George Nelson Herman Miller Chest
About three years ago, maybe four years ago, we bought the house of the son of the founder of Herman Miller Company, Hugh De Pree, and the neighbor came by and she said that she was selling some Herman Miller bedroom furniture because they were moving to a condo. So we bought a whole bedroom set with end tables and a vanity and a couple of shelves and this was one of the pieces in the set. The house was designed by George Nelson in 1946 for Hugh De Pree, so we thought George Nelson furniture would be great in this house.
Well, 1946 is actually quite early, because George Nelson is just beginning to get started replacing Gilbert Rohde, who died as the design director at Herman Miller. Your chest here was designed in 1946, introduced at the Grand Rapids summer market in July 1947. And the first catalogue that it appears in, I think, is 1948. And it was in production for at least ten years, available for purchase right up until about 1958, 1959. It was a really versatile series of pieces, and the drawers could vary so you could have smaller drawers. The depth of the case would always be the same, right at about 18 inches, and you had the option of either ordering it on legs, as your piece has, or brushed chrome legs, or you could have no legs at all and it would sit on a bench system, which was a very kind of new concept in furnishings beginning after the Second World War. Very indicative of postwar furniture. It was great for smaller households. Nice aluminum handles on it. The wood is primavera. Nice, pristine example. This one is not rare but an absolutely wonderful example of the piece, still with the Herman Miller decal. Uh-huh. The decal would put it at mid-1950s. They stopped this label in about 1956. And just a wonderful, pristine example. How much did you pay for it?
Well, the lady who sold it to us, her uncle worked at Herman Miller and gave her this set, and so she knew what Herman Miller furniture was worth, so she charged us $1,500 for this piece.
Modest retail value would be in the neighborhood of $1,200 to $1,500.
With the great provenance behind it, you could add probably $500 to that.
It's a great piece. Thanks for bringing it.
Executive producer Marsha Bemko shares her tips for getting the most out of ANTIQUES ROADSHOW.
Value can change: The value of an item is dependent upon many things, including the condition of the object itself, trends in the market for that kind of object, and the location where the item will be sold. These are just some of the reasons why the answer to the question "What's it worth?" is so often "It depends."
Note the date: Take note of the date the appraisal was recorded. This information appears in the upper left corner of the page, with the label "Appraised On." Values change over time according to market forces, so the current value of the item could be higher, lower, or the same as when our expert first appraised it.
Context is key: Listen carefully. Most of our experts will give appraisal values in context. For example, you'll often hear them say what an item is worth "at auction," or "retail," or "for insurance purposes" (replacement value). Retail prices are different from wholesale prices. Often an auctioneer will talk about what she knows best: the auction market. A shop owner will usually talk about what he knows best: the retail price he'd place on the object in his shop. And though there are no hard and fast rules, an object's auction price can often be half its retail value; yet for other objects, an auction price could be higher than retail. As a rule, however, retail and insurance/replacement values are about the same.
Verbal approximations: The values given by the experts on ANTIQUES ROADSHOW are considered "verbal approximations of value." Technically, an "appraisal" is a legal document, generally for insurance purposes, written by a qualified expert and paid for by the owner of the item. An appraisal usually involves an extensive amount of research to establish authenticity, provenance, composition, method of construction, and other important attributes of a particular object.
Opinion of value: As with all appraisals, the verbal approximations of value given at ROADSHOW events are our experts' opinions formed from their knowledge of antiques and collectibles, market trends, and other factors. Although our valuations are based on research and experience, opinions can, and sometimes do, vary among experts.
Appraiser affiliations: Finally, the affiliation of the appraiser may have changed since the appraisal was recorded. To see current contact information for an appraiser in the ROADSHOW Archive, click on the link below the appraiser's picture. Our Appraiser Index also contains a complete list of active ROADSHOW appraisers and their contact details and biographies.
Last Tango in Halifax
Enjoy the third season of this award-winning series that celebrates life and love