- Last Updated on Wednesday, 13 October 2010 00:00
- Published on Wednesday, 13 October 2010 00:00
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A retired couple originally from Alexandria purchased this cabinet many years ago. It is cherry, and, although not old, is made from old wood. Guests in their home often think it is an antique, the craftsmanship on the piece is of such quality.
This cabinet, or as more popularly called, “hutch”, is in the style of 1820 Pennsylvania, as well as Shenandoah Valley, furniture. The use of old wood in its making adds to the aura of its being an antique. The patina is quite good, and the design is excellent. The market for good reproductions such as this one is quite strong. The auction price could reach $1,000.
A similar piece in its original condition could go into thousands of dollars. Here in Virginia Valley pieces bring more than anywhere else. The similarity with Pennsylvania pieces comes from the similar backgrounds of the early settlers in Western Pennsylvania down through the Shenandoah Valley.
- Last Updated on Wednesday, 06 October 2010 00:00
- Published on Wednesday, 06 October 2010 00:00
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This pine desk dates from the mid-nineteenth century. The owners purchased it at an antique shop in Pennsylvania many years ago. It already had been refinished, but the knob and hinges are original. The top contains an inkwell, and the doors are held together with mortise and tenon construction.
The interior below the writing surface has the traditional segmented sections for letters and writing tools, and the cabinet below is plain. Structurally, it is in excellent condition, and is finished on the back, thus it can be displayed with all four sides visible.
- Last Updated on Wednesday, 29 September 2010 15:06
- Published on Wednesday, 29 September 2010 15:06
- Hits: 705
A couple bought this set of 12 English dinner plates three years ago at an estate sale. They paid $120 for the set, or $10 apiece. All are perfect, and the decoration is neither faded nor worn. They bear no identifying marks. The couple would like to know if the plates were worth the money, and who made them.
The answer is definitely yes. These are excellent quality Staffordshire, dating from the mid-19th century. The decoration is similar to Gaudy Welsh or Gaudy Dutch, with brilliant colors of rust, indigo, cobalt and green. Plates of this quality and number are few and far between on the market. To have so many in perfect condition is even more remarkable.
- Last Updated on Saturday, 05 January 2013 19:08
- Published on Wednesday, 22 September 2010 05:00
- Hits: 723
Members of a family in the lower Northern Neck have had this stoneware crock for many years. It bears no mark of origin, and sadly has a large chip on the rim and a severe crack running the length of one side. They question whether it could be from one of the Shenandoah or Alexandria potteries. The blue flowers are vibrant, and they go completely around the upper part of the crock.
This piece dates from the 1870's, and is a nice example of the stoneware of that period. Unfortunately, the cip, and even more the crack, seriously deplete its value. Perfect, it would be worth $250, but as is , it is largely a decorative piece, unless it could be fitted to make a lamp out of it, and its value is well less than $100. Even with the chip and crack if the piece bore the imprint of Solomon or Jonathan Bell from the Valley, or one of Milburns or another of the Alexandria potters, the value would be significantly higher. That much stated, the crock has good lines and good decoration.
- Last Updated on Wednesday, 08 September 2010 05:00
- Published on Wednesday, 08 September 2010 05:00
- Hits: 770
Perhaps prompted by the column on the New Deal mug several weeks ago, a writer from King George tells the interesting story that a relative brought these two mugs home from the Elks Lodge in Stanardsville, Virginia after partying at a social over fifty years ago. They have remained in the family thereafter. She is considering donating them to the historical society there.
These two mugs are highly collectible. They are a porous form of pottery with glazing inside and out. They come from that more refined, pre-plastic age when America both produced and used quality items. In addition, they have good decorative value, and probably do not have lead in the glaze, always an important consideration. I can speculate that they came from a factory in Ohio or West Virginia, in both of which places this type of ware was a staple of production.
Any pieces relating to the history of service organizations immediately draw a directed following, whether on e-Bay or in a live auction. Although such items often do not command high prices, they remain popular with their own set of fans. Particularly in the case of The Elks, the camaraderie is strong, and members thrive on tales of their club’s history.
I can remember Elks in my childhood wearing their watch fobs with the elk’s tooth set in gold, a symbol that set them apart from members of other fraternal groups. In Washington the Elks Lodge was one of the most prestigious buildings on K Street; later the club moved it several blocks to a new location, but preserved the structure.
As the mugs are worth $45 each, they remain affordable for folks with relatives who were in the Elks organization, as well as for collectors of mugs and other forms of pottery. Were they mine, I should keep them as part of family lore, an aspect of their history that would fade away if donated.