No, I'm afraid to say. Well, I'll guess, $10,000.
APPRAISER: Well, that might be a little bit high, actually.
GUEST: Okay, I was going for broke.
APPRAISER: I think in a retail store, a dealer that specializes in Early American furniture could easily ask $5,000 to $7,000 for this piece.
GUEST: Oh, great, that's terrific.
APPRAISER: Yeah, and it's a beautiful piece.
This website is produced for PBS Online by WGBH Boston. ©1997-2015 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.