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Antiques Considered - December 31, 2008

This Victorian walnut étagère comes from an estate.  It was purchased many years ago, and now is on the market once again to settle the estate.  Minor damage exists on some of the woodwork, and the original half-turtleback marbletop is missing.  The finish is original, and in good condition.
This piece dates from the period immediately before the War Between the States, It is a nice example of the style that predominated in the 1840s and 1850s.  I suspect it is of Northern manufacture, and comes from a cabinet shop, rather than having been made by an individual craftsman.
The tone of the wood is excellent, and the patina seems to be fine.  The broken pieces of wood can be repaired easily and inexpensively if all of the components are still on hand.  The big loss is the marbletop, which could be quite costly to reproduce, yet without it the piece is a fragment of what it once was.
I suggest inquiring from a reputable marble company as to the types of marble available, and the cost of cutting and fitting it into the top.  Inasmuch as the original section is missing, whatever color marble one chooses would work, providing, that is, that the choice is consistent with what would have been used in 1850.  The greatest cost is going to come from having an ogee bevel carved around the edge, if the repair is to be successful, that is a must.
• 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.  The appraisal service began in 1976.  Write to him there,  or by e-mail at comantqu @ crosslink.net, 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. Snapshots once sent on to the JOURNAL for publication, cannot be returned.

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