Virginia Painted Chest, ca. 1850

Value (2006) | $60,000 Insurance

The blanket chest was my grandfather's, and it's been in the family for as long as I can remember. He's from Virginia and lived in Tomsbrook, Virginia. And then my mother got it. And when he passed away, they drew numbers and she picked this number, so that was hers. And, um, then it's passed down to me. You know, we've always loved it because it's, you know, just so cute.

So it's got a place of honor somewhere in your house?

Oh, yes.

Yeah. This is a paint-decorated Valley of Virginia blanket chest. And most people date these 1850, which is an approximation. It could be a little bit on one side or the other of 1850. This is yellow pine, which is a really hard, resinous pine, and in the Valley of Virginia, a lot of the chests are made up there like that. It's dovetailed construction, and it's basically what we in the trade would call a six-board chest. But this is paint-decorated. It has so many elements that are desirable about it. First of all, it has this great sort of mottled black over top of the red,


and on top you got birds and floral pipe decoration. And on the front is probably the thing that sends me the most is these horses. This finish is a little shiny to be the original paint. I think it's a clear finish that was put on it later.

Mm-hmm, mm-hmm.

But then I started thinking about that and I looked and there's places that are alligatored like this, and the dry paint is right there underneath. On of my fears would have been that somebody would have touched the paint up before they put the clear finish on it. You know, look how the feet look. I know that's original.

Yeah, yeah.

That hadn't been painted over.

I know. Yeah.

And look at this end. It has more of that what we call "alligatoring," but the folk art people that collect folk art, they love a dry surface and they love original paint. If it were mine, I would insure it for $60,000.

Sixty...? My mother will be thrilled.

Does that surprise you?

Yeah, it really does. It's amazing. It's really... I had no idea that it, you know, was anything like that at all. Did you say $60,000?


Appraisal Details

Ken Farmer LLC
Charlottesville, VA
Appraised value (2006)
$60,000 Insurance
Mobile, AL (July 08, 2006)

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