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    Posted 2 years ago

    wordgirl905
    (4 items)

    Posted a pic of this old oak chest (‘coffer’) when I first bought her at auction. Paid peanuts for the thing! Now I’ve cleaned & waxed her and found a place for her. This thing is old & while it could be in better condition, it could be much worse. A member in here (Im4anythingold) helped with some initial research (Thank you!!) and I think the coffer is late 17th or early 18th century. Just wanted to share. I’d love to know this piece’s story/where it’s been and who painstakingly carved it.

    “Hey hon, just going out to the barn to do some carving on my gigantic oak coffer, be back in a couple hours.”

    Unsolved Mystery

    Help us close this case. Add your knowledge below.

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    Comments

    1. ho2cultcha ho2cultcha, 2 years ago
      wow! that's a beauty! where from and how old? that decoration might be quite a bit older - like 16th century.
    2. wordgirl905, 2 years ago
      Thank you ho2cultcha! I live in Southern Ontario and got it in an auction in a rural farming community near Lake Erie.

      Wow, 16th century? You think?! Your guess is really as good as mine! I’ll have to do more research!
    3. Gillian, 2 years ago
      Can we see a photo of the top, back and sides please? Many thanks.
    4. PhilDMorris PhilDMorris, 2 years ago
      I am leery on the decoration and most of the decoration looks like the furniture that has been coming out in the last 20 years from Thailand or Indonesia. Same basic decoration. The detail from the old country such as Italy is far far mor precise, this has no real precision to any detail which one has to look for when buying furniture !~
    5. Golgatha Golgatha, 2 years ago
      I agree with PhilDMorris. Has The Far East written all over it.
    6. wordgirl905, 2 years ago
      Thank you all for your feedback and estimations! I appreciate them. I am going to post some additional photos as requested by Gillian and probably get it professionally appraised to solve the mystery!
    7. PhilDMorris PhilDMorris, 2 years ago
      I see some Canadian shows that show an Ontario auctioneer going to thailand and indonesia in the early 1990's and bringing back this type of furniture. He liked more to bring back carved elephants but he did have some identical furniture to your piece. When you have been buying antiques and traveling around the states and Canada, since the 70's you see many things at auction, from the best to the worst.
    8. PhilDMorris PhilDMorris, 2 years ago
      There have been several pieces such as this listed on this site before, in the last couple years, very similar. The roundels are a featured point of their decoration in indonesia that is common along with all the detail, almost moorish, which is lightly caarved and the detail is not crisp as originals from the 1700's have.
    9. wordgirl905, 2 years ago
      Thank you for your insight, PhilDMorris. I will investigate this and post here with the appraiser’s conclusion! Whatever the verdict is, I’ll take it as a learning experience being relatively new to the world of antiquing.
    10. wordgirl905, 2 years ago
      Hi everyone, here is the official appraisal report:

      This handsome coffer has attractive carved details. There are nice old repairs all adding credence to its age. It is an early category that benefits from first hand inspection. It appears to be of Spanish or French origin though it shares some characteristics of British pieces. The item is now often referred to as a coffer though in seventeenth and eighteenth century inventories the term coffer described a leather or cloth covered trunk where as your item would have been termed a chest. The interior has a small till with hinged cover at one end. The purpose was to keep small items accessible whilst being kept secure under lock and key with the remaining contents. The Victorians referred to this component as a candle box though this terminology was not used in seventeenth century inventories where it is described as a till. A lot of these chests survive owing to their practical storage use and their solid oak construction. Despite the merits of these pieces there is not the intensity of interest that was to accrue during the second half of the twentieth century from British and American buyers. Auction houses were to see rising prices as European and American buyers eagerly sought these items to meet the widespread demand on both sides of the Atlantic. Demand has diminished in recent years except for rarer pieces that still remain in good original condition. Many of the younger generations furnishing their houses now pursue the current trend for modernism and built-in bedroom furniture, however, fashions are slowly changing as a new generation learns to appreciate the value of antique items.
    11. wordgirl905, 2 years ago
      Also, I should note that it was identified as being made in the latter half of 17th century. $300-500 USD auction value.
    12. PhilDMorris PhilDMorris, 2 years ago
      I do not agree, if I find more of this I will try to let you know. I find a lot of "experts" are only book trained, and the expert made no mention of similar examples.

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