Tue09022014

Last updateWed, 19 Nov 2014 8pm

   2014 39.95 HSD w VIDor PH-Banner2-500-x-125

Antiques Considered - April 22, 2009

   This week we have an inquiry about an antique jug which has been in a family for many years.  It is marked, "John Ahern & Co. Alexandria, Va."  It has no chips or cracks, and appears to be in original condition.
   This stoneware crock dates from the late nineteenth or early twentieth century.  It is of later vintage than the gray, brown and green ones, which have the elaborate blue floral and geometric decorations.  Those pieces, which largely come from the Shenandoah Valley, bring the high prices.  These tan types, with the brown upper sections, and attractive, but command far lower prices.
   The big question concerns John Ahern.  He could be either a merchant in Alexandria, who used this to bottle his product for retail sales, or he could be the potter himself.  Alexandria had a significant stoneware manufacturing era, and crocks and jugs bearing the city's name are uniformly expensive in today's market, but again, I am referring to the ones with the blue decorations.
   This tan and brown jug, with the stenciled name, is worth $85.  A knowledgeable collector might go higher if trying to complete a set. Regionalism plays a vital role here in that as with all antiques, pieces are worth more in the area where they were made.
   Stoneware is one of the most popular collectibles.  As a child my parents would take me up in the Shenandoah Valley where they would buy wonderful old pieces for merely a couple of dollars.  Those days are ancient history now with some auction houses even offering sales exclusively devoted to crocks and jugs.  Judging from the way they have appreciated over the last thirty years, I would say that good stoneware crocks and jugs are among the best investment quality antiques one can buy, but always remember that chips and cracks eviscerate the value.  The moral of the story is to buy good ones.

Antiques Considered - April 15, 2009

   This humpback steamer trunk belongs to a lady in Fredericksburg.  It appears to have the original finish, and the metal banding is in good shape.  The leather handles are gone, but the clasps that held them ate still in place.  The inner tray is missing, but the rest of the paper finish is in tact.  The lock does not work.
This trunk dates from the last quarter of the nineteenth century.  It is American, probably from the Midwest.  The term, "steamer trunk" derives from its utilitarian purpose of carrying a traveler's possessions on a steamboat.  Perhaps a careful examination might show a manufacturer's label or stamp, or shipping labels from its days of practical service.
   Humpbacks always have been popular, and usually sell for several times those with the flat tops, although the latter make good coffee tables, and are excellent for storing children's toys in a TV room setting.
   As the finish is in good shape, the trunk appears only to need new handles, a lock and a replacement tray.  Trunks are a genre of their own, and a quick browse of the Internet will offer the names of numerous suppliers where one can locate the replacements for the missing parts.
    A capable carpenter should be able to make a tray inexpensively.  I suggest using white pine for it, and then papering it with a design compatible with that of the rest of the interior of the trunk.
   This particular one, without the strap handles, lock and tray, is worth $100.   Repairs to those areas would increase its value to $250.  Several years ago we sold a magnificently restored humpback trunk for a client, and it brought $350.  As I noted above, they are hot items, and this one is well worth the cost and effort of restoration.
   In years past the Northern Neck was a good place to find trunks, as a great many of them came here in the glorious days of the Potomac and Rappahannock River steamboats.  Today, most of those items have been identified and in many cases purchased by collectors, and now are prized possessions in folks' homes.

• Lisa and Henry Lane Hull operate Commonwealth Antiques and Appraisals, Inc. at 5150 Jessie DuPont  Hwy. (P.O.Box 35) Wicomico Church, Virginia 22579, a firm which he founded in 1973.  The appraisal service began in 1976.  Write to him there,  or by e-mail at comantqu @ crosslink.net, with pictures and descriptions of items you wish to have him treat in "Antiques Considered."  Please include a stamped, addressed envelope if you wish a personal acknowledgement.

Antiques Considered - April 8, 2009

    This past weekend our firm conducted an estate sale near Wicomico Church.  In it one of the pieces we offered was this small oak desk, which we priced at $150.  It dates from the late nineteenth century to the early twentieth century, and is in excellent condition, still retaining its original oak pulls.   Many years ago the late owner had it refinished, and it still bears some of the spilled ink stains from the days when folks used inkwells, and wrote with fountain pens.
Oak furniture is coming back into its own as far as popularity is concerned.  In the 1940s people gave it away, only to rue their actions thirty years later.  When oak was rediscovered, especially among younger buyers, it hit the market with a storm.  That level of interest has continued unabated over the last generation, and remains strong today.
This desk proved to be a hot item, which generated much interest throughout the sale, and it sold on Sunday for slightly over $100.  The lines are simple and direct, and there is no embellishment such as carving or ornamentation.  Pieces which are more elaborate bring far higher prices.  Actually the arrival of oak on the market in the last decades of the nineteenth century facilitated the arrival of an antiques trade in
America because it became an instant rage, causing many people to discard their Victorian, Empire, and earlier styles to go "modern."
Those pieces became collectible antiques.   I recall many years ago visiting an Ante Bellum home in Alabama, and finding everything to be Empire mahogany.  The owner informed me that after the War Between the States her family was too poor to buy oak, and thus the great Empire pieces had remained in her home throughout the generations.
Today all phases of the past are popular, and for those newer generation buyers find oak particularly appealing, as this desk proved over the past weekend.
• Lisa  and Henry Lane Hull operate Commonwealth Antiques and Appraisals, Inc. at 5150 Jessie DuPont  Hwy. (P.O.Box 35) Wicomico Church, Virginia 22579, a firm which he founded in 1973.  The appraisal service began in 1976.  Write to him there,  or by e-mail at comantqu @ crosslink.net, with pictures and descriptions of items you wish to have him treat in "Antiques Considered."  Please include a stamped, addressed envelope if you wish a personal acknowledgement.
 

