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Antiques Considered - March 30, 2011

 A local gentleman inherited this Victorian marbletop chest from his mother, who acquired it at an antique shop.  The wood is walnut with the center panels being in burl veneer.  It has what appears to be the original hardware and the marble is in excellent condition.  The casters also appear to be original, but the owner is uncertain as to the age of the present finish.  The piece exhibits no traces of having had an attached mirror and frame.

 The maker of this chest either left shortly after constructing it to fight in the War Between the States, or completed it soon after his return at War’s end.  In other words, it dates from the 1850s or late 1860s.  Undoubtedly, it was part of a large bedroom suite that probably consisted of a double bed, washstand, mirrored dresser, and armoire.


Today the piece is worth $325; if still intact, the entire set would be worth $1,500.  Over the last 40 years I have seen countless separated suites, which is regrettable in that the value and artistry are decimated by breaking them apart.

 This chest is a useful piece in many respects.  It can serve next to a bed, where the marble top would allow the occupant of the bed a place to set a glass of water at night without fear of leaving a ring or stain by morning.  The drawers are copious, and offer good storage space.   If the finish is not original, it clearly is old, and presents a nice patina.

Victorian pieces are down in value at present, indeed as most antiques are.  I always advise clients to remember that antiques are commodities, and fluctuate with the times and the prevailing tastes.  Victorian furniture was more popular a generation ago than it is today, but its heyday will return in the same manner that the larger economy itself is cyclical.  In the meantime, this is a nice, useful piece to enjoy. 
 
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 e-mail at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

 

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