Q I have a little table or bench, and I’m not sure about these signature marks.
Any help is appreciated.
— N.E., via email
Arts & Crafts History
A You will be delighted to learn that your table as presented in photos is from the fascinating time period of the Arts & Crafts movement, spanning the years of 1880-1910.
In the name of Victorian progress and industrialization at this time, the individual craftsman and his vision for beauty became lost as mass production took over. This movement, which originated in England, was inspired by John Ruskin and William Morris.
Morris condemned mass production and felt the end result was a saturation of decorative items of inferior quality in the marketplace. The movement revived traditional craft techniques and placed the artisan in a position of prestige. This movement emphasized using local materials, with hand craftmanship at the forefront.
Noted Arts & Crafts Artisans
This movement bought about many famous artisans such as Gustav Stickley, Limbart, and Charles Rohlfs for example. Many artisans abounded not only in the United States but also in Europe working as “ craftsmen.”
Your table with its interesting punched design on top — rendered in a stylized pattern — proves very artistic with its many branded initials and date of 1897 on the bottom. Not only did I research “Ness,” which is on the bottom of your Arts & Crafts table, I was also hoping the initial “W” would lead to an artist of that time. Unfortunately, with the proliferation of many individual craftsmen working at that time, your artist remains a mystery. I did notice a paper label that was once adhered to the underside of your table, if you still retain this label, this also could provide more clues as to who actually handmade your table.
In today’s marketplace I would put a conservative estimate on your Arts & Crafts table of $250 to $350. If the craftsman in question perhaps could be identified this would add to the value of your table.
Enamored With Antique Sled
Q I purchased this antique child’s sled and cannot find anything about it. It is 45” long by 15” high at the handle bar, and has a metal brake.
Thank you for anything information you can give me.
— B.W., via email
A This is in regard to the antique child’s sled you purchased and the fact that no information can be found about this particular sled.
You did mention its measurements and the fact that it has a handlebar attached and a metal brake. Based on pictures alone and from researching many other early sleds, I believe your sled to be primitive and a folk art piece. Without any particular name of manufacturer your sled appears to have been modified with the addition of the handlebars and metal brake.
It appears homemade, one of a kind and perhaps, altered for racing a buddy. If you do notice a name on your sled that would most definitely help in identifying it. While doing research I did notice one other primitive metal sled with an attached front rudder in the form of a ski, with two side attached skis. The sled appeared as one of a kind and Victorian.
In regard to value, the demand is extremely high lately in terms of purchasing and collecting vintage sleds. I would put a conservative value on your unique early 1900s sled of between $185 and $225.
About Our Columnist
Susan Mullikin is the owner of Mother and Daughter Vintage Clothing and Antiques. She is also an honors graduate of the Asheford Institute of Antiques. For the last 25 years she has specialized in fine antique garments, textiles, and ladies accessories. She was published as part of a “Child in Fashion 1750-1920”. Her business was honored at George Washington’s birth night ball. She provides conservation, restoration and appraisal services.