Ask Antique Trader: Gent’s stand allowed shaving in style

Q I have this very unusual washstand. I think it is cast iron. I have had it at least 40 years. Can you tell me anything about it? What is it worth? I’ve never seen another like it.
—E.D., Richton, Miss.

A Yes, you have an unusual washstand. In fact it is a gent’s Victorian iron shaving stand. Most likely it dates from the early 20th century circa 1900-1930. If the condition is good the stand should be worth approximately $200.

Q This book is titled Bunyan’s Pilgrims Progress, and was copyright 1894 and 1897 by W.E. Scull. It has more than 100 illustrations designed by Frederick Barnard and others, and is engraved by Daliel Brothers. The book measures 10 inches from top to bottom and is 8 inches wide. It has 327 pages and a color picture on the cover. I want to know if the book is worth anything or if it is an antique. — O.M., Stratford, Wis.

A There were many different volumes of Bunyan’s Pilgrims Progress published between 1894 and 1897. From the photo your book looks like it shows signs of wear. A first edition with a cloth pictorial cover and illustrations by multiple artists sells for $45.

Q I bought this item at an auction. No one there knew what it was. I searched through all my furniture books and took it once to a local appraiser, and he was also stumped. The pyramid shape is just decorative. The inside is a square box. The feet have felt-like material attached. Would you be able to tell me what it is and what it’s worth?     — J.M., Cape May, N.J.

Readers, can you help identify this mystery piece of furniture?

Linda Roberts has 20 years of experience in the antique community and is called upon by attorneys, private collectors, corporate institutions and antique show promoters for her expertise in the appraising field. She is the proprietor of White Orchid Antiques in Media, Pa., and is the current president of the Eastern Pennsylvania chapter of ISA, a member of the Media Business Association and a member in good standing of the Pennsylvania Antiques Dealers Association. Roberts can be reached at White Orchid Appraisals, LLC, 609 West State Street, Media, PA 19063 or at 610-304-7077.


The Great Unknown

Every week, “Ask Antique Trader” receives scores of inquiries from readers, seeking more information about a recent find, a gift from a friend or relative, or an oddity that’s been sitting on a shelf for years.

We pass all of these questions along to our panel of experts, but once in awhile, we get a question about an object that stops us in our tracks. We want to share these unusual treasures with readers in the hope that they’ll offer their opinions and perhaps enlighten us all.

“Ask Antique Trader” will feature these oddities on a regular basis in the print and online editions of the magazine. Send your comments to

I’ve seen many cast-iron picture frames over the years, but never one like this. Instead of the usual scrolls, it has a jack-in-the-pulpit motif. I think it must be quite rare.

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