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Antique Furniture/Antique Chest with inlaid wood lid


Antique chest inside view
Antique chest inside v  
Antique chest top view
Antique chest top view  
QUESTION: Dear Robert,

My name is Greg Williams. I live in Jersey City, NJ. I just bought what appears to be a very old antique chest from a moving company in Bayonne, NJ. The moving company did a move for an estate sale in Weehawken, NJ and was "paid" with antique rugs and this chest. The movers didn't want it and I loved it and bought it for $40.

I am by no means no expert but it looks like the piece may have been altered (possibly painted green and new hardware added?).  There is also a name painted on the front of the chest. " V. BYRLESECREST"

I am including two high quality pictures with the hope that you may know something about it or possibly even what it is worth. I am happy to send more!

Thank you in advance for your help!

ANSWER: please use the followup function so i can see the bottom and tell me if it appears to have been any shelving or drawers in the interior.

thanks for showing this tool box.

I believe the name to be V. Byrle Secrest


It belonged to V Byrle Secrest born 1902 died in 1956.
He was a carpenter as listed in the 1940 census where he was 38 in 1940.  
quit in the 4th grade in school
married to Freda who went to the 8th grade.
she was 48 in 1940

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Bottom of Chest
Bottom of Chest  

inside of chest
inside of chest  
QUESTION: Thank you so much, Robert!

This is all very exciting to me! I am including the picture of the bottom that you requested and I am re attaching the second picture I attached with my first inquiry (of the interior of the tool box- not sure if you saw it). There are no shelves or drawers.

I am curious if you might know anything else about this box. Do you think it was originally used by Secrest as a tool box in the early 1900's or perhaps that was a second life for the box? The paint (which has mostly worn off the top) seems unusual for such a intricate top)... Any additional information (and perhaps what it might be worth) would be greatly appreciated!


added picture of chest with similar constructed top::

I would not expect him to build his tool chest, which was common back then, until he was probably older, at least in his 20s, but who knows, maybe in his 30s or 40s.  it was common for carpenters and cabinetmakers to build their own chests.

if you are going to keep it or sell it, dont change anything, just clean it wil furniture paste wax.  

I would try to contact some of the family and see what you can find out aobut him.

as to value, these usually sell around 450-650 often more if some history can be attached.

do some looking at old tool chests and their construction.  the primer one is the H O Studley chest.  about a half million dollars.  another famous one, the Duncan Phyfe chest.  have fun and learn.  the info i got was on after i figured the name was two words.

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robert klein


Regarding American antique, vintage, and collectible furniture I can help with wood identification, styles, age, periods, historical coatings, materials, techniques, repair, restoration, refinishing. Please read instructions for posting.


I have been in the antiques furniture and restoration business and in the sales of American antique furniture for 40+ years and have continued my education in the trade attending workshops and seminars through several organizations.

Professional Refinishers Groop, Int., AIC, Antiques Dealers Association

BA Florida State University BA University of West Florida 1971

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