Concord, Massachusetts Card Table, ca. 1800

Value (2016) | $3,000 Auction$5,000 Auction
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GUEST:
The story in the family is that it was made by my great-great-grandfather in Concord, Massachusetts-- Cyrus Benjamin.

APPRAISER:
Okay.

APPRAISER:
And that's all I know about it. It's been in the living room of my mother's house and my house for as long as I can remember.

APPRAISER:
So family lore says it was made by Cyrus Benjamin.

GUEST:
Cyrus Benjamin.

APPRAISER:
About what time would that have been?

GUEST:
It would probably have been-- we thought-- about 1860, 1870.

APPRAISER:
Okay.

GUEST:
About the time his son had gone into the Civil War, and he had a shop in the back of the house.

APPRAISER:
Okay, well, as sometimes can happen, family history is off by a generation or two here. A table like this is generally referred to as a demilune card table. Made in eastern Massachusetts, about 1800. So 60 or 70 years earlier than family lore would suggest.

GUEST:
And before Cyrus Benjamin was born.

APPRAISER:
Exactly. This table, though it's based on a Boston example of a demilune table, is likely made, if not in Concord, certainly in the Concord, Massachusetts, area.

GUEST:
That makes sense.

APPRAISER:
Without a doubt. It would be referred to as a Federal period card table. It relates to Federal furniture made in Concord and Sudbury and Carlisle, all neighboring towns of the general area west of Boston.

GUEST:
From where my relatives would have originated anyway.

APPRAISER:
Exactly, which was the countryside at that time.

GUEST:
Yes.

APPRAISER:
It is a remarkably colloquial table.

GUEST:
What does that mean?

APPRAISER:
Well, there's a lot of country cabinetmaker things that are going on. Especially with relation to the inlay on this table, which relates to a lot of Boston forms. At the top of the dies here, you can see what I would refer to as a contrasting quatrefoil.

GUEST:
I see.

APPRAISER:
Very similar to a lot of furniture made in Concord, certainly. What I like best, however, is the really delicate line inlay just below that, at the top of each leg. You can see this maybe light wood, could be holly, wavy line inlay that sort of intersects a couple times, and then ends in drops that we looked at very closely and can't really determine exactly what the substance is. It may be horn, it may be mother-of-pearl.

GUEST:
Wow.

APPRAISER:
It's difficult to know. The whole table is covered over in a varnish that sort of obscures exactly what materials are being used. But what's so interesting about the table to us is that it's a great country example of a city form made with indigenous woods like cherry on the top. Actually two boards of cherry. And it excited us when we saw it because it's a good rarity to have a table made in that area of Massachusetts. Is it something you've ever had appraised? GUESTL Never.

APPRAISER:
Well, in its current state, we'd estimate it for auction purposes at $3,000 to $5,000.

GUEST:
(chuckles) That will shock my brothers and sisters.

APPRAISER:
(laughs) Well, good.

GUEST:
Wonderful to hear. I appreciate that, thank you very much.

Appraisal Details

Appraiser
Skinner, Inc.
Boston, MA
Appraised value (2016)
$3,000 Auction$5,000 Auction
Event
Orlando, FL (June 18, 2016)
Category
Furniture
Material
Cherry

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