English Chest-on-Frame, ca. 1900

Value (2003) | $7,000 Retail

I've had it for 30 years, and I'm trying to find out if it's really 16th century or 19th century.

What are the things that were tipping you off in one direction or the other?

The finish looks like it's a varnish. The drawers look like they've been refinished at one time, or the wood doesn't look old.

It's an interesting piece. It's English. It's a chest on stand. And when I looked at it first off, I had the same questions in my mind as far as "Is it old? Is it not old?" One of the things I looked at was the type of mounts here and the way they're cast, and they're a nice sort of baroque-style casting, but they're a little bit rough. It's not very crisp. If we look at the drawers, they do have dovetails, so they're handmade drawers. And the veneer has a little bit of thickness here, so it looks like it's a hand-cut veneer. It's walnut and rosewood. And usually on 17th-century furniture, which this would be if it were period, you wouldn't find walnut as a secondary wood. And inside, the drawers are very uniform. They have some markings, but they do appear to have been refinished or at least newly finished. Again, the bail handles don't have a really old look, and inside, you can see how they've been pinned. They're certainly the first ones that went on there. Nothing's been replaced, but they don't have a real old look to them. I also looked up here, too, with the way the hinge plate is attached. These are machine-made screws and, you know, a very regular hinge plate here, and it doesn't look like it's been replaced. It has a beautiful veneering with the walnut and the crossbanding. It has all of the stylistic features that you'd find in the 17th century, but my sense is that it's a later version-- probably made in the late 19th, early 20th century. So still, you know, still an antique, a hundred years old. What did you pay when you got it?

I believe around $3,000.

In today's market, if you were to see this in an antique shop, advertised correctly as, you know, late 19th-, early 20th-century, I wouldn't be surprised to see a price tag in the $7,000 range.

Appraisal Details

Skinner, Inc.
Boston, MA
Appraised value (2003)
$7,000 Retail
San Francisco, CA (August 16, 2003)

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