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Chatelaine's Antiques & Appraisals Magazine > Furniture > Expert Tip: Restoring the Value in Antique Painted Chests

Treating Woodworm

French Polishing Furniture

Repairing Marquetry Furniture

Repairing Parquetry Furniture

Furniture Restoration - What to look for

Repairing Split Wood Furniture

Stripping Wood

Fake and Reproduction Furniture


* Appraising Wood Furniture
* Cleaning Wicker Furniture
* Protecting Antique Chairs (Windsor & Chippendales)
* Scratches in Wood Furniture
* Waxing Wood Furniture
* Furniture Knowledge
* Antique Furniture Price Guides
* Restoring Antique Painted Chests
* French Polishing Furniture
* French Polishing Furniture # 2
* French Polishing Furniture # 3
* French Polishing Furniture # 4
* Repairing Marquetry Furniture
* Repairing Parquetry Furniture
* Furniture Restoration - What to look for
* Repairing Split Wood Furniture
* Stripping Wood
* Waxing Furniture

Restoring the Value in Antique Painted Chests

 Some of the oldest painted chests were made during the late 18th and early 19th century in Pennsylvania and in the Carolinas. They've been popular ever since, and still bring thousands of dollars at auctions and antiques shops.

 Normally, painted chests are not widely collected. They're too unwieldy for most people to own more than one or two. The widest selection of chests is in the Northeast where demand and prices are high. But prices are lower in the South.

Painted pine chest, c.1880
Painted pine chest, c.1880

  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.


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