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Antiques Considered - June 24, 2009

Until last week this washstand sat in a storage garage in Lancaster County. It has descended through a Lower Northern Neck family, and fortunately has had nothing done to it over the years.  The finish is almost worn off, and the hardware is original. The latter consists of a round iron ring through a brass eyelet against a brass collar. The wood is walnut, and the panels on the doors are birdseye maple. The secondary wood is poplar, and the casters are wooden. The sides are paneled, not solid.
This piece dates from the 1870s, and is likely of Mid-Atlantic origin. If kept well polished, the worn finish should be no problem. The color of the wood is excellent, and I suggest not refinishing it. The diminutive size, at 30 inches wide, would be a plus in an apartment.

Washstands are making a recovery as folks are using them for bars, a form of recycling, I suppose.  The bar tools go in the drawer, and the spirits in the cabinet beneath it. Most that are used as bars have marble tops, thus this one with a wooden top would need protection lest spilled alcohol stain it.
A shop value for this piece would be $200; were the top marble, and the ends solid rather than paneled, the value would be significantly higher.  Although not mentioned in the submission, I am impressed by the pottery milk bowl resting among the other things on the top. It appears to be from the early twentieth century, and depending on the maker, could be worth up to $75. I suggest checking the bottom to see if it has an impressed mark.
The key to preserving this piece in its current value lies in keeping it well waxed. I even shall go so far as to say that one cannot over-wax it.
Happy Antiquing ...
Lisa and Henry Lane Hull operate Commonwealth Antiques and Appraisals, Inc. at 5150 Jessie DuPont Hwy. (P.O.Box 35) Wicomico Church, Virginia 22579, a firm which he founded in 1973. Write to him there, or by e-mail at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. , with pictures and descriptions of items you wish to have him treat in “Antiques Considered.” Please include a stamped, addressed envelope if you wish a personal acknowledgement.

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