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Collectibles-General (Antiques)/Antique gentlemans chest


Front w/o doors
Front w/o doors  

Front With doors
Front With doors  
My best friend gave me her great grandmothers chest. I think its a gentlemans chest, but other than that I have no clue. It had many layers of paint so I have stripped it down to the wood. All but the top set of drawers are hidden behind the doors. almost 5 feet tall, very heavy. maple or oak. Can you help me ID it?
The top drawers are round brass with top hung circle pulls.

Pam - Your cabinet was probably called a "gentleman's press", as in linen press. A 19th century linen press had open drawers like that and was used to store a family's linens and blankets. The form was adapted to individual use during the Depression era of the 1920s and 1930s. It is simialr to a chifforette.

The term "chifforette" is based on the French word "chiffonier" used as a name for a chest of drawers. It actually means "rags." A side by side combination chest and closet is called a "chifferobe", a combination of chiffonier and wardrobe. A combination with the doors in front of the drawers is called a"chifforette" and was very popular in the period we are talking about. You can see chifforettes on pages 77, 87 and 91 of "Furniture of the Depression Era" by Swedberg, Collector Books.

I believe your cabinet is made of birch with birch plywood doors.

Here is a very fancy one made of mahogany by Royal Furniture of Grand Rapids in the early 20th century that sold at auction for $750.

Your somewhat later birch cabinet would sell at auction in the $200-$300 range.

Thank your for writing.

Fred Taylor  

Collectibles-General (Antiques)

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Fred Taylor


I will attempt to answer questions about American antique furniture, including construction details, style, period, manufacturers, care, repair and storage. I do not have any background in appliances, musical instruments, sewing machines, trunks, lighting, clocks or children's and baby furniture and will not respond to questions about those items.


I ran an antique furniture restoration business for twenty years. I am a nationally syndicated columnist on the subject of antique furniture for such publications as Antique Week and New England Antiques Journal. I have produced one video on the subject of furniture identification and my book "HOW TO BE A FURNITURE DETECTIVE" is now available.I have also published articles in Antique Trader, Chicago Art Deco Society, Northeast Magazine, Victorian Decorating and Lifestyles, Professional Refinishing, Antiques and Art Around Florida and Antique Shoppe. You can visit my website at

BSBA Finance, University of Florida, MBA Finance, University of Florida

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