Ask Antique Trader: Mirror-Mirror, lovely and tall …

bamboo-style mirrorQ
This mirror is one of eight matching pieces to a bedroom set that I inherited. A bed, chair, table, dresser/attached mirror, night table, cabinet and lamp. Everything is in near perfect condition. – D.N., Neptune, N.J.

A Mirror frames change with fashion, the Oriental exhibits at the 1876 Centennial Exhibition in Philadelphia swarmed with visitors that had never seen bamboo before. Overnight, items were marketed, some real and some imitation. Your ‘turned-wood’ bedroom set only simulates bamboo, known as bamboo taste or style. The artificial graining process produced beautiful furniture. One can only imagine how wonderful your entire set is.

By 1900 the style had passed its popularity. Cheval mirrors are slender and on a frame-stand with adjustable tilt allowing any height person to view their costumes. The name is derived from the mechanism controlling the position known as a horse. Your beautiful Victorian mirror is in excellent condition with a value of $850.

FYI: Quality bamboo furniture usually has wicker-wound joints.

The looking-glass dates back to the 1600s. Venetian craftsmen discovered that mercury and tin produced a silvered surface on glass. Only the very rich could afford this luxury.

Q I’m curious about this mirror. The hardware is marked metric and the lamps are double-wicked. – L.B.R., Walla Walla, Wash.

A This vertical shape knob frame is made of brass and enameled copper. The dowel string lines have minimal cresting with top corner female masks. Awe-inspiring are the pair of kerosene lamps with frosted and etched cranberry glass shades. Wing-nuts are attached to the branch arms that allow the lamps to be lowered to add fuel and adjust the height of illumination. Double wicks would make you look oh-so-good in a dimly lit foyer. The value of your stunning European wall mirror is right at $1,400-$1,800.

Q I cannot find a name on this hall tree, I know it to be over 100 years old. – B.W.G., West Monroe, La.

A A new category of decorative arts emerged when mirrors were no longer for dressing rooms only but were promoted to other parts of the house. Entry room closets were unheard of and hall trees were one of the most utilitarian pieces of furniture every designed for the modern homes of the late 1800s. It would have an overhanging lift seat with storage for outerwear, a place to sit and remove boots, plus it would beautify your entrance. Thousands of hall trees were manufactured and one Chicago firm claimed 65 choices of hall or hat trees. Some had paper labels, but most were marked only on the back with chalk, then transported to destinations by rail-freight. Your lovely piece has fleur-de-lis garland surrounding the oval beveled mirror and ornate wrought-iron hooks swivel to accommodate four ladies or gents hats. Golden-oak still shines through the patina of the original shellac. Valued at $1,300.

Barbara J. Eash, a member of The Certified Appraisers Guild of America, likes to say, “Antiques are memories that you can touch with your hand.” While living in Tennessee Eash coordinated the annual NBC Channel 3 appraisal fair and was known as the Chattanooga Antiques Lady. She has managed two antique shops, and has appraised for TV shows, clinics and in court. Now living in Wisconsin, she chairs Milwaukee Public Television’s annual appraisal fair. Her two office locations are in antiques shops in Waukesha and New Berlin, Wis.

Contact Antique Trader: Send your questions and photos via e-mail (preferred) to, or mail to Ask Antique Trader, 700 East State St., Iola, WI 54945. Click here for more details and image requirements.