Antique immigrant chest--rosemaled--Wax??

jwats612August 11, 2013

Good evening,

I purchased an old painted immigrant trunk--dated 1851, with wonderful rosemaling. I want to use a high quality paste wax to add luster and preserve the wood. I have had good luck with Briwax. Sorry the picture is so horrible, but it gives you a rough idea

Is there any reason that this would be a stupid thing to do?

I have done it in past with similar trunks
" Thanks
' John

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jwats612

Here is a better photograph..Wondering how it should best be cleaned , before applying paste wax..assuming that would cause no harm..is Bri wax as good as any?

Thanks in advance for your help

John

    Bookmark   August 12, 2013 at 9:41AM
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jwats612

bumping to the top,hoping to get comments!~

Thanks

    Bookmark   August 13, 2013 at 1:43PM
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jwats612

bumping to the top,hoping to get comments!~

Thanks

    Bookmark   August 13, 2013 at 1:56PM
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triciae

John,

I've deliberately not commented because I've seen so many of these painted and dated chests that were fakes. Originals were extremely popular in the 1985-1997 era. When something is as hugely desired as these chests were - it sometimes brings out the worst in people. So, I'm not saying, or even implying, your chest is a fake. But, what I am saying is that without being there to go over it with a fine tooth comb I'm unwilling to stick my neck out and make any recommendations as to how to handle cleaning. If it were mine, I'd take it to a reputable antique dealer and have them advise you. If it's all original (by that I mean the paint) it's worth your time/effort. If it's not original, you've not wasted time/effort on a piece with little value. Gosh, I sound like a phooey. Probably, I should have keep my mouth shut. :(

/tricia

    Bookmark   August 13, 2013 at 2:33PM
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jwats612

Tricia

Thank you! I bought it from the original family,so I believe it to be authentic...even came with original key...which weighs about a pound.

Wondering if I should have gotten a statement or history from them

I paid $500, any idea of value. ?

Thanks again

    Bookmark   August 13, 2013 at 3:22PM
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triciae

John,

Those keys are a dime a dozen, unfortunately, so don't let that sway you one way or another. Many antique dealers have huge rings full of them that they shuffle through until they find one that fits their immediate need. :(

Yes, you should have gotten provenance although that also wouldn't have been definitive. But, you should have gotten it anyway. Lesson learned for next time. :)

What's it worth? Loaded question. I live in New England. Back in the heyday of these chests - one "painted" such as yours could have gone for $2,000-$6,000 at auction depending on design elements and, of course, the prized "date". Real painted chests are, of course, still highly collectible. The difference is, today, collectors are your primary market 'cause homeowners have moved on to the Pottery Barn look and country is as out as is possible for a decorating style to get and the chest also takes up a considerable room footprint.

If the paint isn't original - it's worth about $75-$150 in my area where these chests are relatively common. If the paint is original - at auction, it could bring $750-$3,000 depending on whether you had collectors or dealers attending. I think the upper end would need to be at a well known auction house along the I-95 corridor (Philly, NYC, DC, Newport, Boston, Portsmouth, Portland, etc.). I wouldn't pay over $1,000-$1,500.

Remember when dry painted blanket chests were on everybody's "must have" list? Chests such as yours fall in the same category. They're bringing about 1/3 to 1/2 of what they did ten to fifteen years ago. Although that isn't always true. Last year, I attended an auction 1/2 mile from our home that did well. Provenance was well known. Large mariner family still living in the original c. 1845 home. It was an onsite auction and a green dry paint (no decoration) chest, my memory is that it was a blanket chest...I'll look to see if I have a picture...went for about $16,000. Known provenance makes a huge difference.

Get somebody to take a look at that paint. On my monitor - it looks to bright to be original to the chest and I would expect to see a few areas of VERY worn paint and in your picture - I don't.

I'll go see if I have any pixs from that auction I noted...

/tricia

    Bookmark   August 13, 2013 at 4:20PM
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triciae

Here are a couple of that $16,000 chest...

This blanket chest is circa second half eighteenth century so it's older than yours.

/tricia

    Bookmark   August 13, 2013 at 4:32PM
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jwats612

Tricia and all,

Thanks for the thoughtful and helpful replies

Here is picture of the top ,, showing well worn and faded paint..very different that sides and front

Fortunately, I bought it because I like it, so value is not a huge consideration..and $500 is a modest sum--just curious

John

    Bookmark   August 15, 2013 at 12:58PM
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triciae

That's more what I'd expected to see, John.

/tricia

    Bookmark   August 15, 2013 at 5:38PM
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