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Antiques Considered - August 19, 2009

 altThese two chairs come from a home in New England, and have been in the same family, that of a lady from Virginia, since the nineteenth century.  They retain the original green paint, as well as the original stenciling, which fortunately has not been retouched. Each still is sturdy, and is in daily use.
The chairs date from the period from 1820 to 1840, and most likely are of new Hampshire origin.  Painted furniture flourished in the Granite State, to such an extent that it was a worthy rival of Baltimore, the Queen of American Painted Furniture.
Painting furniture was a way of overcoming the appearance of having used mixed woods in construction.  I suspect that these chairs are composed of pine, maple and hickory.   By painting them, they achieved a uniformity of design.  Also, people could order the painted furniture in the colors they wanted to meet the needs of their décor.
Clearly, these were part of a larger suite of six or eight chairs intended for use in the dining room.  The group also might have included a table, server and sideboard.  Possibly such pieces could have parted company in estate divisions over the years.  The scoring on the legs, and rails, the stenciling on the crests, vase-splat back and front of the seat is excellent, and the green tone is typical of the second quarter of the nineteenth century.
The chairs are worth $450 for the pair, partly because they are in such good condition, but also because they are from a genre, which is particularly high in demand at present.  I suggest keeping them in as close to original condition as possible.  I offer this advice inasmuch as I have seen hundreds of similar pieces which have been stripped by folks who thought they were increasing their value.  These are wonderful pieces of Americana.
Happy Antiquing...

Antiques Considered - August 12, 2009

A piggy bank collector in the Northern Neck recently purchased this one on a business trip at a thrift shop for $1.99.  At the cash register healt received a 15% senior discount.  It is brown pottery, with traces of red underneath.  It is in excellent condition, and shows very little sign of wear.  He considers it to be a great find, and says it was the only good thing he found in the huge store.  He thinks it has one coin inside.
This piggy bank appears to be Pennsylvania redware, and, if so, dates from the mid-nineteenth century.  The modeling and coloration are quite nice, and the condition is astounding.  I say that because piggy banks were not made for lasting beauty, but to encourage children to save change, with the ultimate thought that the bank would be smashed to retrieve the money.
 Sadly, most such banks met that fate, thus decreasing the supply, and, for collectors, thereby increasing the value.  This one appears not to have been used, which accounts for its pristine condition.
Banks have been popular for decades, and good ceramic ones fetch great prices.  This one seems almost too good to be true, with no chips, cracks or other indications of use.  I do not think it is a reproduction, but even if it is, the price was a true bargain.  As a reproduction it is worth $25., but as an original, ten times that amount.
This discovery proves that one never knows what lies around the corner in a rummage shop.  If one is willing to go through the morass of "stuff" hidden treasures might appear, all of which enhances the excitement of the hunt.  From the photograph this item seems to be authentic, and if it is, it was more than worth the effort.
Happy Antiquing...

Antiques Considered - August 5, 2009

altThis overlay cut glass vase comes from an estate in the Northern Neck.  The base color is green, and the thickness is about equal for the green and the white layers.   It still bears a worn old handwritten label from an antique shop indicating it once was priced at $40., but there is no original label or identifying hallmark. The enamel and gold leaf decoration is in fine condition, and the owner wonders if it could have been one of a pair.
Overlay cut glass is quite popular, and this is a very good example of it.   Most such pieces have red or blue as their base colors, but certainly green could not be called rare. At the factory the original green base received a white overlay application, after the firing of which the glasscutter made the marks which reveal the green beneath the white.The question of whether it is American or European is difficult to answer.  British, Italian, Austrian and American glassmakers produced such pieces, but from the overall appearance I would consider it to be American, dating from the early twentieth century, at the latest the 1930s.

Read more: Antiques Considered - August 5, 2009

Antiques Considered - July 29, 2009

altThis antique icebox comes from an estate in the Lower Northern Neck. The wood appears to be chestnut, and the original hardware has been painted shiny black. The interior is in good condition with the original enamel paint and no signs of rust. The wood has been refinished and the label is missing.
The copper drain is intact, but there is no drip pan.
This icebox dates from the early 20th century. From the photographs, it looks to be by Arctic, one of the preeminent manufacturers of iceboxes.

Read more: Antiques Considered - July 29, 2009

Antiques Considered - July 22, 2009

   A writer from the Lower Northern Neck purchased altthis English Regency chest at an antique shop in Alexandria many years ago. It is mahogany, with satinwood inlay and the original ivory escutcheons. Unfortunately, the original hardware, consisting of single center pulls, has been replaced with the present bails. The finish also is not original, and there is a minor piece missing from the top on the right side.

Read more: Antiques Considered - July 22, 2009

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