Lowboy & Highboy

Value (2007) | $2,000 Retail$2,300 Retail

GUEST:
My mother inherited them from her father, who got them from his father. So it goes back, as far as I know, to my great-grandfather.

APPRAISER:
Let's start with this high chest-- the highboy. What you brought in is a nice, probably circa 1740 to 1770 or so, highboy-- a flattop model. I know you know what's hidden right here, right?

GUEST:
And I figured you did, too.

APPRAISER:
I figured it out. But, you know, that document drawer-- or little cornice drawer... Now, a really smart burglar would know that was there-- know the money was there.

GUEST:
They weren't fooling anybody, then.

APPRAISER:
They weren't fooling anybody. It's made of birchwood, which we do see in New England. So it's made in two sections. You have these nice, molded drawers, right? With the original-looking brass-- Queen Anne brasses. And then you have this bottom section with a beautiful carved fan. That's a real nice touch. And it would have cost a little extra in the 1740s. And then this nice, arched valance here, where there would have been a little, probably a drop at one time, and then the legs. Now, these are actually added on. They've been spliced in. And do you see that split? And you see it's on every single one, and there are two pins on each side attaching it. So, at some point, the legs rotted or they snapped, and some family member of yours worked on it, which is okay. It would have had a probably a more of an "S" curve. See how these are a little bit straight-looking? So that's something that does affect value. The piece is worth, in a shop, with the spliced legs, probably about $1,200 to $1,500, okay? If it didn't have the spliced legs, the legs would be curvier. Because of the old finish and the original brasses, it would probably be, like, $12,000 to $15,000. There's a major difference there.

GUEST:
There's a big difference.

APPRAISER:
I know. It is. I know. But you know something? Come on over here.

GUEST:
Sure.

APPRAISER:
Now, this piece. What would you like to know on this?

GUEST:
Well, at first, my mother thought they were matched, because of the shell design.

APPRAISER:
Because of the shell. Right. We can see the claw legs make it a completely different piece.

GUEST:
This piece was with my grandfather, and it was left over from his father's home, which... which it burned down. But these pieces were in the servants' quarters, so they survived.

APPRAISER:
So they survived. Now, you have a piece, looking at it from here, that does appear a little too wide, and this skirt is very extreme, and it's not a typical skirt for Connecticut. And these are basically more Philadelphia-shaped feet, claw-and-ball feet, for a piece that is supposed to be made up in Connecticut. The interesting thing is you have the original engraved brasses on the drawers. I mean, those are 1720 to 1740, original engraved brasses. If you look at these drawers, it basically looks like a birchwood, and secondary wood is poplar, which is typical of Connecticut, and nice 1740s nails. Really, really nice. Absolutely original. Look at these big, chunky dovetails. They were used in heavy stock. They couldn't cut it really thin. They were working up in the country, up in Connecticut, so it's typical-- all typical-- of Connecticut. These drawers-- they're all absolutely right. The shell-carved drawer-- absolutely, absolutely, right. And that really is the soul of the piece-- these drawers. Okay? Now I'm going to show you something around the back. That's the original back right there. You see this paint coming up here? Somebody just got a brush dry, or decorated the back. But look over here, Terry. You see those marks? I don't know if you do any woodwork.

GUEST:
Oh, yeah.

APPRAISER:
Those tool marks are chatter marks from a machine saw-- from an electric saw. So this piece, you have some old parts, like the drawers and the backboard, but... And I'm going to ask Ron to run in here and help me flip this over. Thank you, Ron. That's my buddy Ron. The skirt here has machine tool marks. You can also see some machining over here from an electric tool. So we know that none of this is original. If we look down at the inside of the piece, Terry, that leg that you saw-- you see that color difference?

GUEST:
Oh, yes.

APPRAISER:
So, new legs and these skirts are all new. And, if you look down at that top and see the difference, you have a cherrywood top on a birchwood case. See the difference in color down in there?

GUEST:
Yes. Absolutely.

APPRAISER:
Terry, one really neat thing is that the original-- probably original-- chalk marks are here from assembling the backboards to... Isn't that cool?

GUEST:
That is.

APPRAISER:
That's a really nice thing to have. Let's flip it back up. Thanks. Thank you again, Ron.

RON: You're welcome.

APPRAISER:
We're going to spin this around. Connecticut lowboys can be very valuable. They can go up to $20,000, $30,000, $40,000, $50,000. The condition affects the value drastically. It's a fragment of what it was. So it's probably worth about $800.

GUEST:
$800.

APPRAISER:
But it's priceless to your family.

GUEST:
It is.

Appraisal Details

Appraiser
Keno Auctions
New York, New York
Appraised value (2007)
$2,000 Retail$2,300 Retail
Event
Orlando, FL (June 30, 2007)
Form
Highboy, Lowboy
Material
Birch, Cherry

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