Antiques Considered - March 25, 2009

Many years ago a gentleman in the Northern Neck received this tramp art shelf from a prominent community leader, who told him that it had come down through his family.  It is made of wooden sewing spools and pieces of orange crates.  Many years ago it was stained, possibly when it first was made.
This hanging shelf is difficult to date.  It probably comes from the late nineteenth century, or the early years of the twentieth.  It represents the typical homemade art of that period, composed of found objects, and assembled by amateur craftsmen.
Hobo, or Tramp, Art has become quite popular in recent years.  The name comes from the idea that hoboes, having no money, made things from found objects, which they in turn sold for very little money in order to obtain the necessities of life.   These were indigenous craftsmen who were unemployed, and literally living from hand to mouth.
Some of them were so talented that their works inspired cabinetmakers and artisans to make new pieces patterned after the work of the hoboes.   If one looks at a piece of tramp art, normally the difference in the level of sophistication is apparent.  In other words, one can tell if the piece originated with a genuine, certified hobo.  If so, the value is higher.
This shelf is interesting for both its composition, and its recycling of found objects, such as the thread spools and the orange crate boards.  The value of the piece also comes from its fine condition.  Often pieces of hobo art received rough handling and wound up getting broken.  This piece is worth $75.  I suggest writing its provenance on the bottom of one of the shelves, thereby documenting its local origin.  I have witnessed countless incidents whereby family lore was lost, of left undocumented, thus eliminating a significant part of an antique's history.
• Lisa  and Henry Lane Hull operate Commonwealth Antiques and Appraisals, Inc. at 5150 Jessie DuPont  Hwy. (P.O.Box 35) Wicomico Church, Virginia 22579, a firm which he founded in 1973.  The appraisal service began in 1976.  Write to him there,  or by e-mail at comantqu @ crosslink.net, with pictures and descriptions of items you wish to have him treat in "Antiques Considered."  Please include a stamped, addressed envelope if you wish a personal acknowledgement.
 

Antiques Considered - March 11, 2009


A writer from Northumberland County asks about this spool cabinet which his mother bought at an antique shop in Sandy Spring, Maryland, about 60 years ago, for a price of $30.  Much later she had it re-finished, otherwise remains as she purchased it.  The wood appears to be maple and pine, and the knobs are original.
This is a fine example of store furnishings.  The cabinet was both the container of and display for Clark's sewing thread in a dry goods store which sold their products.  It dates from the 1880s, and looks to be in great condition.
Unfortunately, the four etched glass draw-front signs denoting the contents of each are gone.  I suspect individual ones might be available through the internet.  If so, I recommend replacing them to make the piece complete.  Sadly, many of these cabinets lost the glass signage when inexperienced antiques afficianados thought they were making improvements by removing them.
Almost certainly, the legs are not original, rather likely having been added to allow the piece to serve in a private home.  In the stores, such pieces rested on the countertops, but the legs do not hurt the piece, and make it more serviceable.  Today these cabinets often are used as silver chests in dining rooms, as the small drawers work well for storing silver flatware.
I hope all of the writer's mother's investments were as successful as the purchase of this spool cabinet.  Today it would be worth $300, and the family has had the use of it all these years that it has appreciated in value. The re-finishing probably did not add to the value, but these are such popular items that it also probably did not hurt the value.
Again, the best course to take would be to pursue getting the glass panels for the drawerfronts, thereby returning the cabinet to a more pristine condition.
• Lisa  and Henry Lane Hull operate Commonwealth Antiques and Appraisals, Inc. at 5150 Jessie DuPont  Hwy. (P.O.Box 35) Wicomico Church, Virginia 22579, a firm which he founded in 1973.  
The appraisal service began in 1976.  Write to him there,  or by e-mail at comantqu @ crosslink.net, with pictures and descriptions of items you wish to have him treat in "Antiques Considered."  Please include a stamped, addressed envelope if you wish a personal acknowledgement.
 

201407chamber

 

201408source

 

201401kgpr

Contact Us

The Journal Press, Inc. P. O. Box 409, 10250 Kings Hwy. King George, VA 22485

EditorialAdvertisingOffice
Jessica Herrink, Publisher

This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
Carla Gutridge
540-709-7061
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
Leonard Banks, Production
540-469-4196
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
Leonard Banks, Sports editor
540-469-4196
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
Steve Detwiler
540-709-7288
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
Drue Murray
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
Phyllis Cook
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
Charlene Franks
540-709-7075
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
Linda Farneth,
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
Elizabeth Foreman,
540-709-7076
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
Charlene Franks, Accounts
540-709-7075
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
Richard Leggitt
540-993-7460
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
Bonnie Gouvisis
540-775-2024
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
Lori Deem, Church & Community
540-709-7495
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
Advertising Information
540-775-2024
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
Jessica Herrink
540-469-4031
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Journal Print Shop

Contact Steve Detwiler

This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

540-709-7288 • 540-775-2024

Quikey

Bulletline

link4

Your Invitation Place

Balloon House