- Last Updated on Wednesday, 27 July 2011 00:00
- Published on Wednesday, 27 July 2011 00:00
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Earlier this month a couple from the Northern Neck traveled out to the western part of the state where they bought this table at an antique shop for $50. One of the front legs is slightly bowed, and the wood is maple, pine and cherry. The drawer is not dovetailed, but is finished with rosehead nails. The buyers think the finish is original. They write asking if the table is worth what they paid for it.
This table is a typical early nineteenth-century example of Shenandoah Valley craftsmanship. It dates from the 1820s and shows the usual mixture of woods that cabinetmakers of that region often used. The bowed leg is not a significant defect, and I suggest not having it corrected. The turnings are excellent, and as to overall quality, this piece is exceptional.
Shenandoah Valley furniture is much in demand, and always generates good bidding at auction. Many of the cabinetmakers there were German immigrants or their descendents, and they produced furniture of distinction. Often they used “lesser” woods such as pine and then painted the pieces decoratively.
Unfortunately, when Valley pieces first were “discovered” by antique dealers and collectors in the mid-twentieth century, many painted pieces were stripped and refinished, thereby greatly diminishing their present-day value.
Regular readers might recall the article I wrote last fall about the pristine Shenandoah Valley hunt board that our firm sold on behalf of a client over the Internet. At the time we had inquiries from as far away as Connecticut. The market for such pieces is quite strong.
This table never had a coat of paint on it, and the mixture of woods is a nice decorative element. It is worth $250. As such, I should be very happy to learn the name of the antique shop that sold it. If it offers similar pieces, it would be worth the trip to stock up on them.