As retirees migrate southward, they tend to get
rid of some of their unnecessary possessions, especially large, cumbersome chests.
Some are painted in a single color, while others are decorated. The
typical Pennsylvania chest is painted with a flowery design. Over the
years, the paint may be refreshed or touched-up. But 100-year-old paint
looks just like 200-year old paint, so it can be difficult to determine
whether the paint is original.
Anything that's been added or changed, such as new paint, lowers a chest's
value. It's becoming increasingly difficult to find an unadulterated painted chest.
An owner of a painted
chest may have trouble deciding whether to have it restored:
Does restoration hurt a painted chest's value?
As wooden chests age, they're inevitably fixed, altered, added, or
changed. Someone who doesn't have enough knowledge about the piece might
advise against restoration. But some changes should be reversed.
What kinds of alterations should be reversed?
Adding feet to a chest that didn't have any. Adding an escutcheon to a
trunk that didn't have one. Adding interior decoration that covers the
old, original wood. By undoing some of these things, you can sometimes
discover the original chest.