N.Y. Chippendale Corner Chair, ca. 1760

Value (2011) | $250,000 Retail$300,000 Retail
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GUEST:
I got it about 50 years ago, bought it up on the Hudson River, some antique shop, had it appraised in '82, and they couldn't say whether it was 100-- at that time-- 100-year-old chair or a 200-year-old chair.

APPRAISER:
A lot of people call these corner chairs. Museum catalogs often refer to this as a roundabout chair, and some citations in the South call it a smoking chair. Now, we both know something about this chair, that if I lift the seat up... we want to show everybody, okay? And what do we have there?

GUEST:
That's a potty chair.

APPRAISER:
It's a potty chair. (laughs) Now, potty chairs tend to drop the value of anything. It tends to be worth a fraction of what the standard model is. So it's very important for us to look at this chair and decide when that piece of wood got in there. Okay?

GUEST:
Okay.

APPRAISER:
A lot of times, they had a skirt that would hide the pot, and what they would do then is cut the skirt off to make it a more appealing chair. So what I'm going to do is, I'm going to tilt it up, and if you look here, you see these strips that are nailed in, and see these nails? These strips are slightly later. Not a lot, but just enough later that it lets me know they put the potty in later. And a lot of times, somebody couldn't leave the bedroom, and so they took an existing chair and just turned it into a potty chair. The other more important thing is when I look at these rails, there's no evidence whatsoever that they cut the rail to trim something to hide the pot. So, I'm very comfortable that it didn't start life as a potty chair with a deeper skirt. So that... to me, that's very, very important. Let me turn it back here. The fact that they converted it later doesn't really affect value. I love the legs. It's got four cabriole legs with ball-and-claw feet. That back leg is very unusual to be a cabriole leg. Typically, it's a simpler leg than the other three. We've got a beautiful S-curve here, very nice, and a pierced splat with what they call the floating diamond. This does come from New York City. Very typical of the New York style when you look at the way the cabriole legs are done, look at the way the shell is done, and this pattern of splat specifically are all very typical of New York. The name that most often is associated with this type of splat is Gilbert Ash. Now, it's not signed, it's not labeled, and we can't prove it is Gilbert Ash. But if we were going to put up a candidate, he would be first on the list.

GUEST:
Okay.

APPRAISER:
Do you remember how much you had to pay for it?

GUEST:
Well, I bought it with some other items at the time. I think it was about $750, $800.

APPRAISER:
When you had it appraised in 1982, what was the value then?

GUEST:
It was $6,800. But that was the appraiser that said he couldn't verify whether it was a 200-year-old chair or a 100-year-old chair.

APPRAISER:
Well, you know, I would guess the finish, which is not the one we most want, was probably what threw him off. It's a really good chair. In a retail setting, this would be priced at around $250,000 to $300,000.

GUEST:
Whoo! (laughs) That's fantastic. That's really more than I had... (laughs)

APPRAISER:
I hope so!

Appraisal Details

Appraiser
J. M. Flanigan American Antiques
Baltimore, MD
Appraised value (2011)
$250,000 Retail$300,000 Retail
Event
Atlanta, GA (August 06, 2011)
Period
18th Century
Form
Chair
Material
Wood

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