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Antiques Considered - June 11, 2014

The owner of this “house” does not know its age or origin. He purchased it at a recent estate sale for $50.  An old note inside indicated that it was made from a mailbox, but un-fortunately, the note was not dated. The interior, which is not divided into rooms, is not painted, and appears to be pine. The entire front is a door, which hinges on the left. He asks if the house is considered a “primitive?”
The definition of “primitive” varies greatly. Normally, it refers to an object or painting done by an unschooled artisan, an item that is at least 100 years old. Accepting that meaning, this piece probably is not primitive.

If we consider it to have been handmade, and produced as a one-of-a-kind object, we loosely could term it a “modern primitive”, as it does not appear to have been made over a century ago.

Regardless of the age, it was a successful purchase for $50.  The workmanship is quite good, and the painting is well executed. In shops that specialize in this type of more modern artwork, it would be priced several times that amount.
I suggest looking intently for a signature.  I should think that the person who made it might have left a signature somewhere. I am interested as to how in its former life it could have been a mailbox, as it seems too large and bulky for such a purpose.

Unfortunately, it remains a mystery, and probably will unless a maker or date can be found. The purpose is also in question.  With an undivided interior, it is not a dollhouse, indicating it possibly served for a type of storage. Should it prove to be an older piece that has been repainted, the value could increase significantly.

Henry Lane Hull and his wife, Lisa, operate Commonwealth Antiques and Appraisals, Inc. at 5150 Jessie duPont Hwy. in Wicomico Church, VA.  Write to P.O. Box 35, Wicomico Church, VA 22579 or e-mail questions to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..">This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Happy Antiquing!

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