New England Painted Blanket Chest, ca. 1800

Value (2010) | $2,500 Retail

My grandmother was an antique collector and also a dealer. I can remember her going on antique trips out east and Grandma and Grandpa would come back with a piece of furniture strapped on the top of their car.

This is probably from the early 1800s.


And it's the last combination of a blanket chest that you see in the early 19th century that was based on the earlier form of what people called a six-board chest. It was made from six boards, and the last incarnation had the drawers in it. And the great thing about this one is the paint. Back then, they would use pine or poplar or some other type of unadorned wood, construct the piece and then put the paint on it. The homes were very dark then, and when this was new, the paint was very exuberant. They were trying to basically brighten up their houses with it. And I was noticing when I was going over this earlier that it looked like even the pulls had been painted over.

I had noticed the pulls, too. I thought that was odd, but... that they painted over the brass pulls, but you do think they're original?

Yeah, I do. And those are Hepplewhite-style pulls, and that's right for this time period. The whole thing probably was just a smorgasbord for the eyes when they picked it up new and put it in the house. You're missing a foot.


And I think, originally, the feet might have been just a little bit higher. The top has wear and some of the paint decoration is missing on that, but that's common because that's the place it would have been touched the most. Otherwise, though, I think it's a really nice chest. We talked about this at the furniture table, and we feel real comfortable that retail on this would be about $2,500.

Oh, okay, that's wonderful. It's a fun piece to have, so...

And it's useful.


Think about this: back then, all of your clothing would have fit in this.

Not anymore, but yeah.

No, no. (laughter)

Appraisal Details

Ken Farmer LLC
Charlottesville, VA
Appraised value (2010)
$2,500 Retail
Des Moines, IA (August 07, 2010)

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