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Antiques Considered - July 17, 2013

A couple of years ago a Kilmarnock couple inherited this oak hall tree.  It retains the original finish and has all of the original brass-plated iron hooks.  The mirror is beveled, and the piece is in excellent condition.  The seat lifts to reveal a place for storing shoes.  As they cannot use it in their home, they are planning to put it on the market, and have asked its value and how to proceed.

This is a nice example of a once-popular item, found in nearly every home.  This one dates from the end of the nineteenth or beginning of the twentieth century.  The condition is extraordinarily good, and the design in its simplicity has definite charm.

Unfortunately, hall trees are not as much in vogue today as they were a generation ago. This one has good lines, and a mirror still serviceable without severe discoloration.  It would work well in a late Victorian or Edwardian house with high ceilings and broad wallspace.  A good retail price would be $250, which means that a dealer would pay at best half of that amount.

  How to proceed with selling it is another question.  If not sold to a dealer, it could be consigned in a shop.  Before so-doing I suggest making clear what the commission would be, and how soon the shop settles with clients after selling their pieces.

A different route would be consigning it to an estate sale where it could piggyback on other items, but remember an estate sale dealer could not bring in a piece that would compete with any items already in the house.

Lastly, e-commerce offers several options, from on-line auctions to merchandising techniques such as Craig’s List, where the exposure would be great, but for a piece so large, the method of shipping and its means of payment should be clearly established at the time of the listing.

This is a good piece, and would be an enhancement to any estate sale or shop display.  The moral is: do not give it away.

Happy Antiquing!

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