Early 20th-Century Federal-Style Inlaid Mahogany Sideboard

Value (2010) | $800 Auction$1,200 Auction
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GUEST:
I brought a Hepplewhite sideboard, I think. It was given to us by my husband's parents. They purchased it when they got married and gave it to us after we got married. It's a Federal-style sideboard.

APPRAISER:
It's a beautifully inlaid mahogany piece, and do you have any idea how old the piece is?

GUEST:
Not really. I've done a little bit of research on my own and think it's probably around early 1900s.

APPRAISER:
You're probably right. I would say this is actually a 20th-century piece or what we call a style piece. When we look at a piece of furniture, first we look at the overall form.

GUEST:
Mm-hmm.

APPRAISER:
And this has actually got great form and proportion. It's got these nice, tapering, line-inlaid legs, wonderful mahogany veneers, a nice serpentine front. Now, I know you're from Mississippi and it tends to be a hot and humid climate down here.

GUEST:
Very humid, yes.

APPRAISER:
And for this type of climate you might expect to see a little more damage to the veneers. What you have are these wonderful mahogany veneers that are actually laid on a secondary wood or a substrate, and temperature and humidity caused that substrate to expand and contract. And usually you see more cracking of the veneers, or popping. That's my first indication that it's not an actual 1800 sideboard, but maybe a 1900 or a little bit later. Then if you look on the sides of the case, they're not flush with the legs. If we look here, you'll see a tiny shoulder here. Typically, for a 1790-to-1810 sideboard, that side would be flush with the leg. Then what I'd like to do is I'd like to pull out this drawer. If we look in the inside here, you'll see that there's slotted screws for the brass. For a period brass, these posts would actually come through and there'd be a nut on the inside.

GUEST:
So do you think those have been changed or added later?

APPRAISER:
No, I think they're probably original to the piece, which is another indication of why we think it's 20th century as opposed to being early 19th century.

GUEST:
Okay.

APPRAISER:
During the early 19th century, you usually have mahogany that would be wide enough to make this top, whereas here we have a two-board mahogany top.

GUEST:
Mm-hmm.

APPRAISER:
So when we take a look at all these things, the conclusion is, is that it's a Federal-style piece made in the early 20th century.

GUEST:
Okay.

APPRAISER:
I think if this piece were to come to auction, we'd give it an auction estimate of $800 to $1,200.

GUEST:
Okay.

APPRAISER:
If it was a real piece-- Federal, 1790-1810, we'd probably say in the range of $5,000 to $8,000 or $7,000 to $10,000, somewhere in that range.

GUEST:
Okay.

Appraisal Details

Appraiser
Christie's
New York, New York
Appraised value (2010)
$800 Auction$1,200 Auction
Event
Biloxi, MS (July 24, 2010)
Period
20th Century
Form
Sideboard
Material
Mahogany, Metal, Wood

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