18th-Century French Provincial Armoire

Value (2008) | $11,500 Retail

GUEST:
It first belonged to my daughter, and they had a big house with real tall ceilings and all, and so then they're the ones that bought it. And so then they changed houses, and the next house didn't have as tall a ceilings. I had an antique sideboard,

APPRAISER:
Right.

GUEST:
and so we switched pieces.

APPRAISER:
Did a trade.

GUEST:
'Cause I have a house that has tall ceilings. This is 87 inches.

APPRAISER:
How about the weight? How about moving it?

GUEST:
It weighs a ton.

APPRAISER:
So you do have French provincial armoire, of course, made in the provinces, and you can get a simple one and then you can get a good one, and then you can get a really nice one with the extras. This has the extras. Up at the top, it has this coved cornice, which, which helps move it, right?

GUEST:
Yes, they took it off.

APPRAISER:
Comes off like that. And then these panels which flank sea scrolls facing each other in the center. Coming down here, you have the scrolling. And then the skirt has this wonderful series of schemas and scrolls and volutes here. And it comes around all the way around to this foot. And this foot was typical of the Louis the XV style, and used right through the 18th century, the scrolled foot. So it has all those extra bells and whistles. Now, the Louis the XV style in Paris was filled with scrolls and naturalistic elements, and this would be something in that style. Louis the XVI style was much more rectilinear and straight. So this is, this is pure Louis the XV, but probably, very possibly made after he actually reigned. On the outside of the door here, you have this brass escutcheon. And this is a typical brass escutcheon for a French door. And do you see the little birdie up there? Isn't that nice? There's a little bird.

GUEST:
I hadn't even noticed.

APPRAISER:
A little eye and a little beak. And that's the great thing about this is it does have its original escutcheons and it's original hinges. Now, you brought this key this morning, and this this is an 18th century key, and I have not opened this, right? I have not looked.

GUEST:
No.

APPRAISER:
So I'm going to be seeing it the first time.

GUEST:
Okay, okay.

APPRAISER:
Oh, wow. I feel that this is absolutely period; 1776. The texture of the paper, the way it's light underneath where it fell off. This design is just wonderful. and the other thing that tells me that this is a period piece, is in here, all the wonderful chamfering and the construction of it and it's all hand-plane. You can look at the backboards. They have a cove on the edge. They're wonderfully paneled. And you have the pins coming right through. The reason many have a date, and this is just a theory, is that they're called "marriage armoires," to commemorate a wedding.

GUEST:
Sure.

APPRAISER:
And we can just hypothesize, we don't know, this is a wedding armoire because... to give to the couple...

GUEST:
That's exciting.

APPRAISER:
Now the form itself-- the armoire has become less popular in the last ten years. Do you know why?

GUEST:
Not really.

APPRAISER:
Because ten years ago, there weren't as many flat-screen, high-definition televisions . Remember when they were really deep?

GUEST:
Of course.

APPRAISER:
And you wanted to hide the whole back of it. It was this thick. Well, now they're, what, this thick.

GUEST:
Yeah.

APPRAISER:
And so the armoire has become a little bit obsolete.

GUEST:
Yeah.

APPRAISER:
So the prices have dropped a little bit on armoires as a form.

GUEST:
Okay.

APPRAISER:
What about value? I mean, have you...?

GUEST:
Well, I do have a bill of sale

APPRAISER:
Okay.

GUEST:
that my daughter and her husband paid for it.

APPRAISER:
What did they pay?

GUEST:
This was in '85. And they paid $4,700.

APPRAISER:
Today in the marketplace, retail, this is probably about $11,000 or $12,000.

GUEST:
Really?

APPRAISER:
So, $11,500 is it would be on as retail price.

GUEST:
That's great. I appreciate it.

Appraisal Details

Appraiser
Keno Auctions
New York, NY
Appraised value (2008)
$11,500 Retail
Event
Wichita, KS (July 12, 2008)
Period
18th Century
Form
Cabinet
Material
Brass, Wood

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