19th-Century Spanish Colonial Chair & Trastero

Value (2011) | $4,200 Auction$6,800 Auction

I brought a trastero and a child's chair that have been in my family for a long time.

And where does your family come from?

Originally, they came out of North Carolina into El Paso, Texas, and then on over to Hatch, New Mexico.

Well, it's interesting that you say Hatch, New Mexico, because they're what we call Spanish Colonial, and they were made in New Mexico. Any idea of the age of these pieces?

I have no clue. My dad is 81, and they've been in his home as long as he can remember, in his parents' home.

What makes both of these pieces special is that they're 19th-century pieces. In the early 20th century, the WPA movement was copying what we call the Spanish Colonial movement, and what makes your pieces so wonderful is that they're actually 19th century. So if we start with the chair, I'd call this first-quarter 19th century. You see this through-tenon construction, hand-wrought nails, you've got this punch decoration, these turned back splats. It has a very baroque feel, or dungeon furniture, like it's 17th century.


As far as the trastero goes, we call that a pie safe in some places, or if you were French, a panettiere or a bread safe. Trastero is exactly what you'd call it in New Mexico. I'd say this piece is a little later. It probably dates from about 1840 to 1880.


And we can tell that based on some of the construction characteristics. If we go back to the chair, it does have some condition issues. If you look at this leg, we've got some pieces missing, the seat's split, and there's some elements of the crest that are missing, and we're missing a splat. It's made out of ponderosa pine, so it's a softer wood, so that's why you've got some of these damages. But because of the rarity of this, the condition doesn't go to value as much as it would, say, with a piece of early American-- if you had these types of losses, it would kill the value. At auction, we conservatively say $1,200 to $1,800.


Now, if we move over to the trastero, again, we've got some condition issues. I actually think the crest is probably replaced as well.

Oh, okay.

But again, because of the rarity, the age, the condition doesn't affect the value as much. I think conservatively, at auction, we'd say $3,000 to $5,000 on the trastero. And I'm so thrilled you brought it.

Thank you! I am, too.

Appraisal Details

Nye and Company
Bloomfield, NJ
Appraised value (2011)
$4,200 Auction$6,800 Auction
El Paso, TX (June 18, 2011)

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