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Antiques Considered - November 23, 2011

  This table comes from a gentleman in Middlesex County. He purchased it at auction some years ago, after which he found that the top was attached permanently with new wood to the column. He thinks that originally it was a tilttop that was modified. The wood is walnut, and the finish is old, if not original.

 Almost certainly, the table was made in a cabinet shop as a tilttop. I have seen many such pieces that were converted from being tilttop after the hinge became broken.

If the top of the column happened to be broken from damage, often the easy fix was to saw the end off and attach the top firmly. From the presence of the new wood, that appears to be the case in this instance.

 

 The table dates from the mid-nineteenth century. It shows the lines of the Victorian period in the feet, and the column has good turnings. The loss of the tilttop mechanism significantly affects its value. As is it is worth $250. Were the original tilttop still present with the original hinge and clasp, the value would be $400, a further illustration of the importance of completeness in determining the worth of any antique.

 The market for transitional pieces such as this one is always on the edge. This style of table originated in the eighteenth century during the Queen Anne era. It continued through the Chippendale and Sheraton/Empire styles, and ultimately into the Victorian era. The latter motif in this type of table never has commanded the prices of the earlier styles. To a certain extent a Victorian tilttop is somewhat like a fish out of water. To illustrate that point, an average Chippendale period tilttop would start at $2,000.

 The alteration of this table further demonstrates the increasing rarity of good period pieces in original condition. Quite simply, each day they become scarcer and more difficult to find.

Happy Antiquing!

Lisa and Henry Hull operate Commonwealth Antiques and Appraisals, Inc. at 5150 Jessie DuPont Hwy., 22570 (P. O. Box 35). Wicomico Church, Va. 22570. Write to them or email at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

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