New York Chippendale Mahogany Slant-Front Desk, ca. 1775

Value (2010) | $2,000 Auction$3,000 Auction
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APPRAISER:
Coming to the Roadshow here in Iowa, I am a New Yorker transplanted, right, for a few days. You brought in a New Yorker and brought it to Iowa also.

GUEST:
Oh!

APPRAISER:
How did you come upon it?

GUEST:
My mom had it, my mom's family had it. All I know is they came into Portsmouth.

APPRAISER:
Portsmouth…

GUEST:
New Hampshire. My sister has one that my mom's sister had as well, which is similar to this one.

APPRAISER:
A similar desk, okay. Because the writing desk was the most important item in a person's house. It carried all the important papers. It had often money in it, and all those things were locked inside. Let's start by opening this lid. You know, these are called lopers.

GUEST:
Lopers?

APPRAISER:
L-o-p-e-r. You do slide it out and it holds up things, so... It used to have a brass lock that would have had a key. Do you have the key?

GUEST:
I have the key at home. I didn't bring it.

APPRAISER:
All these pigeon holes held papers. So, this writing desk from New York is Chippendale style.

GUEST:
Chippendale?

APPRAISER:
It's made between 1765 and about 1785-90.

GUEST:
Whoa!

APPRAISER:
And it's old-- so old, right?

GUEST:
Yeah.

APPRAISER:
It goes way back in your family.

GUEST:
Oh, my God.

APPRAISER:
If we pull out one of these document drawers, they call them, we can see the original poplar. This is the 1780 poplar that's so green. Do you see how green that is?

GUEST:
It's still very green.

APPRAISER:
It's just like it was cut. After it oxidizes, okay, I'm going to take out another drawer. I'll show you the back of this drawer. That's what that poplar looks like oxidized, because the air got to the back of this little drawer. Now, if we open this... I'm going to use my pointer to open this. Do you know that there's something in here?

GUEST:
No.

APPRAISER:
You've had it how many years?

GUEST:
I've had it about seven years.

APPRAISER:
And you used to visit it...

GUEST:
It was at my mom's-- I grew up with it, sure.

APPRAISER:
Okay, she never showed you this-- watch this. See that little hole right there?

GUEST:
Okay.

APPRAISER:
And it's going to be like magic.

GUEST:
(gasps) Oh, wow. What's behind it?

APPRAISER:
You didn't know it comes out? If there's any money, we split it 50-50.

GUEST:
I'm not sure about that.

APPRAISER:
(laughing): Okay. So there we are.

GUEST:
Oh, my God.

APPRAISER:
So we take this out. There would have been three little drawers back there. Now there's one left, and isn't that cool?

GUEST:
Nothing in it.

APPRAISER:
No money; nothing to split. How cool is that?

GUEST:
There were three little drawers.

APPRAISER:
Three little drawers. That one is number two-- see the number "2" in there in chalk? And you can see here the mahogany in the front and poplar in the back, which wasn't so expensive. So we'll put that back in. It locks into place, right? Put that in, put that back. And we go like this, and then this goes in. Isn't that cool?

GUEST:
That is amazing.

APPRAISER:
So now you know, right? If we look at the top of it... This high-style, highly figured plum pudding mahogany. Look at the quality of that mahogany. We have these four graduated drawers with replaced brasses-- that affects value a little bit.

GUEST:
Okay.

APPRAISER:
This is replaced, and that one over there is replaced, and the one on the side are replaced pieces that used to be carved. Now, there is on this side, that's the original one. So we add up all those things, and the value at auction would be $2,000 to $3,000 in this market. That would be the estimate on it.

GUEST:
Okay, thank you.

APPRAISER:
Thanks a lot.

Appraisal Details

Appraiser
Keno Auctions
New York, New York
Appraised value (2010)
$2,000 Auction$3,000 Auction
Event
Des Moines, IA (August 07, 2010)
Form
Desk
Material
Mahogany, Poplar

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