Walnut Reclining Chair, ca. 1876

Value (2009) | $2,500 Auction$3,500 Auction

APPRAISER:
Now, you and I have a little secret, right?

GUEST:
Yes, we do.

APPRAISER:
Should we share it with everyone else? What do you think?

GUEST:
I'm ready, yes. Let's do it.

APPRAISER:
There you go. I'll bring this back. Voilà. (both laugh) Where did you find this chair?

GUEST:
I found this chair at my friend's house about 12 years ago, and he was willing to sell it. And I had to have it, just because it was so interesting, it was so different. And it had some interesting functions.

APPRAISER:
And do you use the chair?

GUEST:
I have used the chair, and it's really comfortable.

APPRAISER:
It looks like it would be harsh with the metal on the sides.

GUEST:
Yes. It's very soft. It's very comfortable. And this does recline down so you can take naps.

APPRAISER:
We see Victorian furniture on the Roadshow quite a lot. This is a walnut crest with a beautifully carved little sunburst here, these flower petals, beautiful figured burl. I love this molded arch and all these details, which are walnut, with this caned back and seat. And then you've got leather arms. Some of the unsung heroes, really, of Victorian design and Victorian furniture are some of the inventors and the great genius that they had in engineering this convertible furniture. And they would apply for patents to have the latest and the greatest type of furniture like this that would be made for actually a very wealthy public.

GUEST:
Mm-hmm.

APPRAISER:
These are pretty expensive at the time. And in the 19th century, when this was made, in 1876, this would have been pretty much the cat's meow to own. And what's... what's really great about this is that actually you can not only adjust this foot rest up, but it also, of course, goes down. So... which is kind of great. And it will go, literally, all the way. Let's put it all the way down in the back, if you don't mind. So, if you want to, you can actually make this into a bed in order to take naps. There are reclining chairs like this-- these convertible chairs-- that exist in the Metropolitan Museum of Art, they have one.

GUEST:
Oh, my goodness.

APPRAISER:
This shows the innovation of that period. That's how special they are. I think it's made in New York. A company named the Marks Company made very similar chairs with a cane seat, which would also let the air breathe through. Part of the reason we know about the date of this is on both sides, there's this beautiful polychrome, floral and pin-striped decoration that's totally original. The condition is unbelievable on this, given the fact it's 1876. These are the original casters, which are mahogany. So it's a really high-quality, expensive caster. This is the original leather upholstery from 1876.

GUEST:
Yes, yeah, I haven't... we haven't touched it.

APPRAISER:
I'm just going to put this back up a little bit.

GUEST:
Okay.

APPRAISER:
How much did you... did you pay for the chair?

GUEST:
$400.

APPRAISER:
Okay. The interest in this would probably come mostly from museums. But I put an auction estimate on this piece of probably in the range of about $2,500 to $3,500.

GUEST:
Wow, wow. Oh, that's incredible. That's incredible.

Appraisal Details

Appraiser
Leslie Keno Art Advisory
Waccabuc, NY
Appraised value (2009)
$2,500 Auction$3,500 Auction
Event
Madison, WI (July 11, 2009)
Period
19th Century
Form
Chair
Material
Mahogany, Metal, Walnut

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