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Antiques Considered - July 8, 2009

This étagère comes from a family in New Kent County.  It has an ornately beveled mirror and retains its original finish.  A granddaughter recently inherited it from her grandmother's house, which contained a number of fine antiques.
This piece dates from the late nineteenth or early twentieth century.  It is either late Victorian or early Edwardian.  It is a typical parlor piece of that era.
 A stenciled factory label or shipping document on the back might reveal where it was made, but most likely all we can say is that it is possibly of mid-Atlantic origin.  The tone of the wood indicates that it has received excellent care, and the mirror is a true gem.  The lines are well proportioned, and with so much shelf space, it is quite serviceable.

Etageres are popular at present, whereas a generation ago they were difficult to sell, but that was the time when Victorian was in disfavor as far as popular taste was concerned.  Ones which are closed in by glass sell better, as the objects they contain do not have to be dusted regularly.  Open types such as this one, although beautiful in form, require frequent attention to the things they display, both with respect to dusting and washing.
In addition, the objects can "walk', should the house be near a sonic boom area, or on a highway with trucks rumbling by, thereby causing the house to shake, with the items displayed "inching" towards the edge.  I note that these shelves have no lip to keep the objects from falling off the edges.
This example is worth $350.  High Victorian types are worth significantly more, and command good prices at auction.  The diminutive size of this one makes it especially attractive to folks who live in apartments, or other confined quarters.
Happy Antiquing...

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