Spanish Colonial Sideboard, ca. 1920

Value (2008) | $3,000 Auction$5,000 Auction

Unfortunately, we know very little about it. It's been in the family for so long, the history's kind of gotten lost with it. The story we were always told is that it was hand-carved by a carpenter who worked for the University of California in Berkeley. And my great-great-great-grandmother won it for a dollar in the raffle.

Pretty good buy.

That's about all we know.

Okay. Well, I think that's consistent with what the piece tells us. First of all, it represents the California missions, which are the oldest structures in California and the most visited California monuments today.


There were originally 21 of them established by Spanish priests, and they strung from San Diego all the way up to Sonoma, California. This piece stylistically would date from about 1920, and I think the University of California at Berkeley was finished right about 1910, something like that, so that makes some sense. The primary wood is mahogany.

Oh, it is!

Also, it incorporates redwood in the secondary woods, which we can see in the interior everywhere, but if you look at this drawer here, you can see that this is clearly California native redwood. It's not a cabinetmaker's piece, but rather a carpenter's piece. Traditionally we would find dovetails on the drawer fronts from a cabinetmaker. Here we just have them nailed. And if you can see, this is where he carved these fronts on all of these mission scenes and just applied them to the drawer fronts.

Oh... that's how it was done.

But it is all hand-carved and very decorative, in my opinion, and it's... you know, there's a lot of flash for the cash here. There's been a lot of banter back and forth between our colleagues and appraisers here trying to determine a value of it, and it's difficult, because it's one of one, so it's kind of an arbitrary figure we throw out. And we've had opinions as high as $10,000 and as low as $2,000. In my opinion, from an auction estimate standpoint, I think I would appraise it probably at $3,000 to $5,000. But realize that there is some upward potential to the right buyer.

Appraisal Details

Sacramento, CA
Appraised value (2008)
$3,000 Auction$5,000 Auction
Palm Springs, CA (June 07, 2008)

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