North Carolina Work Table, ca. 1810

Value (2012) | $4,000 Auction$6,000 Auction

The table has just always been at our house. I probably saw the table the first time when I was five years old. And my dad, who refinished antique furniture, he told me then it was very old.

I saw you bringing this in and got really excited about it. It's made in the Federal period. It's probably about 1810, could be 1800, but it's North Carolina, and nicely figured American walnut. It happens to be from the Piedmont region, and the walnut is set off by these really lovely contrasting inlays. It's got nice design sense, it's beautifully proportioned, but it also has some extra bells and whistles with the urn form inlay on the leg. I think of it as a work table/ breakfast table. And the reason that I think of it as a work table is because it has opposing drawers. If you could pull the one out on your side, you'll see that they're identical in construction and form. Both of them are missing their locks, but they happen to have their original Federal bail and rosette pulls. The other thing that's helping me attribute it to the Piedmont region of North Carolina is this really vigorously figured hard yellow pine. That's a secondary wood that grew in the region and was used for house construction, floors, and furniture manufacturing. And the yellow pine is seen all through this table. Now we're going to look at this table a little bit more. We have the symmetry on the inlay on the front, and then we've got the symmetry of the drawers on the ends. But what's really unusual is the fact that this table was not inlaid on the back. This was meant to go against the wall. So it could have been a breakfast table, but I think of it more as a work table with many functions. The table is not like any other I've seen. It is from North Carolina, so it's got lots of local interest. It's a nice, small size. It is beautifully proportioned. Almost anybody can buy it and use it in any location. The condition is such that the integrity of the table is there. It's sunbleached, and the finish has been a little distressed. In this condition, for an auction estimate, I think I'd put it at $4,000 to $6,000. But if it were untouched and had an old, dark surface on it-- dirty finish, as we call it-- I think it could be more in the $20,000 range.

Mhm. Well, I'm totally surprised.

It's a cool table.

Appraisal Details

Nye and Company
Bloomfield, NJ
Appraised value (2012)
$4,000 Auction$6,000 Auction
Myrtle Beach, SC (June 23, 2012)

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