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Antiques Considered - June 2, 2010

An old Northern Neck family has owned this armoire for several generations.  It was from their family home, and had been stored in an area without climate control.  The result was a heavily aligatored finish that the owners did not want in their immaculate home.  Before the restoration they could not be certain as to what wood it was, the finish had deteriorated so badly. It turned out to be a naturally dark oak.  They had a refinisher do the piece over, and today it is the closet in their guest room.
This armoire dates from the 1880s, and is an excellent example of its genre.  Happily this one has not been converted into an entertainment center, a process that often can reduce the value.   The veneering on the door panels is quite good, and the cornice has fine architectural features.  The sides are paneled, not solid, and the hardware may not be original.  I cannot tell from the photograph.
The likelihood that the piece is from a Baltimore furniture factory is high.  It dates from the heyday of the steamboat era, and well could have come to the Northern Neck disassembled by boat on order from one of the ancestors.  Almost all Victorian armoires of this type can be disassembled and packed in a crate.

I recall one that our family has, which my father was moving in the trunk of his car many years ago.  On a wide turn the cabinet fell out of the trunk, landing all in pieces. Fortunately, all the pieces survived, and we were able to put it back together with no difficulty.  These pieces are held together by mortising and by pins, all of which fit intermesh to form a tight piece of furniture.
This one is worth $1,500, and is a handsome piece of furniture.
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 there or e-mail to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

 

 

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