Edwardian Jockey Chair, ca. 1895

Value (2009) | $10,000 Auction$15,000 Auction
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GUEST:
My wife found it in a little antique shop in the village where she grew up, which is not far from Newmarket, which is a big racecourse in England.

APPRAISER:
Okay.

GUEST:
And this actually sat in the Newmarket Jockey Club for several years. Part of the connection was that my grandfather worked for W & T Avery.

APPRAISER:
Worked for the company?

GUEST:
Until about or 1922 or ‘23. Don't know how old it is-- probably a hundred years, I don't know. It's a toy in our family room, basically. Guests come and they decide they want to weigh themselves. Unfortunately, it's painfully accurate. (laughs) It doesn't lie, so...

APPRAISER:
Well, this is a jockey chair, jockey scale. It's incredibly rare.

GUEST:
Yeah.

APPRAISER:
You don't really see them that much. And, uh, during the time period of the late 19th century when this was made, about 1895 to 1900, the W & T Avery Company in Birmingham...

GUEST:
Right.

APPRAISER:
...produced these chairs with leather seats, walnut primary wood, and secondary wood--we see English oak. We've got these spindles, all in the Edwardian style. The base has these wonderful moldings. And then this incredible cast-iron scale with beautiful gilt decoration, all original. And of course, then, these weights. And when the jockey sat in this chair, it was a serious thing, it was very serious.

GUEST:
Yep.

APPRAISER:
If a jockey didn't make his weight, he could not feed his family.

GUEST:
Right.

APPRAISER:
These were chairs sat in by men who were incredibly strong, agile. Being a jockey is probably one of the most difficult and dangerous sports in the world.

GUEST:
Yeah, yeah.

APPRAISER:
And it still is today. I think this chair is absolutely fascinating. I love the fact that it has its original leather. So all this wear we know is probably mostly from jockeys over the years.

GUEST:
Well, I think most of this damage has come from grandchildren.

APPRAISER:
Would you mind sitting in the chair?

GUEST:
I'm a bit big for a jockey. (laughing) So there we go.

APPRAISER:
Let's give this a try.

GUEST:
Feet off the floor.

APPRAISER:
Now, each one of these, this is eight stones.

GUEST:
Eight stones.

APPRAISER:
So one stone equals...

GUEST:
14 pounds.

APPRAISER:
14 pounds.

GUEST:
Right.

APPRAISER:
Now, this is the...

GUEST:
16 stone. I mean, I can't imagine a jockey would ever be 16 stones, but there we go. Okay, now, there's a fine adjustment here. That's another four pounds.

APPRAISER:
There it is, right about...

GUEST:
16 stone...

APPRAISER:
About there, a little bit less. 16 stone, half a pound.

GUEST:
Just right there—so 16 stones, half pound.

APPRAISER:
And that translates...

GUEST:
To about 225 pounds.

APPRAISER:
Now, may I ask you, do you know what this is worth? Have you ever had it appraised?

GUEST:
No, as I say, it's a novelty at home, so we use it more as a toy than anything else. I paid about, by the time we got it here from the village in England, about $1,500.

APPRAISER:
$ 1,500 U.S. Well, one recently sold at an auction down south for $12,500 U.S.

GUEST:
Oh, you're kidding. (laughing)

APPRAISER:
And that one had replaced leather. And I don't know whether it had the original weights, which is so amazing these have survived.

GUEST:
That's right, yeah.

APPRAISER:
And all the original paint. I would estimate this at auction between $10,000 and $ 15,000.

GUEST:
Oh, my goodness. Well, I think the grandchildren will stay off it from now on. (both laughing)

Appraisal Details

Appraiser
Leslie Keno Art Advisory
Waccabuc, NY
Appraised value (2009)
$10,000 Auction$15,000 Auction
Event
San Jose, CA (August 15, 2009)
Form
Chair

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