Monday, August 3

It's Just Stuff

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dresserConnie Sue,

We’ve been told that this piece is an étagère. It stands 67 inches high and is 54 inches wide and 12 inches deep. It was purchased at an estate auction by my father-in-law in the early 1960s.

I’m not sure what the wood is. I could find no markings or labels on it anywhere. As you can see, it is very ornate, and the craftsmanship is superb. The upper mirror is U-shaped, and the lower mirror is rectangular. On the left side beneath the bank of three drawers are two glass doors. Both mirrors and the glass in the doors are beveled.

Some features are asymmetrical, with trimmings and carvings completely different on one side from the other. There are a total of seven drawers, each well dovetailed by hand from solid hardwood, not laminate. The drawer pulls seem to be the original, held by square nuts.

I was hoping you could tell me when and where it was made and, of course, what it might be worth.

Thank you,
Tom, Waverly


Your circa-1890, Aesthetic Movement, Victorian étagère was made to delight the eye with unpredictable decoration and spaces. As an object of art, the viewer is encouraged to dance-glance around the piece looking for, but not finding, logic in the design. The Aesthetic Movement was introduced as a snub to standardized, mass-produced furniture. Similar pieces sell at auction for $400 to $1,400. Many people may be frustrated that such a large piece offers so little display space. I’m glad that you “get it.” It’s French.

headDear Connie,

My mother passed down a lady’s head vase/planter that I believe she acquired sometime in the 1950s. The lady’s head is in excellent condition with earrings, a pearl necklace and long eyelashes. It is stamped “Japan” on the bottom with no other names or any numbers.

I was wondering if it had a financial value along with the sentimental value. Can you help me with some information on this piece? Thank you for your time, and God bless.

Beverly, Sparta

Dear Beverly,
Yes, your mother’s head vase was made in the 1950s. They sell at tag sales and on eBay for $12 to $45. I always like seeing the “Japan” mark. It confirms the piece is not a later 20th-century reproduction.

teaConnie Sue,

Would you please give me an appraisal for this tea set? I have the information from where it was made, by whom and when.

Anna, Hartsville



Silver-plated tea service sets like yours currently sell for $125 to $450. I realize the set is much older than you and me, but silver-plated hollowware and flatware are viewed as “needy” antiques — you have to polish them. If it were sterling, you might add a zero to the value. This set is visually appealing, though, with talon feet and happy, rotund shapes. It might sell quicker than a less-animated set and reach the higher value.


About Author

Connie Sue Davenport

Connie Sue Davenport, ISA AM, offers antique appraisal events, private appraisals and estate sale consulting services to individuals, businesses and organizations. Sign up for “IT’S JUST STUFF,” her FREE quarterly newsletter, at Send your inquiry with photos to the mailing address or email below. Only published appraisals are free. Private appraisals are available for a fee. Call 615-672-1992 for an appointment. No appraisals are given over the phone. Connie Sue Davenport, P.O. Box 343, White House, TN 37188 615-672-1992 • email:

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