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Antiques Considered - March 3, 2010

A local gentleman recently purchased this lady's work table.  The mahogany veneer was in poor condition, and the piece has been refinished, with the missing veneer having been replaced.  The secondary wood is yellow pine.   He thinks the hardware are replacements, but the casters are original.
This work table dates from the mid-19th century, between 1840 and 1860.  As readers are aware, I usually recommend not refinishing antique furniture, but in this instance, with the need to replace missing veneer, refinishing does not have such a negative effect.  I say that because most individuals would not like having a piece of furniture with chunks of missing veneer in their homes.  In time the sheen of the new finish will dull down and not be so obvious.

Read more: Antiques Considered - March 3, 2010

Antiques Considered - February 24, 2010

A couple from the Middle Peninsula purchased this writing table/desk at an antiques auction in New England.  The wood is mahogany and the finish is original.  Closed, it appears to be a simple desk; opened, it expands to a large writing surface, perhaps suitable for a lawyer’s conference with clients.  They questioned whether it could be a dining table.
Without seeing the piece, I suspect that this is an early 20th-century amalgamation of several motifs, designed primarily for a lawyer’s office.  It is unusual, but also basically impractical.  The cabinet part is too small for the average office worker, be the party an attorney or not, and at the same time the writing surface, although sufficient for a large conference, when opened, makes the use of the cabinet almost impossible.

Read more: Antiques Considered - February 24, 2010

Antiques Considered - February 17, 2010

A family in Poquoson inherited these five English dining chairs, which they brought with them from the Mother Country to Virginia.  The condition is not good, and they need substantial refurbishment.  The family writes that they are weighing the cost of restoration versus the possibility of selling the chairs.
These are Mid-Victorian English chairs, which undoubtedly are survivors of a larger suite that included at least three and possibly seven other chairs and a great extension table.  They date from the 1840s or 1850s, and have as their greatest attribute the fine carving on the front legs.
The cost of restoration will be significant.  As readers are aware, I do not recommend refinishing in most instances, but here the chairs’ appearance makes an exception.  I doubt that the present finish could be saved sufficiently to make the chairs acceptable in most dining rooms.  Obviously, the upholstery calls for replacement.  In all, one could spend $300 per chair in a heartbeat.

Read more: Antiques Considered - February 17, 2010

Antiques Considered - February 10, 2010

A collector from the Eastern Shore inherited these three whippet figurines from an English friend.  She referred to the two sitting ones as a pair, but actually they are two of a kind, in that both face in the same direction, and thus do not complement each other. She asks if they are Staffordshire. The bottoms are unglazed. The sitting two are 5 inches high and the recumbent one is 4 inches long.

Read more: Antiques Considered - February 10, 2010

Antiques Considered - February 3, 2010

Over the many years that I have participated in appraisers’ fairs, I have seen many memorable antiques and collectibles.  At the recent Saint Clement’s Island museum fair a lady came with one of the finest pieces of American Indian pottery I have seen. Her story that went with it was equally captivating.

Read more: Antiques Considered - February 3, 2010

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