Colonial Revival Tilt-top Tea Table, ca. 1911

Value (2009) | $5,000 Auction$8,000 Auction

GUEST:
I got it out of a storage building where I worked. Bought this and a lawnmower. I think it comes from Bordentown area, New Jersey. Thought it was a really neat table. I brought it here to see what it's worth.

APPRAISER:
When we first saw it, we thought the same thing you did, which is this is a very exotic and wonderful table. We look at the top and you see this wonderful mother-of-pearl inlay depicting butterflies and fish and birds and flowers. And we're accustomed to seeing things, designs like that in the Colonial Revival period at the end of the 19th century. It's called "Aesthetic Movement," and you see how beautiful it is. But there's a few surprises with this table. Tell us a little bit more about your discovery.

GUEST:
It's a tilt-top table.

APPRAISER:
When you open it up, there's a nickel inlaid in the back. Let's open it up and have a look at that. There's a man's picture in there. I have no idea who he is. And we see a wonderful design here, and there's an early 1911 nickel inlaid into the center of the table. Did you do any research on that coin or on the gentleman that's depicted?

GUEST:
I know if it was a 1913 nickel it would have been worth a lot of money.

APPRAISER:
That's right. (laughing) But it isn't, it's a 1911 nickel, and its value is a little less as a nickel. But this tells us a story. We believe this gentleman here probably was the maker.

GUEST:
A friend of mine told me that for anybody that did that back when the day the nickel was made had to be a master craftsman to build this table.

APPRAISER:
We think so, too. This is a tour de force of work. He inlaid the edge with stone. He inlaid the top with mother-of-pearl. He inlaid the piece with a coin, probably the year he made it, 1911. So, what this really is is a piece of folk art. Its value is less as a piece of early-American furniture and more as an object that somebody threw their heart and soul into... into making. He probably was German by origin and emigrated to America. A lot of this construction that you see, this attention to detail, the diamond border here, the use of rosewood here in the center of the table, very rare, very elaborate. It was meant to be seen open.

GUEST:
Okay.

APPRAISER:
And what did you pay for the lawnmower and for the table together?

GUEST:
$500.

APPRAISER:
$500. It's probably worth, at auction, $5,000 to $8,000 today as a piece of folk art.

GUEST:
Okay, that's wonderful.

Appraisal Details

Appraised value (2009)
$5,000 Auction$8,000 Auction
Event
Atlantic City, NJ (June 06, 2009)
Form
Tea Table

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