Regency Secretary Bookcase, ca. 1815

Value (2002) | $15,000 Insurance
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GUEST:
It was purchased by my grandmother we think in the early '50s from an antique store in New York. And on this invoice or a listing of furniture, it lists an English writing secretary. And it has a price and a date. But we don't know anything about it. It's lived at the top of the staircase out here at the lake house for the last 50 years. And when we cleaned it out to bring it down here, I found some letters that I wrote when I was in camp 40 years ago to my grandmother, and my archery diploma. We just don't know anything about it other than it's a cute piece, it looks nice.

APPRAISER:
You said it had a date and a price. What was the date and price?

GUEST:
The date was 1750, and I think the price was $700 or $800.

APPRAISER:
Right. Well, I would describe this as a regency gentleman's secretary bookcase. And instead of 18th century, I would push it into the 19th century and probably date it about 1815. It has a wonderful classical pediment on it. Another thing about regency furniture is that if you notice, it's all done in beautiful mahoganies. These are veneers. They used veneers for two reasons in the regency period. It was less expensive, but also they were running out of great, great wood. And as you can see this piece, it's got wonderful wood on it. All of this great shimmering...

GUEST:
This is mahogany here?

APPRAISER:
Yes. And the details in black are ebony.

GUEST:
That's a type of wood?

APPRAISER:
Yes, it is. Yes. You can see also a brass mount down the front of the secretary as well, which decorates it. It's all very orderly. We've got our books up here. This is where you'd have your writing surface. This is a nice little feature. You can place...

GUEST:
Didn't know that!

APPRAISER:
That easel up, it's got its original leather surface. We close it up and let's entirely close this piece. Pick up and push back.

GUEST:
And it just rests on here.

APPRAISER:
Yep, and then you close it up. Neat. Orderly.

GUEST:
Neat.

APPRAISER:
This Grecian design in the early 19th century was considered extremely modern. It has just a very sleek look to it.

GUEST:
Well, I'm just delighted to know more about it. Is this original glass?

APPRAISER:
It looks to me as though it is. It has some wonderful wavy qualities to it. Again another part of this piece which drives its price and value up. You have an inventory that says its worth $750. I think that's modest.

GUEST:
You think so?

APPRAISER:
I don't think I could probably buy this for $750 today. So if I was going to make another inventory for household insurance or such, I would probably put this on at the $15,000 range.

GUEST:
Wow!

APPRAISER:
So you need to bump that up a little.

GUEST:
I may need to bump up some insurance. That's just great.

Appraisal Details

Appraiser
Skinner, Inc.
Boston, MA
Appraised value (2002)
$15,000 Insurance
Event
Hot Springs, AR (July 13, 2002)
Category
Furniture

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