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Ask the Experts: Value of bedroom furniture rests on its usability

In his latest Ask the Experts assessment, Dr. G. Marchelos offers insight about a selection of bedroom furniture with value steeped largely in usability.

Bedroom Furniture Assessment


Would-be antique bedroom furniture is actually modern, says Dr. G.

Q I have what I believe is a set of antique bedroom furniture and I am looking to find who the maker is. I also need to know if it will be considered “regular” furniture for insurance or if it needs to be insured as a specific value. Its the armoire, dresser (I have the two mirrors, just not pictured), and the nightstand. I looked up the oak tree on the side but all I came up with is that a lot of Amish use the oak tree. Thank you in advance.

— J.B., via email

A J.B. sent photos of her three pieces of “antique” bedroom furniture. Unfortunately, this is bedroom furniture of recent production in a factory and is not antique. The design is essentially Chippendale with bat wind back plates on brass pulls, etc. There are quite a few companies now using the Amish identification in their furniture because it generally indicates well-made items. The photos sent do not include a bed, so the set is probably incomplete.

While lovely to look at and great to use, the retail value is that of used furniture and would not be very high. Additionally, there is some damage from moving the three pieces around from place to place or room to room.

Desk is Mixture of Styles

Q I am trying to find out what kind of desk I have and how old it is.
— J.H., via email

A J.H. sent photos of her desk, asking what kind it is and the value. This desk is from the late 19th century to early 20th century and is a mixture of Chippendale and William and Mary styles. This was popular in that time period. The desk was factory made with appliqués added for style. This desk has seen heavy usage and is not in the best of condition, although the finish appears to be the original. It would have been better if an image of the dovetails had been sent because they would show modern production as opposed to hand cut dovetails. A tag may be present somewhere in the kneehole or in one of the drawers on each side. Quite a bit of this type of furniture as made in Grand Rapids, but the tag would tell the tale.


About our columnist:
Dr. G. Marchelos is an honors graduate and certified appraiser of the Asheford Institute of Antiques. Additionally, Dr. Marchelos has a PhD in history, is a professor of antiquities at the University of Alabama, and is a nationally recognized appraiser working for both private and public institutions across North America. Dr. Marchelos is also a well established antiques dealer, operating both in the U.S. and Europe.

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