Virginia Queen Anne Walnut One-Drawer Tavern Table, ca. 1750

Value (2013) | $10,000 Auction$15,000 Auction
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GUEST:
This is a tavern table. It was made in about 1750. It was my mother's. And prior to my mother, it was my Aunt Lucy's. And she lived in a little town on the eastern shore of Virginia called Accomack, Virginia.

APPRAISER:
Okay.

GUEST:
My mother and father had it appraised in 1978.

APPRAISER:
'78.

And it appraised for $2,800. Prior to my Aunt Lucy, I don't know where it came from.

APPRAISER:
Well, it's what we call a Queen Anne figured walnut one-drawer tavern table. I'd probably say 1740 to '60s. Now the next question I guess we have is, where is it from?

GUEST:
I don't know. I just know she lived in Accomack in Virginia.

APPRAISER:
It's funny that you mention that she lives in Virginia because this is actually a Virginia table. I don't know if you can hear my heart beating, but to come across a Virginia table, it's a rare thing.

GUEST:
Really?

APPRAISER:
Yeah, and so when we think of Southern furniture, there's not a whole lot of it because of the war of Northern aggression, or the climate. We tend to call it neat and plain. Southerners kind of looked to England for their furniture. We've got this relatively simple baluster turning. It's a double baluster. But there's some little details here that I just absolutely love. If you look at the top of the leg, you see this wonderful molded corner. Now, he actually continues it down on this block, just above the foot. So the turnings, they're unusual. They're indicative of the neat and plain style, think Virginia. But I'm not sold on that yet. So now I've got to take a look and dig a little further. And so if I pull the drawer out... The first thing I see is this very stripy wood, and this is yellow pine.

GUEST:
Okay.

APPRAISER:
And that's what you want to see on a Virginia table. This secondary wood says this was made in the South. That's exactly how you want to find it.

GUEST:
All right.

APPRAISER:
So then, the primary wood. Walnut-- again, what you want to see in the South. Now if we take a look at the condition, this is what I love when we talk about an old, grungy surface. These rings, these burn marks. You've got some water stains. It's like nobody ever touched it. It's a time capsule. And then if we continue, you look at the front of this. There's great color on the legs. I love this, this is a wooden pin that's just beaming right out, popping out because of expansion and contraction. Great wear on the stretchers. Just how you want to find it. Now can you hear a thump, thump, thump?

GUEST:
I'm thumping too.

APPRAISER:
Okay, so then that brings us to the question. You said it was appraised in '78?

GUEST:
Yes.

APPRAISER:
And it was $2,800?

GUEST:
Yes.

APPRAISER:
So, 2013. You know how the market's been. What do we think the value is nowadays?

GUEST:
I did some research online, and what I came up with, it was like $1,500. It went down.

APPRAISER:
That's a tough thing to struggle with. We think antiques automatically, you know, appreciate in value. I would say you're somewhat accurate. For your standard, one-drawer tavern table, $1,500 is probably a pretty accurate price. I could find several of them. But what you can't find is Virginia one-drawer tavern tables.

GUEST:
Oh, okay.

APPRAISER:
If this were to come to auction, I would estimate it-- and I think it's conservatively-- at $10,000 to $15,000.

GUEST:
You are my best friend.

APPRAISER:
Well, I'm glad I could be. Now I'm going to knock your socks off a little more, I hope.

GUEST:
Okay.

APPRAISER:
I've seen other examples sell-- now, it was in a slightly better time-- but for around $30,000 to $35,000. So if you get the wind behind their sails and the right buyers in the room, it's certainly got upside potential. And I am so thrilled you brought it in.

GUEST:
So you're going to write me a check, brother?

APPRAISER:
I wish I could, but then I'd be fired.

GUEST:
Well, you know what this girl said to me in line? She goes, "You know, I saw you walking in the building with this table." And one of my buddies was carrying this. And she goes, "I can't believe she brought in that piece of crap to be appraised." (laughs)

APPRAISER:
Really? Oh, wonderful.

Appraisal Details

Appraiser
Christie's
New York, New York
Appraised value (2013)
$10,000 Auction$15,000 Auction
Event
Richmond, VA (August 17, 2013)
Period
18th Century
Form
Table
Material
Walnut

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