Louisiana Work Table, ca. 1830

Value (2013) | $3,000 Auction$5,000 Auction
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GUEST:
It was close. We almost didn't bring it. At first glance, it certainly is homely. It's one of my favorite tables, and came down through my family that was in Abbeville, Louisiana. It just... just a gorgeous table. I love it.

APPRAISER:
Where is Abbeville, exactly, in Louisiana?

GUEST:
It's about 20 miles south of Lafayette, which is south of just about everything in Louisiana.

APPRAISER:
Okay.

GUEST:
And it's the heart of Cajun country. And one of my favorite cousins that lives down there, his Grandpa Moss worked at this table when he was in the courthouse, I believe.

APPRAISER:
Mm-hmm.

GUEST:
At the early part of the 19th century.

APPRAISER:
Well, it is an extraordinary piece, a very rare piece of Louisiana furniture. The thing that is so compelling for me is that it is all made out of this cypress wood.

GUEST:
Yeah, it's gorgeous.

APPRAISER:
Which is extraordinary. We see this kind of wood very rarely in Massachusetts, obviously, where I'm from. Like in New England, where we have some of our provincial furniture painted, often in Louisiana in the 19th century, they preferred to have cypress wood furniture painted in color. But I don't believe this one has ever been painted.

GUEST:
I don't think so.

APPRAISER:
I described it as "rough." What's happened to this table?

GUEST:
Grandpa Moss brought it home to his house, and at some point I think in the early '60s, my father bought it from him. I think he paid him $10 or $20, I'm not sure. My dad brought it home and kept it at his house a little while, but then he put it in his barn and it's been there ever since until about ten years or so ago, and we ended up with it.

APPRAISER:
So your dad's responsible for the paint cans, maybe?

GUEST:
I'm afraid he was using it as a storage table, and I don't know if that's paint or from the steel on the canes, but yeah.

APPRAISER:
So let's look a little bit about the construction of this because it's got such a French feel to it.

GUEST:
Yes, it does.

APPRAISER:
And if you pull out the drawer here, you'll see that it's got no dovetails along the sides here, which is typical of French country furniture. They cared mostly about the form and what the piece looked like. The other thing I'll point out is these very rare brasses on the front.

GUEST:
I wasn't sure about that, yeah.

APPRAISER:
And they are brass and period to the piece. I would date this from about 1825 to 1850.

GUEST:
Okay.

APPRAISER:
And very typical of Louisiana furniture. Have you ever had it appraised at all?

GUEST:
Oh no, not at all. It's sat in a barn for years and years.

APPRAISER:
Well, I'm so glad you took it out of the barn because it is a great rarity, and if I were to see this table up at auction, I would probably estimate it in the $3,000 to $5,000 range.

GUEST:
Wow, a paint holder.

APPRAISER:
No, it's not... No more paint.

GUEST:
I can't thank you enough.

APPRAISER:
Sure, thanks for bringing it, it's really fun to see this.

GUEST:
Man, this has been a blast.

Appraisal Details

Appraiser
Skinner, Inc.
Marlborough, MA
Appraised value (2013)
$3,000 Auction$5,000 Auction
Event
Baton Rouge, LA (July 27, 2013)
Period
19th Century
Form
Table
Material
Brass, Cypress

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