Massachusetts Federal Tilt-Top Candlestand

Value (2012) | $3,000 Auction$5,000 Auction
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GUEST:
It's a diamond-topped flip-top table that I got from my mother. Her family is from Maine, and she got it probably in the '30s or '40s from their farm.

APPRAISER:
Were they early settlers, or...

GUEST:
They were. We can trace them all the way back to before the Revolutionary War in a town called Damariscotta, Maine. And they settled there and were originally burned out by the Native Americans and were forced back to Boston, and then returned later and settled again in Damariscotta.

APPRAISER:
This is what we call a Federal tilt-top mahogany candlestand.

GUEST:
Okay.

APPRAISER:
And what's interesting about this is this wonderful diamond-shaped top. And this comes from the north shore of Massachusetts, probably the Salem area. This was made, I would say, probably between 1790 and 1810. And what's really special about this is the condition. And often on the Roadshow, we talk about grungy surfaces.

GUEST:
Right.

APPRAISER:
And this is exactly how you want to find a piece.

GUEST:
Oh, fantastic.

APPRAISER:
Especially if you look at the top here, just look at this molded edge. It's got this wonderful rich dark brown color. If we turn the piece-- we can start at the top-- if you look very carefully, do you see this vertical line and horizontal line intersecting? And actually, there's a circle also here. These are the original cabinetmaker's scribe marks.

GUEST:
Oh, my God.

APPRAISER:
Laying out the top. And there's this wonderful shadow from the block to the top. You see how this is raised a little? If we continue down to the base, again you've got this wonderful rich dark chocolate brown color. And that's what makes our hearts beat. There has been some condition issues. You can see at one point, it looks as though the block broke out.

GUEST:
Right.

APPRAISER:
Not the end of the world. And interestingly enough, you see all these little holes here? Any idea what those holes are for?

GUEST:
None whatsoever.

APPRAISER:
If we were to close this, I bet you'd find that these holes all line up. And you know why that is?

GUEST:
No.

APPRAISER:
At some point, someone screwed the top shut.

GUEST:
(laughing)

APPRAISER:
That's why we have those.

GUEST:
Right.

APPRAISER:
We see it, it's common. You know, these tilt-tops, it's a spring catch. And the catch, it doesn't catch very well. Doesn't catch very well, you put something heavy, and then there goes your drink, right? Well, you said you inherited it. Have... was it appraised at that time?

GUEST:
No, it wasn't, it just... when we emptied my mother's house, I took it, and so...

APPRAISER:
Well, if this piece were to come to auction, in today's market, I'd estimate it at $3,000 to $5,000.

GUEST:
Wow, really? That's fantastic.

APPRAISER:
Absolutely.

GUEST:
Wow.

Appraisal Details

Appraiser
Christie's
New York, NY
Appraised value (2012)
$3,000 Auction$5,000 Auction
Event
Myrtle Beach, SC (June 23, 2012)
Material
Mahogany, Wood

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