Q What might be the value of this barber chair? I’ve had it sitting around for almost 50 years.
– B.S., St. Louis, Mo.
A This early barber chair is marked on the footrest by the Theo. Kochs firm, a major maker of barbershop accessories. From the design I would date this chair to about the 1880s or 1890s. It appears to have its original black horsehair upholstery. I have seen other early barber chairs sell for more than $1,000, so I suspect this piece would be valued in that range also.
Q This horsehair bridle was prison made in the 1940s or ’50s. The bit is inlaid and looks to be silver. I’ve had it since 1962 and would love to know more about it.
– H.G., New York, N.Y.
A Your wonderful woven horsehair bridle is a fine piece. My research seems to indicate the style is typical of pieces made in Dear Lodge, Mont., or at the prison in Walla Walla, Wash. The choicest examples of these were made in the early 20th century, but your piece, which features rose-decorated bridle rosettes, is somewhat later, perhaps the 1930s or so. It is still a fine example and I believe could be valued well over $1,000, perhaps in the $2,000-$4,000 range in the right market.
Q I wonder what you will say about my old lamp. This lamp was on a table by the front door of my uncle’s home since I was a small child in the early 1940s. Perhaps it was there before that. The base is wood and carved to appear as cobblestones. The lamplighter is also wood and holds a metal extinguisher in his left arm. I don’t know what kind of wood, but it’s probably a hardwood. It looks like maple to me, at least the color is, as you can see in the picture. The lamp lighter’s right arm is around a metal lamp post that curves down to hold a small bulb (nightlight?) It is turned on by a switch on the base. The shade appears to be imitation leather laced with real leather string, some of which has gotten brittle and broken. Otherwise the lamp is in like-new condition. There are no markings. The lamp measures 26 1/8 inches and the man is 15 3/8 inches. The lamp post is 19 5/8 inches and the base is 7 1/2 inches across. The shade is 8 3/4 inches high and 11 1/4 inches across. I’d like to know who made it, when, and its value. Any other information would also be appreciated.
A Your charming lamp does appear to be a carved wood figure of a Colonial lamp lighter. Without any markings, I can’t tell you much about the origin, but I’m guessing it was made around the 1930s or 1940s when Early Americana decor was very popular. The waxed paper shade may be original. Assuming that it is actually carved from wood and not some sort of wood-grained composition, I’d think it might be valued in the $150-$250 range.