New Hampshire Paint Decorated Box, ca. 1830

Value (2005) | $18,000 Auction$25,000 Auction

GUEST:
It belonged to my twin sister, and after she passed on, things were left to me. I really don't know too much about it, except that it's been around for a long, long time. I don't know exactly what the motif was on it, but it looked like seeds.

APPRAISER:
Mm-hmm.

GUEST:
You know, something to do with farming, maybe.

APPRAISER:
Mm-hmm.

GUEST:
And I thought, well, maybe he kept seeds in the box.

APPRAISER:
Mm-hmm.

GUEST:
I really didn't know what it was used for, and I said, well, it looks kind of commercial.

APPRAISER:
It's for sure not for commercial use or for the storage of seeds. What you have here is a wonderful New Hampshire decorated box.

GUEST:
Oh.

APPRAISER:
You told me that your family comes from New Hampshire.

GUEST:
Yes, comes from New Hampshire, way back. They migrated to Davisville, New Hampshire. The last name was Davis, the family name.

APPRAISER:
Okay, so we have a possible origin of Davisville, New Hampshire.

GUEST:
Origin, yes, and as they moved down towards Massachusetts, through many, many, many years, they took their most valuable things with them.

APPRAISER:
Well, let's take a look at the inside of the box first.

GUEST:
All right.

APPRAISER:
And what we're seeing is just wonderful original condition. It's what we look for in American folk art. What you have here is the original cotter pin.

GUEST:
Oh.

APPRAISER:
Snipe hinges is what they're called.

GUEST:
Oh.

APPRAISER:
Both are original. Both are intact. They have not been replaced since 1830, the day they were made. You have the original board that guides the top to keep it from wiggling around.

GUEST:
Oh...

APPRAISER:
Keeps it totally in place.

GUEST:
Okay.

APPRAISER:
The fact that it's not broken the fact that it's original, is a wonderful, wonderful added feature to the construction of this box. It's beautiful American pine. Now let's close the box.

GUEST:
Oh, that's why it's so light.

APPRAISER:
And you see the hardware is all original. It's intact. It has the beautiful original key with it, and things like this are just so very, very hard to find all together.

GUEST:
Together.

APPRAISER:
We're going to tilt this so we can take a look at the top. And at this point in time, it doesn't pay to say: "are these melons, are these seeds, are these pomegranates?" It's fanciful. And that's what the 1830 decorations were all about, this American fancy. And imagine a bride getting this as a wedding present or as a keepsake box. Condition is marvelous. The motifs that are on the top are carried forward to the front, and they're also on the sides. So it's really just a wonderful, pure thing. A couple of scratches to the top. Not that detrimental to its value. What do you think that a box like this would be worth today?

GUEST:
Oh, I really don't know, but I would say, well... $500?

APPRAISER:
Well...

GUEST:
I mean...

APPRAISER:
No. (laughs)

GUEST:
Oh.

APPRAISER:
It's not worth $500.

GUEST:
Oh.

APPRAISER:
What we have here is a wonderful American paint-decorated box, from New Hampshire, from 1830. It's flattop, which, believe it or not, is worth more than the round tops.

GUEST:
Oh.

APPRAISER:
Because they can stack them. In today's market, this box would have no problem achieving a price somewhere in the range of $18,000 to $25,000.

GUEST:
I...

APPRAISER:
I want to thank you for bringing it to ROADSHOW today. It's a wonderful, wonderful American, uh... piece of American folk art.

GUEST:
I'm just... I'm overwhelmed. You know, took my... you know, my breath away.

APPRAISER:
Well, thank you.

GUEST:
Much like a kiss.

APPRAISER:
Thank you for bringing it, and it's just a wonderful family piece.

GUEST:
Oh, thank you. Are you sure it's worth that much?

APPRAISER:
Yeah.

Appraisal Details

Appraiser
Allan Katz Americana
Woodbridge, Connecticut
Appraised value (2005)
$18,000 Auction$25,000 Auction
Event
Providence, RI (June 18, 2005)
Period
19th Century
Form
Chest
Material
Wood

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