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Antiques Considered - June 19, 2013

These two Victorian side chairs belong to a lady in the Northern Neck.  They are walnut, and recently the owner had them refinished and recaned.  The caning is hand-caning, rather than pressed caning. They are sturdy and in excellent condition.


Victorian pieces are not as popular as they were a few years ago.  Between the recession and the change in tastes, they do not command the prices they once did.  The one on the left, with the lower arms, is the better of the two.  It reflects the design influence of Charles Eastlake with the intaglio carving.   It is worth $90.

The chair on the right is more common, and lacks the sophistication of the other.  It is worth $75.  Im both of these instances I am certain that the values I am quoting are less than the cost of having the chairs recaned.  I recently had two of my grandparents’ oak side chairs from their Victorian home at Colonial Beach recaned for a cost several times what they are worth, in which case sentiment prevailed, and I gladly spent the money.

As investments, recaning such pieces unfortunately is not cost-effective.  Many people install pressed caning, that is a caned mat from a factory, which is cut to fit the size of the chair, and then glued down with a rim attached at the end.  The difference between hand-caning and pressed cane is obvious, and the cost difference is substantial.  Caning chairs such as these by hand probably would run over $100 each, whereas pressed caning would be a small fraction of that amount.

The Northern Neck has several excellent chair caners whose is work is artistic as well as practical.  They charge by the hole, and the cost can run from $1 to $2 per hole.  A chair with over 100 holes can be expensive, but as in my case, for sentiment, it is worth the cost.   Happy Antiquing!

Henry Lane Hull and his wife, Lisa, own and operate Commonwealth Antiques & Appraisals, Inc., P.O. Box 35, Wicomico Church, VA 22579. You may reach them at 804.580.3301 or 804.580.0514. Or email them at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

 

 

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