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Antiques Considered - January 25, 2012

A gentleman in Richmond County purchased this chest from an antique dealer in Lottsburg, in Northumberland County, about 25 years ago for $175. The dealer told him that it had come in a container shipment from Denmark. Other than polishing it, the owner has done nothing to the piece.

This piece dates from the late nineteenth or early twentieth century. The design is typical of the work of German or Scandinavian cabinet shops from that period, the style is a form of Renaissance Revival.

The wood appears to be walnut with interesting marquetry using other wood veneers in the panels flanking the

central carved scene. That carved central panel, depicting three people in Renaissance-motif attire, shows good sophistication, and the large bun feet are well-turned.

The interior cabinet has shelves, and the bottom level has three drawers. The wood tone indicates that indeed the finish is original. As an antique the piece is of far greater value than the purchase price, and in this case, an antique can be practical as well as attractive.

Today the chest is worth $1200; in an urban market where one would find more attention being paid to continental furnishings, the value could be even greater. German and Scandinavian antiques are more popular in such places where descendents of people of those nationalities are more abundant, than in rural areas where traditional British and American styles continue to be dominant in the market.

Nationally, the increasing number of catalog auctions is a good sign of the rising interest in continental pieces. With  the faltering economy the market for importing container shipments has declined appreciably, I recall the time when Tidewater Virginia was awash with the arrival of containers filled with all sorts of European antiquities, but at present those days are in abeyance. The owner of this chest was fortunate to have profited from that earlier surge of importation.

Happy Antiquing!

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

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