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Antiques Considered - October 13, 2010

altA retired couple originally from Alexandria purchased this cabinet many years ago.  It is cherry, and, although not old, is made from old wood.  Guests in their home often think it is an antique, the craftsmanship on the piece is of such quality.
This cabinet, or as more popularly called, “hutch”, is in the style of 1820 Pennsylvania, as well as Shenandoah Valley, furniture.  The use of old wood in its making adds to the aura of its being an antique.  The patina is quite good, and the design is excellent.  The market for good reproductions such as this one is quite strong.  The auction price could reach $1,000.
A similar piece in its original condition could go into thousands of dollars.  Here in Virginia Valley pieces bring more than anywhere else.  The similarity with Pennsylvania pieces comes from the similar backgrounds of the early settlers in Western Pennsylvania down through the Shenandoah Valley.

The great burst of creativity in the Valley occurred between 1800 and 1860.  Cabinetmakers produced very fine pieces, many of which were painted.  Normally, if they used pine, the piece was to be painted; if walnut or cherry, the natural appearance remained.
Unfortunately, from the 1940s through the 1970s many fine Valley painted pieces were stripped and refinished.  The result has been that the true authentic pieces have increased tremendously in value, an illustration of the law of supply and demand.  Adam Smith could cite it as an example were he writing THE WEALTH OF NATIONS today.
This hutch ultimately will take on a market of its own as it represents a style that was copied extensively in the last half century, but, of course, it will never reach the heights of the originals.  For the present, enjoy the ruse of having your guests think it is an antique.
Happy Antiquing!

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

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